Hassockd 2, Newhaven 2: Much-improved peformance from Robins

Nathan Miles. Hassocks v Steyning Town. Picture by Phil Westlake SUS-161008-093129001
Nathan Miles. Hassocks v Steyning Town. Picture by Phil Westlake SUS-161008-093129001
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Just three weeks after a 5-0 defeat away at Newhaven, a much improved showing from Hassocks saw them take a point from the same opponents in a 2-2 draw at the Beacon.

It did not look like that would be the case at the start however. In fact, you’d have got very short odds on it being a repeat of that calamitous performance at the Trafalgar Ground given the fact the Robins were 1-0 down inside the opening minute.

When playing against opponents with the quality of Lee Robinson, the divisions top scorer, you have to be at your best defensive wise to stand a chance; you certainly can’t afford to give away a calamitous goal with less than 60 seconds on the clock.

Tom Barnes and Ashley Marsh were the culprits as, virtually straight from kick off, Barnes sold Marsh short with a pass, leaving the Hassocks captain in a world of indecision.

That was capitalised on by Kyle Woolven who picked Marsh’s pocket, raced away and crossed for Robinson to tap home for 1-0.

A slick surface allowed for a fast paced game after that, with both sides knocking the ball about well which ultimately resulted in Nathan Miles equalising on 20 minutes after he latched onto a through ball and delicately lobbed over Jakes Buss. The ball trickled over the line despite the best efforts of a covering defender.

Both sides had further chances before the break; Robinson heading just over from a Joe Dryer delivery and at the other end, Michael Death shot wide and Miles saw a tame effort flash past the post when he perhaps should have squared to Harry Mills who had rampaged forward from right back.

The heavens opened during half time with the deluge leaving the pitch even quicker than it had been in the opening 45 and Hassocks took full advantage to dominate proceedings, aided in part by the midfield trio of James Westlake, Bradley Bant and man-of-the-match Lewis Westlake.

You sensed the next goal would be key and it could have come from either side as, despite Hassocks being largely on top, Newhaven continued to look dangerous on the break thanks to the frightening pace offered to them by Robinson and his younger brother Ian.

And it was Hassocks who eventually got that goal, Mills letting an absolute bullet of a shot fly from a full 30 yards. Buss did well to keep it out, but Ben Bacon was following up in predatory style to nod the loose ball home.

Could Hassocks go on to take what would have been only their fourth ever win over the Dockers? They perhaps would’ve done where it not for the brilliance of Buss who produced an outstanding stop to deny Miles when most people would’ve bet their house on the Hassocks striker scoring.

Newhaven reacted by throwing a couple of giants, abandoning their neat passing football and instead opting for a more agricultural approach would paid dividends almost immediately as a long ball forward was flicked on by Ryan Walton and Robinson was able to race away and slot in his second of the afternoon.

“Points have been hard to come by in recent weeks and it is a good one for us given the hiding we took down there recently,” Phil Wickwar said after.

The Robins joint manager was also delighted to welcome Nick Pitcher back for his first appearance after nine months out with a shoulder problem. “It was great to have Pitch back with us and Lewis Westlake was outstanding on a rare start. Hopefully we can get some others back as we have a real tough run of games coming up.”

Hassocks: Broadbent; Mills, Barnes, Marsh, Akehurst; L Westlake; J Westlake, Bant; Bacon; Miles, Death.

Subs: Pitcher (used), Tighe, Benson, P Wickwar (unused).

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