Christmas cheer in abundance for Hassocks

Luke Gedling for YM (centre/white) in action. Photo by Clive Turner
Luke Gedling for YM (centre/white) in action. Photo by Clive Turner

There was Christmas cheer in abundance at the Beacon for Hassocks as they picked up just a third league win and second clean sheet of the season in defeating Shoreham 2-0.

The victory lifts the Robins out of the bottom three with one half of the new management team Phil Wickwar stating that he was delighted with the three points while admitting his side are still right in trouble with the hard work of turning the season around having only just begun.

This could have been an even more convincing result were it not for the Shoreham duo of goalkeeper Nick Taylor who had one of those games, saving virtually everything that Hassocks could throw at him and defender Ross Myers who was superb all afternoon.

Much like recent weeks however, the best player on the park was Phil Johnson whose electric pace made him a real handful to deal with throughout as he once again led the line by himself manfully.

One thing that has been glaringly obvious thus far this season has been a lack of height in the Hassocks midfield and that was addressed with Nick Pitcher forward as a combative force with Rowan Wallis being handed another opportunity at centre back and the rangy defender marshalled the Mussel’s nine goal striker Alex Laing well.

The game ebbed and flowed throughout the first half with Hassocks going into the interval 1-0 ahead thanks to Ryan Collins’ 30 yard rasping drive which took a slight deflection to wrong foot Taylor and give the young midfielder his second senior goal in only his third start.

Johnson had a great chance to double the lead shortly after that 13th minute opener when he raced through one-on-one but was denied by Taylor.

The second half saw Hassocks miss a succession of chances, Johnson missing a one-on-one and seeing Taylor do brilliantly to deny both him and substitute Nathan Miles.

Dan Stokes had two great opportunities, firstly missing the target when well-placed and then rattling the crossbar with just the goalkeeper to beat.

The Robins finally killed the game off with 20 minutes left to play, Johnson again powering into the box where he was tripped, allowing Nick Pitcher to smash home the resulting penalty with aplomb.

Sam Brock preserved his deserved shutout when making a first class save, tipping the ball around a post low down while there was further good news for Hassocks with the return of Jamie Hillwood from the substitutes bench ahead of what could be a defining festive period for the clubs troubled season.

Hassocks: Brock; Tighe, Marsh, Wallis, Jacques; Stokes, Bant, Pitcher, Collins, Davess; Johnson.

Subs: Miles (Bant 73), Hillwood (Davess 80), Common, Price, P Wickwar (unused).