Disappointing result? No, Hassocks are happy with this point

Will Broomfield
Will Broomfield

On the face of it, a 1-1 home draw with lowly Little Common looks like a disappointing result for Hassocks.

But given the lengthy absentee list faced by Mark Dalgleish, the Robins will probably be happy with the point that Liam Benson’s late leveller salvaged for the them at the Beacon.

Four of the stars from last week’s stunning 1-0 success away at title chasing Newhaven were missing for the visit of relegation-threatened Common.

Phil Johnson and Harry Mills were unavailable while Spencer Slaughter and George Brown both had to sit this one out through suspension.

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Last season, so many high-profile absentees would have been an almost unrecoverable blow for Hassocks, but it says much for the work that Dalgleish has done on the transfer front over the past year that he was still able to name a squad packed with quality – which included two new signings.

They were both familiar faces to the Beacon faithful, Lewis Westlake appearing as a substitute following his return to the club from Loxwood while Jack Rowe-Hurst’s start made Hassocks the fourth different Premier Division side that the young attacker has played for this season.

Rowe-Hurst in particular is a quality addition and he was well in the running for the man-of-the-match

accolade with a performance that reminded home supporters of the talents they were treated to during his previous spell with the club, when he scored twice in 15 appearances in the second half of the 2016-17 season.

It was Common who made the brighter start, perhaps as a result of the changes which had swept through the Hassocks line up, and Harvey Blake had to make a crucial block inside of two minutes from Jamie Crone.

Unfortunately, Blake injured himself in doing so and had to be withdrawn, effectively making it five changes from the win at the Trafalgar Ground, with Jordan Badger taking Blake’s place.

Common’s opener arrived just prior to the 15 minute mark and it came from a corner with plenty of questions to be asked about Hassocks’ marking.

Wes Tate swung the ball over to Lewis Parsons whose header back across goal was nodded in Lewis Hole from close range.

One nearly became two when Tate’s pass split the home defence but Crone could only hit the side netting from a tight angle after Green did well to force him wide.

Visiting goalkeeper Matt Cruttwell was called into action for the first time when palming away a Rowe-Hurst shot that looked destined for the top corner.

Common fashioned two more opportunities just before the break, Sam Ellis firing over and Tate seeing a

header blocked on the line by Will Broomfield.

Common suffered an injury blow of their own at the interval as the impressive Crone was forced off with Adam Smith entering the action.

Smith’s first task was to watch Hassocks nearly equalise, Benson only being denied by a brilliant point blank save from Cruttwell before an equally impressive block on the line kept out the follow up.

That set the tone for the second half and it was all the hosts from that point on as a succession of dangerous corners followed.

One of those ended up in the back of the net via a flicked header but was controversially ruled to be offside.

If Hassocks were miffed by that decision then they were incensed shortly after when Liam Ward appeared to virtually catch a goalbound effort in the six yard box but no penalty award was forthcoming.

What was coming though was the equaliser and it duly arrived with 10 minutes remaining.

Common were caught out by a quickly taken corner which fell to Benson who scrambled home at the near post.

Hassocks: Green; Tighe, Broomfield, Jacques, Blake; Bull, Enticknap, Rowe-Hurst, Stokes; Benson, Littlejohn

Subs: Badger, Lindsey, L Westlake (used).