Three days after it played host to a game that proved to be what one medical expert described as a breakthrough cure for insomnia, the Beacon was home to an absolute goalfest as Hassocks booked their spot in round two of the Sussex Principal RUR Charity Cup with a 6-3 win over Worthing United on Tuesday night.
Of the nine goals on the night, Hassocks actually managed to score eight of them – six of their own and two frankly fantastic finishes on behalf of the Mavericks – which was a far cry from the 120 minutes against AFC Uckfield Town on Saturday when both sides could muster just five shots on target between them as the visitors ran out 2-1 winners to progress in the Peter Bentley League Cup.
As a result, defeat here for Hassocks would've meant being out of the only two cup competitions they are likely to have any realistic chance of winning before we’d even reached the August Bank Holiday weekend.
But that old cliché of concentrating on the league doesn’t need to be wheeled out quite yet thanks to Phil Gault's ninth Hassocks hat-trick, Ben Bacon's first senior goal, Jamie Hillwood's third of the season and one from James Westlake which sets up a first ever meeting with Billingshurst in round two.
From the third minute when Gault opened the scoring by tapping in after United goalkeeper Fraser Trigwell could only parry Bacon’s effort into his path, this was one of those games where if you blinked you would miss something as things ebbed and flowed from one end to the other.
Bacon doubled the lead with his first senior goal with 15 minutes played with an opportunistic volley on the run that caught Trigwell in no man’s land but United pulled one back within five minutes, centre back Arran Hassan heading home unchallenged from a corner.
That was followed by a lull in proceedings but if anyone thought the game might settle down after that breakneck opening half hour they were to be sorely mistaken, Hillwood making it 3-1 before the break after punishing some hesitant goalkeeping from Trigwell.
After that first 45, anybody who dawdled out of the clubhouse after half time only had themselves to blame for missing even more goals as both sides stuck another on the scoresheet inside the opening five minutes of the second half.
Ashley Marsh has just four goals in 485 games to his name for the Robins, a mystifying statistic considering the deadliness he showed to become the first of the home contingent to get in on the own goal act when he headed home clinically but straight from the restart Bacon charged up the other end to earn a penalty which Gault duly dispatched.
Struggling to keep up? That made it 4-2 and it was 5-2 before the hour mark, referee Kevin Dawson playing an excellent advantage to allow Westlake to open his account for the season.
Hassocks are running a Sponsor a Goal scheme this season where supporters pay £1 for each goal the first team manage and those who have signed up had their head in their hands when Gault curled a delightful free kick straight in for his third and the Robins sixth of the game.
Thankfully, no Hassocks fans will need to remortgage their home just yet to pay off their debts to the club as that was the end of the home sides scoring spree but United still had another one in them, or to be more precise, Hassocks did on their behalf.
With Alex Harris facing up to a month on the sidelines, manager Phil Wickwar took over between the posts here and he marked an extremely rare start by flapping one home for a quite wonderful own goal of his own.
There was still a good half hour left at that point but a raft of changes from both sides ensured the end-to-end nature couldn’t continue, although United did nearly add a fourth, former Robin Pat Rose hitting an effort that Wickwar could only watch cannon off his crossbar.
Hassocks: P Wickwar; Barnes, Marsh, Badger, Akehurst; Price; Westlake, Stokes; Hillwood; Bacon, Gault
Subs: Miles (Hillwood), Death (Bacon), Bant (Price), Tighe, L Westlake (unused).
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