Battling Hassocks give high-flying Horsham YMCA a scare

Hassocks goalscorer Jake Lindsey. Picture by Steve Robards.
Hassocks goalscorer Jake Lindsey. Picture by Steve Robards.

Getting a result from Horsham YMCA would have been a tall order for Hassocks even with their best side available, so to come away from Gorings Mead having given their promotion chasing hosts a real fright represented a decent afternoon for the Robins.

They had gone into the break 1-0 ahead thanks to Jake Lindsey and had they taken a succession of first-half chances, we might even be talking about a famous win against a side who came into the clash with seven victories from their past eight fixtures.

As it was, second-half goals from Jack Hartley and Alex Barbary ensured the three points remained in Horsham, giving YM some revenge for the 5-3 hammering they received at the Beacon back in January.

The scorers on that day were Phil Johnson, Will Broomfield, James Littlejohn and Liam Benson and all four of those were among the absentees here.

Benson and Johnson’s unavailability were particularly damaging to Hassocks given that the pair have plundered 40 goals between them and Johnson would no doubt have been keen to get on the score sheet again against his former club.

That meant that Mark Dalgleish had to dip into the Robins’ under-23 squad, handing a debut to Louie Derham at right-back.

It was another of Hassocks’ prodigious young talents who opened the scoring with just five minutes played.

There was a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of 19-year-old Lindsey as he led the line but he duly delivered by giving Hassocks an early lead.

The Robins were much the better side for the remainder of the half, creating a glut of chances.

YM made an enforced change at the break as they lost Tom Gilbert to injury but whatever boss Peter Buckland said clearly had the desired effect as two goals in eight second-half minutes proved to be decisive.

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The first of those arrived on 55, Hartley finishing clinically after Callum Donaghey had been forced into making an excellent block from Lindsey.

Eight minutes later and Barbary notched what proved to be the winner, as he blasted the ball into the top left corner of the Hassocks net.

The hosts had to play out the last 20 minutes with ten men after Hartley was controversially dismissed.

Already on a booking, the winger was shown a second yellow card for diving in the box after he went down a little too easily after being inadvertently tripped from behind.

You could certainly see why referee David Ellis might have considered it a dive but equally, had the boot been on the other foot and it was Hassocks who went down to ten in the same circumstances there would no doubt have been fury among the visiting contingent.

The red card spurred the Robins back into life and they began to show the same sort of performance levels as they had in that opening 45 minutes.

Hassocks’ earned a flurry of corners but couldn’t quite make anything of them.

One final corner with the last play of the game led to a desperate struggle in the box but YM managed to hold on for a victory.

Hassocks now have two weeks off before taking on bottom club Shoreham at the Beacon.

Hassocks: Green, Derham, Mills, Jacques, Badger, Enticknap, Westlake, Stokes, Blake, Lindsey, Whittingham. Subs: Oliver.