Hassocks 4, East Preston 0: Four league wins in a row for the Robins

Action from Hassocks v East Preston. Picture by Phil Westlake
Action from Hassocks v East Preston. Picture by Phil Westlake

You had to go back to October 2011 to find the last time Hassocks managed four league wins in a row and they made hard work of achieving the feat for the first time in over four years in their 4-0 win over East Preston.

The visitors are all but doomed to a finish in the relegation places barring a biblical style miracle with only one win to their name - and that was the guaranteed three points that playing St Francis Rangers has been so far this season.

Action from Hassocks v East Preston. Picture by Phil Westlake

Action from Hassocks v East Preston. Picture by Phil Westlake

Yet for all the huffing and puffing Hassocks did they never really broke the door down convincingly with their final two goals coming in the last five minutes when East Preston’s very young side were tiring and obviously aware that the game was all but up.

The Robins can and will play much better but Phil Wickwar was understandably happy enough with the result if not the performance - “the fact it was frustrating yet we won by four shows how far we have come” - and the Robins joint boss was also at pains to point out that his side have plundered 13 goals in their last three games and kept three consecutive clean sheets.

The mythical clean sheet has proven to been rarer than hens teeth at the Beacon in recent times and you have to go back even further than from when Hassocks last won four games on the trot to find the last time they managed three in a row - all the way to September 2010.

Young Hassocks goalkeeper Alex Harris has a promising career ahead of him but it will be a surprise if he ever picks up an easier shutout than this, facing just two shots over the course of the 90 minutes that were both straight at him as EP failed to exist as any sort of threatening attacking force.

Action from Hassocks v East Preston. Picture by Phil Westlake

Action from Hassocks v East Preston. Picture by Phil Westlake

Hassocks had the majority of the possession but their decision making was poor when it came to which pass to choose and that was the reason - along with what seemed to be an attempt to set a world record for most offsides in a game - that they turned around at half time with just one goal in the bank.

Referee Josh Godfrey played his part in that, stopping Spencer Slaughter and James Westlake from taking a quick free kick just inside the EP half much to the chagrin of the midfield duo but it proved to be a prudent decision as with time to set up the play and push the two centre backs forward, Westlake delivered a superb ball straight onto the head of Rowan Wallis who leapt like the proverbial salmon to make it 1-0.

Phil Gault had the ball in the net ten minutes after the break when he followed up after Craig Seacombe in the EP goal had spilled Spencer Slaugher’s effort but the goal was ruled out for - surprise, surprise - an offside.

Slaughter was the architect of Hassocks’ second which arrived just after the hour mark as he rode two tough challenges to send in a looping ball in from the right which was met with a delightful placed header from Jonno Melia.

That was Melia’s last contribution of the game as Nathan Miles entered the fray with Hassocks moving to a 4-3-3 and it took Miles just four minutes to get into the action, latching onto a perfectly weighted Michael Death through ball to round Seacombe and covering defender Jacob Atterbury only to hit his shot straight at Ben Piner who did well to get back and block on the line.

Death himself added the third when a volley set up nicely for him on the edge of the box and the experienced marksman made no mistake by powering home with aplomb to take himself to the top of the Hassocks scorers charts for the season with his seventh goal of the campaign.

Westlake had been an energetic presence in the middle of the park all afternoon and he got the goal his performance merited, rounding off the scoring with a smart volley after some neat build up play freed Miles to get away down the left to pick out the midfielder lurking in space.

Hassocks: Harris; Barnes, Marsh, Wallis, Akehurst; Hillwood, Slaughter, Westlake, Melia; Death, Gault.

Subs: Miles (Melia), Jacques (Akehurst), Bant, Pitcher, Tighe (unused).

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