Ex-Albion striker stifled by makeshift defensive pairing

Hassocks returned from Lingfield with a share of the points thanks to a makeshift centre back pairing of Kieron O’Callaghan and Rowan Wallis who kept ex-Albion striker Nicky Forster quiet throughout, writes Owen John.

Forster had scored seven times in 10 appearances since his return to Lingfield but he never really got a sniff of goal as O’Callaghan and Wallis, playing together at the back for the first time, defended superbly, ably assisted by Rob South and Lee Bryant on the flanks.

Defending the slope in the first half Hassocks had to withstand some early pressure but as the half wore on came more into the game. They almost took the lead on 38 minutes when Jamie Weston fired narrowly wide.

Just when it looked like the first half would end goalless, the hosts broke the deadlock as Danny Oatkins laid the ball off for Gareth Graham to find the bottom corner from 20 yards out, courtesy of a slight deflection.

Robins started the second half brightly and almost equalised within three minutes when a Nathan Miles header was tipped over by Rob O’Hara. That followed good work by Cooper and Brown

They finally drew level on 79 minutes from the best move of the match. South and Nathan Miles were involved before Phil Gault beat the Lingfield offside trap and managed to keep the ball in before crossing for James Westlake to volley in neatly from eight yards.

Manager Mickey Jewell threw on youngsters Aaron Czech and Ryan John in the search for a winner but both sides had to settle for a draw, with the home bench believing they were denied a penalty in stoppage time.

A draw was probably a fair result after the biggest cheer of the afternoon had come when referee Theo Parfitt wore one in the unmentionables from Cooper’s clearance on the hour mark.