Hassocks 3, AFC Uckfield Town 1: Robins win five games in a row for the first time since 2001

Michael Death celebrates his goal. Picture by Phil Westlake
Michael Death celebrates his goal. Picture by Phil Westlake

Way back in 2001, Hassocks won five league games in a row - a feat that they have not achieved again until Saturday’s well deserved 3-1 victory over AFC Uckfield Town at The Beacon.

Tony Blair was nine months into his second term as Prime Minister and Enrique Iglesias was top of the charts with Hero when they put together six victories in succession between December 2001 and February 2002, a run that was ended by an 8-1 hammering at the hands of Brighton’s reserve side in the last 16 of the Sussex Senior Cup.

Michael Death kisses his mum after scoring. Picture by Phil Westlake

Michael Death kisses his mum after scoring. Picture by Phil Westlake

The Robins secured their best sequence of results since those heady days with a dominant second half performance which was capped with goals from Michael Death, Phil Gault and Jonno Melia with the only blot on the copybook a goal conceded in the 90th minute which denied Alex Harris and the Hassocks back four a fourth successive clean sheet.

The first half was a pretty even affair despite the visitors not having played since 19th December and they almost took the lead in the second minute when the dangerous Elliott Wood’s cross skimmed off the bar with Harris a spectator.

Hassocks slowly got into the game with Spencer Slaughter firing narrowly wide from distance and then Gault stinging the hands of Uckfield keeper Nick Collick after collecting a quick throw from Bradley Bant.

Collick then got extremely lucky fumbling a Death shot which he let through both hands and legs before grabbing the ball just before it went over the line.

Phil Gault takes a penalty. Picture by Phil Westlake

Phil Gault takes a penalty. Picture by Phil Westlake

The home side were quickly into their stride at the start of the second half and took the lead on 48 minutes.

Collick had produced a magnificent tip over at full stretch to deny James Westlake’s superb half volley but he could do nothing to stop Death’s excellent flicked header at the near post from Westlake’s pinpoint corner which the Hassocks top scorer celebrated by running over to his watching mother and giving her a kiss.

On 56 minutes the lead was doubled when Gault was hauled down in the box and he calmly sent Collick the wrong way from the resulting penalty.

The Robins then dominated proceedings with Death, Gault and Slaughter all having good chances to put the game out of sight and with Collick also denying substitute Melia with his legs and Westlake, the margin of victory could have been greater for Hassocks.

They had to wait until the 88th minute to seal the points when Melia was alert enough to tap in a rebound after his initial effort had come back off the post.

Hassocks were caught napping in the 90th minute with Drew Greenall slotting home for AFC Uckfield but it was a mere consolation, with the Robins gaining another excellent, well earned three points, as their climb up the table continues.

Understandably manager Phil Wickwar was delighted after the game, saying, “It was a great second half performance. The first half we were a little off but we had a good chat at half time and the lads responded fantastically.

“We should have won the game by more but their keeper pulled off some great saves. We have got some difficult games ahead where we will need to improve further still to get some points from”.

Hassocks: Harris; Barnes, Marsh, Wallis, Akehurst; Bant, Slaughter, Westlake, Hillwood; Death, Gault.

Subs: Melia (Hillwood 63), Pitcher (Slaughter 73), Miles (Gault 80), Wilkins (unused)

Starman: Spencer Slaughter, the driving force of the Hassocks midfield