Eastbourne Town 3, Hassocks 1: Robins slump top defeat at the Saffrons

Josh Hawkes. Picture by Phil Westlake SUS-160308-074819001
Josh Hawkes. Picture by Phil Westlake SUS-160308-074819001

Eastbourne Town has never been the happiest of hunting grounds for Hassocks and their record didn’t get any better there on their latest visit as they slumped to a 3-1 defeat.

You have to go back to 2006 to find the last time the Robins came away from The Saffrons with three points and although they led at the break through Josh Hawkes’ second goal of the season, it ended up being a comfortable victory for Town in the end.

How the home side weren’t at least level at half time was an absolute mystery. Drew Greenall had fired over when well placed, James Broadbent made an excellent stop low down to deny Wes Tate, Phil Gault proved his worth at the other end of the pitch from where he nearly conducts his business by heading one off the line after a succession of corners and then Aaron Capon rounded Broadbent but could only find the side netting with the goal open and gaping.

That’s not to say Hassocks didn’t have chances of their own before Hawkes opener, James Westlake rattling the bar with a delicate chip from distance before Hawkes opened the scoring on the half hour mark.

Harry Mills was the architect, the young Robins right back breaking forward in trademark style to release a shot that in the end worked out being a clever if unexpected pass to Hawkes who reacted well to neatly finish past Louis Rogers.

Hassocks lost the mercurial Mark Price to a cut head within five minutes of the restart and just eight minutes after that Town were level, Chris Cummings-Bart firing into the top corner to reward the hosts for a lively start to the second 45.

That galvanised Hassocks into being a little more proactive going forward and Town were indebted to Rogers on the rare occasion that the Robins got a sight of goal as he did superbly to keep out Michael Death’s header from a pinpoint Gault cross.

How pivotal that save was became immediately apparent as Town went straight up the other end to earn a succession of corners to take them into what must have been double figures for the night.

This being Hassocks with their notorious ability to concede from set pieces, you just knew that eventually one of them would count for something and so it proved when Sean Ray rose highest to head home past Broadbent and three minutes later it was game, set and match as Tate rounded off the scoring from the penalty spot.

Hassocks: Broadbent; Mills, Marsh, Badger, Akehurst; Price; J Westlake, Hawkes; Gault; Death, Miles.

Subs: L Westlake (Price), Barnes (Hawkes), Tighe, Hillwood, P Wickwar (unused).

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