Another three points were banked as Hassocks edged closer to Division One survival with a 2-1 victory on their first league visit to Broadbridge Heath for 17 years.
With top scorer Phil Johnson missing through work commitments, Nathan Miles took over in attack and everyone at the Beacon will be hoping this represented a turning of the corner for the talented striker after an injury plagued 18 months in which he has managed just 21 starts.
Having been set a new course of treatment for his troublesome back, Miles not only completed the 90 minutes but also scored his fifth of the season as well as setting up Jamie Hillwood for the decisive second.
In difficult conditions and on another awful pitch at Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre, it was the home side who started the better of the two with the Robins finally coming into proceedings once Nick Pitcher and Dan Jacques in the middle of the park managed to get a handle on the howling wind.
Miles opened the scoring with ten minutes of the first half remaining, showing great strength and poise to skip past two defenders and finish past Michael Chester in the Bears goal.
His opposite number George Willet had to be at his best to ensure the lead was intact at the break, saving well from Heath danger man Tiago Andrade from close range just before the interval.
Hassocks had a glorious chance to double the advantage just after the restart, right back Bradley Tighe pushing forward menacingly to deliver a peach of a cross which Miles could only head straight at Chester.
Heath’s equaliser was a severe case of déjà vu for Hassocks as once again they found themselves conceding from a set piece, this time a free kick was not dealt with properly as one of the home sides many giants towered over the diminutive Robins side to win a header down with Andrade spinning and finishing to level the scores.
Earlier in the campaign that might have been the cue for the visitors to go on and lose the game but this Hassocks side are made of sterner stuff and they responded well, Hillwood seeing a goal ruled out correctly for offside before Miles’ ball forward allowed the enigmatic wide man to take advantage of a bouncing ball on the awkward causing Chester and one his defenders to do an impression of the Chuckle Brothers, nipping between the two and rolling into an empty net.
Pitcher had a glorious chance to secure the game for the Robins after Mark Price was tripped in the area but his penalty proved to be more of a danger to the Hubble Space Telescope than Chester’s goal – not that it mattered as with Willet claiming everything that was pumped into his box late on Hassocks held on for the vital three points.
We showed great team ethic and everybody involved put in a great shift for the clubPhil Wickwar
“We had to defend for the last five minutes against a team of giants but the players stood strong and got some of the luck we have been missing all season,” joint boss Phil Wickwar said after the game.
“We showed great team ethic and everybody involved put in a great shift for the club. We are nearly there in terms of survival but not quite with tough games over Easter against Eastbourne Town and St Francis Rangers to come and we hope to have a traditionally big crowd for the Mid Sussex derby game with Albion season ticket holders being offered half price entry for it.”
Hassocks: Willett; Tighe, Barnes, Wallis, Pawson; Price, Stokes, Pitcher, Jacques, Hillwood; Miles.
Subs: Davess (Hillwood), Collins (Price), Ambridge, P Wickwar (unused).