Robins bounce back

Despite plenty of absentees, Hassocks bounced back from the disappointment of defeat at lowly Hailsham by edging out fellow high-flyers Crows on Saturday.

Wednesday, 11th December 2013, 12:46 pm
Hassocks v Crowborough Athletic. pic Steve Robards

Dan Smith’s close range finish on 78 minutes was enough to secure all three points but they had a huge slice of luck in the build up to the goal, when the assistant referee failed to spot Phil Gault clearly being offside by three yards when he collected the ball before playing in Smith for a tap-in.

It must be stated that there were other instances throughout the afternoon when both assistants flagged for marginal offside decisions, leaving both defences decidedly edgy about pushing up for offside.

It was a quiet afternoon for both keepers as the two central defensive partnerships of Marsh and Pitcher for the Robins and Trotter and Boddy for the Crows had excellent matches.

Most of the play was concentrated in midfield, with Hassocks’ best efforts in the first half being an Anthony Hibbert free kick that was pushed out by Nick Collick and a wicked cross from Craig Knowles that eluded both Gault and Smith.

At the other end, Trotter headed over when well placed.

The main talking point was a tackle by Chris Maynard on Wayne Clarke that led to calls for the Hassocks man to be sent off. After lengthy treatment to both players, it was Maynard who was forced to go off but referee Michael Lowe deemed it a fair challenge.

Hassocks showed much more intent in the second period, with Gault, Smith and the lively Hibbert firing wide, while home keeper Alex Harris, growing in confidence with each match, palmed away a Callum Ridley effort. Harris’s handling was superb all afternoon and his distribution was excellent. The breakthrough on 78 minutes came when Gault latched onto a long ball out of defence and fed Smith for the tap in, with the Crows defence waiting in vain for the offside flag. Smith could have made the last few minutes easier for Hassocks but he delayed his shot with just Collick to beat, allowing Trotter to clear. In stoppage time Crowborough should have gained a share of the spoils but substitute Junior Gomez managed to head well over the bar with the goal at his mercy from a cross by Ridley, giving Hassocks a welcome boost before the visit of unbeaten league leaders East Preston this Saturday.

Hassocks – Harris, Jacques, Maynard, Marsh, Pitcher, Price, Hibbert, Knowles, Smith, Gault, Hillwood

Subs – Davees (Maynard 42), Ingham (Hillwood 65), South (Pitcher 80)

Unused subs – Grantham, Stokes

Middy Starman – Ashley Marsh and Nick Pitcher were excellent at the heart of the Robins defence, as was Mark Price in the midfield but just goes to Anthony Hibbert who was behind all Hassocks’s good attacking intent