If Littlehampton Town’s visit to the Beacon was anything to go by, then the County League title will be heading to the Sportsfield come the end of the season.
Five second half goals secured a 6-1 victory for the impressive Golds – coincidentally the exact same scoreline as when these two met back in December.
That proved to be the final game of Dave John’s third spell in charge and while Hassocks have improved markedly in the intervening three months to pull six points clear of the relegation zone, they were deservedly beaten here.
It would have been a tough ask to take anything from this game with a full strength squad available so the absences of Ryan Collins, Mark Price, Dan Jacques and the suspended Ashley Marsh added to the difficulty of an already daunting task.
Having said that, the Robins were well in the game at half time after Bradley Bant’s stunning distance strike had cancelled out Joe Shelley’s opener, a header with just two minutes on the clock.
Another bumper crowd of 151 could have been forgiven for the fearing the worst at that point although at the break the encounter could have gone either way.
Losing Nathan Miles at the interval didn’t help the cause as the back trouble that has plagued the strikers campaign once more reared its head with Tom Davess replacing him.
Again Hassocks were slow out of the blocks in the second half, falling 2-1 behind in the 46th minute to a George Landais effort.
Littlehampton’s third goal five minutes later effectively ended the game as a contest although there was an element of good fortune to it, Darren Boswell’s cross taking a massive deflection off of Bradley Tighe and past George Willett to register as an own goal.
The visitors added three more in the final 20 minutes, Kieron Pamment rivalling Bant’s earlier equaliser in the breathtaking stakes with Scott Packer and Gaskin’s second of the afternoon rounding off the scoring.
Disappointing was the term used by Phil Wickwar to describe the result but the Robins joint boss was realistic enough to accept his team had been beaten by a side that he described as easily the best opponents seen in the league this season, saying, “it’s just a defeat, we won’t panic and we will go again.”
Hassocks: Willett; Tighe, Barnes, Wallis, Pawson; Stokes, Pitcher, Bant, Hillwood; Miles, Johnson.
Subs: Davess (Miles 45), Benson (Pitcher 75), P Wickwar (unused)