Double winners Hassocks Ladies end season undefeated

Hassocks Ladies with the league winners trophy. Picture courtesy of Scott McCarthy
Hassocks Ladies with the league winners trophy. Picture courtesy of Scott McCarthy

All hail the invincibles. Hassocks Ladies finished their South East Counties Women's Division One West campaign with a 1-1 draw against Burgess Hill Town to complete the extraordinary feat of going to entire league season undefeated.

The Robins’ final record reads played 16, won 14, drawn two, lost none. With their only dropped points coming in this final game of the season and a 0-0 draw with runners-up Mole Valley at the end of last month.

They've scored 83 goals along the way, conceded just four and were also crowned Sussex Women's Trophy champions when beating the Hillians 2-1 back in March for a memorable league and cup.

This meeting between these two local rivals was an equally tight affair, Billie Philpott's early opener being cancelled out by a stunning goal from Charlotte Pollendine just before the hour mark - the first goal Hassocks had let in in the league since September.

In an action packed start, both Claire Stevens and Liz King had to make important blocks to thwart Hill attacks, Hassocks goalkeeper Sarah Chappell did well to cut out a dangerous looking cross and at the other end, Kelly Rushworth shot just over from an Emma Young ball in.

All of that took place in the first seven minutes and with eight played, the game had its opening goal. King split the Hill defence with an excellent through ball and Philpott made no mistake, coolly beating Casey Dunford in the visiting goal for her 38th goal of a remarkable season in which her scoring form has seen won her first caps for Sussex.

A hallmark of Hassocks' dominance this season has been the way in which once they score once, they quickly add a second and often a third to kill teams off in short bursts.

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That wasn't the case here as Hill were actually the better side following Philpott's strike. A close range header from a Hill forward dropped just the wrong side of the post and Chappell had to make another important intervention as the visitors enjoyed the lion's share of possession.

That storm lasted 20 minutes or so but Hassocks weathered it before managing to create a couple of opportunities of their own prior the break.

Kristen Mair headed another fine Young cross just wide, Young then hit the post and the Hill defence did well to crowd out Philpott when she looked to be heading into a dangerous position.

The start of the second half unsurprisingly couldn't match the intensity of the start of the first, with the only chance of any note before Hill's equaliser coming when Philpott was denied by a good save by Dunford.

That equaliser arrived on 59 minutes and one of the best goals seen at the Beacon this season, Pollendine hitting a venomous effort straight into the top corner which Chappell could only watch fly past her.

Opportunities remained at a premium after that. The closest Hill came to winning the game being in the final few minutes when some desperate defending was required of Hassocks whilst the Robins best chance saw Claire Stevens’ header from a Mair corner superbly headed off the line.