Lancing 4, Hassocks 3: Plenty of entertainment as Robins lose thriller
For those home fans and neutrals who braved the weather at Culver Road, there was plenty of entertainment as Lancing and Hassocks shared seven goals and two red cards.
The positives were scanter for Hassocks. In fact, they were pretty much non-existent. They were the ones on the end of a 4-3 reversal and they were the ones who saw both Michael Death and Ashley Marsh sent in early to test the excellent facilities afforded by playing at Sussex County FA HQ.
There could be little complaint about Death's dismissal, the striker receiving a straight red for a ridiculous stamp on a Lancing player.
He couldn't have given referee James Humphries a clearer view of it if he'd tried, producing the act of insanity right in front of the official - an act that was all the more frustrating given that, prior to that, he was having a fine evening having set up Hassocks' first two goals.
As for Marsh, well this was his 499th appearance for the club and he'd said in his programme notes for Saturday's win against Arundel that he wondered if he'd have reached 600 by now had he have not spent so much of the last 12 years since his first team debut sat suspended in the stands.
Fate was clearly in a mischievous mood then, as the Robins captain will be absent from a couple more just after passing the 500 landmark with his second suspension of the season kicking in in 14 days time.
The offence this time? A second yellow in which he appeared to get the ball only for Mr Humphries to be swayed into whipping out the card by an over the top reaction by Lancing.
Just to add to the frustration of the visitors, had they have kept 11 men on the pitch rather than finishing with nine, Hassocks would probably have got something out of it.
They took the lead on 17 minutes through Liam Benson. The absence of Nathan Miles and Ben Bacon in recent weeks has afford the under 21 striker his chance and he has grabbed it with both hands, his third goal of the season coming after latching onto an inch perfect Death through ball and coolly rounding the Lancing goalkeeper.
Hassocks were ahead for all of one minute, Mike Williamson levelling things up and just before the half hour mark Tom Caplin put them 2-1 ahead, a lead the Lancers would hold until the interval.
The game continued to ebb and flow in the second half and it was James Westlake who pulled the Robins level just past the hour mark, Death again proving to be the architect as his great ball across the face of goal was met with a clever finish from Westlake.
If things had been frantic up until that point, then they kicked up another notch in the final 15 minutes. Firstly Lancing went 3-2 ahead through Lewis Finney, then with five minutes remaining they made it 4-2 thanks to George Fenton.
Game over? Not quite as a goalkeeping error allowed Phil Gault to set up a nervy last five minutes for the home side when he pounced in predatory fashion to give the nine men what turned out to be false hope of snatching an unlikely point.
Hassocks: Broadbent; Akehurst, Badger, Barnes, Marsh; Hawkes; J Westlake, L Westlake; Gault; Benson, Death.
Subs: Price, Mills (used).
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