Three days after being hit for six at Chichester, Hassocks scored a half dozen of their own to secure a much needed victory at home to Hailsham Town.
After four consecutive defeats this 6-2 triumph was well received by the Beacon faithful, especially with the home side losing Spencer Slaughter and Jamie Hillwood to a hand and ankle injury respectively in the warm up.
Given that barren run of form and the late withdrawal of two key players you could have forgiven the Robins for making a slow start to proceedings but they were obviously keen to make amends for the hammering at Oaklands Park on Saturday as they flew out of the traps taking the lead within four minutes.
Jonno Melia was the architect as he collected an exquisite crossfield ball from Dan Stokes to meander past Adam Daubeney and deliver a cross which was met with a pleasant header from Josh Hawkes, leaving Ben Head in the Stringers goal with no chance.
The ball was in the back of the Hailsham goal again just five minutes after the opener but the bullet own goal header from a visiting defender was rightly ruled out for offside.
Things calmed down after that hectic opening until the 36th minute when Phil Gault marked the first home appearance of his third spell as a Hassocks player by being the man to finally finish off a game of pinball in the opposition box, firing into an unguarded net after Stokes and Bradley Bant had both seen efforts blocked.
Gault’s goal was the beginning of a frantic final 10 minutes of the half, George Willett denying the dangerous Danny Leach with a fine block with his legs with the resulting corner seeing a free header clip the bar.
Hassocks were wobbling and badly needed the break to come along so they could have done without being on the receiving end of a contentious refereeing decision with just a minute of the half remaining as Jamie Salvidge went down in the box under minimal contact from Luke Akehurst.
Hailsham were awarded the penalty despite the protests of captain Dan Jacques and Gault with Leach burying the kick with aplomb.
The venting of Gault’s spleen not only earned the talismanic forward a booking but also ensured a good five minutes of added on time and it was in the dying seconds of this that Hassocks added a third against the run of play, Michael Death rising like the proverbial salmon to head a corner through the hands of Head.
Melia got in on the scoring act ten minutes after the restart as once again Hailsham failed to clear their lines effectively with the wide man firing home through a crowd of players and via several deflections for 4-1.
The ebbing and flowing didn’t stop there, Hailsham adding their second of the night after Akehurst was beaten down the left hand channel allowing Sam Duvall to get away with his cut back swept home by substitute Omer Bozdag.
Given the way the Robins threw away three points right at the death last week against Eastbourne Town that could have led to a tense finish but any nerves were extinguished with 15 minutes remaining when Akehurst hit a wonderful ball from left back that split the Hailsham right back and centre half like an atom, allowing Gault to power in on goal and finish in trademark style.
Hassocks weren’t done there either, substitute Nick Pitcher collecting Death’s knockdown from a Bradley Tighe free kick to drive in his first of the campaign and there was still time in the final 10 for the midfielder to hit a post and for George Willett to show his worth with three smart saves.
Hassocks: Willett; Tighe, Jacques, Wallis, Akehurst; Stokes, Hawkes, Bant, Melia; Death, Gault.
Subs: Pitcher (Hawkes), Slaughter, Hillwood (unused).
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