Hailsham Town 0 Hassocks 8: Gault powers Hassocks to gr-eight victory

Michael Death scores Hassocks' sixth goal against Hailsham. Picture by Phil Westlake
Michael Death scores Hassocks' sixth goal against Hailsham. Picture by Phil Westlake

Only once had Hassocks ever won a game in senior football by eight or more goals before this stunning victory over an admittedly very poor Hailsham Town outfit.

That came back in in the 2003-04 season when they dispatched Selsey 9-0 at the Beacon, meaning that their 8-0 win at Hailsham Town on a sunny Bank Holiday Monday is the biggest away win in the clubs Southern Combination League history.

Not that Phil Wickwar was getting carried away, the Hassocks joint boss being keen to play down the manner of the result, saying it was just three points and nothing more as his charges made it three wins from four to begin the league campaign.

And Wickwar believes there may still be more to come from what he believes is one of the best Robins squad he has seen in over 25 years at the club. “It’s a good start to the season but we still have lots of areas we can improve in and we will get better. I can’t remember a strong this strong and with this much potential which has to be exciting for everyone involved at the club.”

That strength was in evidence by the fact that Hassocks were without captain Ashley Marsh, Dan Stokes and Josh Hawkes for the Robins’ second game in less than 48 hours.

Last season, losing three players of that calibre would’ve been a massive problem but here the likes of Harry Mills, Lewis Westlake, Mark Price and Michael Death were all ready to step in while Mark Dalgleish and Wickwar could even afford to rest Jamie Hillwood despite him having been one of the sides star performers in the first month of the season.

Despite the raft of changes, Hassocks were 4-0 ahead inside the first 20 minutes. It took just six minutes for Phil Gault to net the first of what would turn out to be a four-goal haul, a miss-hit somehow beating Stringers’ goalkeeper Sheldon Levett and a man on the line to creep home and Bacon doubled the lead virtually straight from the restart after unselfish work from James Westlake who rounded Levett and squared for the in-form striker to tap into an empty goal.

Gault added number three from penalty spot with a quarter of an hour played after Bacon was sliced down in the box and he completed his hat-trick on 19 minutes, heading home a trademark delivery from James Westlake.

While most sides would’ve considered going into half time 4-0 to the good as a case of game over, the Robins were wary of taking that approach having thrown away a four goal lead the break on their visit to the Beaconsfield last season to draw 4-4 but there were no such mistakes this time.

Michael Death added a fifth on the hour mark when he headed in a sizzling cross from Bacon and Gault completed his mornings work with his fourth and Hassocks’ sixth, scoring direct from a free kick after the impressive Mark Price was scythed down on the edge of the box.

It was two of the substitutes who combined for number seven, Jamie Hillwood finishing off a low pinpoint cross from Liam Benson and it was a case of role reversal for the final Hassocks goal after Hillwood sprung the offside trap to dribble past Levett and square to Benson who rolled home for his first senior goal for the club.

Hassocks: Broadbent; Mills, Barnes, Badger, Akehurst; Price; J Westlake, L Westlake; Gault; Death, Bacon.

Subs: Hillwood (Bacon), Tighe (Barnes), Benson (L Westlake), Oliver, P Wickwar (unused).