Hassocks progress in FA Cup for first time in six years

Matt Berridge in action for Hassocks. Picture courtesy of Liz Pearce.
Matt Berridge in action for Hassocks. Picture courtesy of Liz Pearce.

Hassocks beat Langney Wanderers 2-0 in the FA Cup extra preliminary round on Saturday, progressing in the competition for the first time since 2013.

It was Dorking Wanderers who were defeated back then, with a 1-0 result going in favour of Hassocks. Jamie Hillwood was the only player still in the squad now to feature in that game back in 2013, so it was a Hassocks side that had tasted little success in the world’s greatest cup competition.

Coming off the back of a hard-fought win on Tuesday night, Hassocks went into the game high on confidence, despite missing their captain and top scorer Phil Johnson through injury.

The game kicked off with a strong wind making it difficult for either side to play the football they would have liked to, with Hassocks attempting to catch the Langney ‘keeper out numerous times.

The half ended with just one notable chance for Hassocks, with Hillwood slicing a snatched volley wide after an excellent cross from Harvey Blake on 35 minutes.

Langney had an even better chance fifteen minutes earlier, but fluffed their lines and missed from very close range after impressive build up play.

However, the half ended all square with chances at a premium for both sides.

Playing against the wind in the second half, Hassocks manager Mark Dalgleish opted for a change of system, with James Littlejohn being pushed up front and Hillwood moving to the wing to trouble the Langney defence with his blistering pace.

This change paid off soon after, with Jack Rowe-Hurst opening the scoring on 65 minutes after Blake, Hillwood and Littlejohn combined on the right, working the ball to the lurking Rowe-Hurst.

From the edge of the box, the forward found the top corner to give Hassocks the lead, despite cries from the bench urging him to take the safer option and find a teammate.

The inevitable attacking from the visitors left them vulnerable to the counter attack, and Matt Berridge sealed the win for Hassocks ten minutes from time in exactly this fashion.

A flowing move involving Littlejohn, Rowe-Hurst and Jack Troak saw the ball find its way to Berridge who finished calmly from 12 yards to put the game beyond all doubt and finally earn that elusive FA Cup win.

The game finished 2-0, securing Hassocks’ place in the next round where they will face Chipstead, the same team that knocked them out of the cup back in 2013.