Hassocks continue appalling record against Pagham

Mark Dalgleish
Mark Dalgleish

For Hassocks fans of a certain vintage, facing Pagham in the Sussex RUR Charity Cup is synonymous with one occasion over 25 years ago now.

The Robins have never made it to the final of a senior cup in their 115 year history.

The closest they have come was in this competition in the 1993-94 season, when they advanced as far as extra time in the semi finals.

The opponents that day were Pagham and it was the Lions who ran out 2-0 winners. It's a result that still rankles among the longer serving of the Beacon faithful.

Not that recent memories against Pagham are much better. Before Bob Paine brought his side to Mid Sussex for this second round tie, Hassocks had lost nine of the previous 11 meetings. This 3-0 defeat takes that appalling record to 10 in 12.

With these two sides struggling towards the bottom of the Premier Division, it was a clash which provided the chance for a morale boosting victory for one of them ahead of the return to league action this weekend.

Both have won just once in the league all season, Hassocks against East Preston as long ago as the first week of August.

There's no prizes for guessing who Pagham's only success to date came against, it of course being the Robins when they went to Nyetimber Lane four weeks previously.

Lewis Jenkins notched the only goal of the game nine minutes from time on that occasion and it was he who got the party started for the Lions at the Beacon with 19 minutes on the clock.

There was an element of fortune about the opener from a Pagham point of view.

Yes, Hassocks should have done a better job of clearing their lines effectively but there still seemed little danger on as Harrison Mott delivered a low cross from the Lions’ left.

That was until Andy Whittingham suffered an unfortunate slip which allowed the ball to reach Jenkins who finished from the edge of the box.

Whittingham’s bad luck there summed up Hassocks’ evening really. While the Robins had no-one to blame but themselves for Saturday’s heavy 6-1 FA Vase exit to Horley Town, this was a defeat in which nothing seemed to go the hosts’ way.

Mark Dalgleish made three changes from the weekend. Dan Turner replaced Dan Jacques at the heart of the defence, Harvey Enticknap came in for the rested Matt Berridge and Joe Bull was rewarded for his first senior goal against the Clarets with a start in place of Liam Benson.

Continuing on the bad luck theme, Turner in particular was unfortunate not to open his account on only his second first team appearance.

The 19-year-old looks to be a real threat from set pieces and he had a header scrambled off the line from a corner and was then denied from a free kick by an excellent save from Lewis Broughton in the Pagham goal.

Jack Troak was looking lively and he too was denied by Broughton before cracking an effort against the bar.

Hassocks would go onto complete the full set of woodwork in the second half, Enticknap hitting one post and then Bull rattling the other as the frame of Broughton’s goal became every bit as important to Pagham as the man between the posts.

By that time though, Hassocks were 2-0 down, Mott having doubled the advantage just two minutes before the break.

You sensed at that point it was just going to be one of those days for the Robins and despite all their pressure and the amount of times they hit post, bar and Broughton, they weren’t able to get back into the game.

Instead, it was Pagham who added a third with five minutes remaining through substitute Jake Heryet to set up a third round meeting with either Newhaven or Mile Oak.

Hassocks: Earl; Stokes, Turner, Kublickas, Whittingham; Broomfield, Enticknap; Bull, Troak, Hillwood; Bacon.

Subs: Berridge, Benson, Littlejohn (used), Galbraith-Gibbons, Jacques (unused).