Hassocks return from longest trip of the season with nothing

Hassocks heads drop as Pagham celebrate the winner. Picture by Roger Smith
Hassocks heads drop as Pagham celebrate the winner. Picture by Roger Smith

Three days after they'd picked up a point from a normally fruitless hunting ground, Hassocks were unable to repeat the trick from their longest away journey of the season.

On Saturday at Horsham YMCA, Ben Bacon's late leveller secured a share of the spoils at a Gorings Mead ground at which they've only won twice this century.

While their record at Nyetimber Lane may not be be quite as bad, you still have to go back nine years to find the last time that the Robins left Pagham with all three points.

On paper, this looked like their best opportunity to do so since Phil Gault and Phil Johnson delivered a 2-1 success for Mickey Jewell's side in October 2011.

Pagham were yet to taste victory in four games under new boss Bob Paine and sat bottom of the Premier Division table.

That was a continuation of their form in the second half of last season which had seen the Lions tumble from title contention in November to finishing 11th come the end of the campaign.

They picked up just 14 points from 23 games in that run, including a chastening 4-0 hammering at the hands of Hassocks at the Beacon in March.

But there was no repeat of that here. Hassocks certainly weren't helped by the scheduling, the Southern Combination League deciding to send the Robins on their longest journey of the season on a Tuesday night in the middle of holiday season for a 7.30pm kick off.

That deprieved Mark Dalgleish of some of his big name players, necessitating four changes from the side that drew at YM.

Out went Arni Kublickas, Alex Spinks, Jamie Hillwood and Jack Rowe-Hurst and in came Dan Jacques, Will Broomfield, Lewis Westlake and James Littlejohn.

The only goal of the game arrived midway through the second half and once again it was as a result of a set piece that Hassocks failed to defend properly.

Lewis Jenkins was the man in black and white who took advantage of the slackness in the Hassocks backline, heading past Josh Green with 69 minutes played.