Hassocks pick up first win and continue unbeaten start to season

Hassocks v Horsham. Pic Steve Robards. SR1518177 SUS-151008-130718001
Hassocks v Horsham. Pic Steve Robards. SR1518177 SUS-151008-130718001

Hassocks picked up their first win of the season to maintain an uncharacteristic unbeaten start with a 2-1 success over East Preston on a sombre afternoon at the Lashmar.

With news filtering through that two Worthing United players had been tragically killed in the Shoreham airshow crash on the A27 in the aftermath of which several Robins were caught up, football was the last thing on anybody’s mind in the wake of the devastating accident.

If anything ever highlighted that football isn’t a matter of life and death it was this, two young players with their lives ahead of them who were simply on their way to play the sport that they loved being cruelly cut down in their prime.

The Robins got the job done thanks to goals from Nathan Miles and Dan Jacques before thoughts turned to the tragedy with everyone at Hassocks sending their thoughts and prayers to the families of those affected and to all at Worthing United.

There were two changes from the side that took a point against a giant Shoreham team 11 days previously, Miles and Jamie Hillwood returning to strengthen the Robins attacking options at the expense of the unavailable Kieran O’Callaghan and Mark Price who dropped down to the bench.

On a difficult playing surface, Hassocks were slow to start and they could easily have gone 2-0 down in the opening 20 minutes; a long ball over the top not being dealt with but thankfully the resulting lob ended up on top of the net rather than in it and Tom Barnes producing a first rate block to keep the score at 0-0.

The visitors took the lead with 35 minutes on the clock, a defensive error presenting the ball to Dan Stokes whose pull back found Miles and after initially shaping to shoot with his right, the talismanic forward cut back onto his left and bent the ball neatly into the far corner.

Jacques doubled the advantage on the stroke of half time and once again it was Stokes who made the goal, chasing onto a long ball over the top which bounced kindly to him as goalkeeper and defender got in a right state before crossing to the far post where the enigmatic left back was waiting to head home.

Hassocks tried to play on the break in the second half as East Preston attempted to make a game of it and they pulled one back on 58 minutes from the totally predictable scenario of a set piece.

This time it was a corner that did the damage as the ball was half cleared pretty unconvincingly to the edge of the box where Ryan Hallett collected a knock down to drive home through a crowd of players.

The Robins showed a good fighting spirit after that to keep EP at arms length and they had two very good penalty shouts turned down when Miles was twice fouled in the box.

Mark Dalgleish and Phil Wickwar have been keen to get their side knocking the ball around since taking the job last season and that was in evidence when mercurial substitute Price saw his effort blocked after an excellent passing move up the left flank involving Jacques, Stokes and Hillwood.

Hassocks: R Wickwar; Tighe, Marsh, Barnes, Jacques; Stokes, Bant, Pitcher, Hawkes, Hillwood; Miles

Subs: Akehurst (Tighe), Price (Hawkes), R Collins, Wallis, Willett.

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