Horsham YMCA 5 Hassocks 0
by Paul Elphick
Hassocks’ title credentials and lack of depth were cruelly exposed at Gorings Mead on Saturday.
Even without so many absentees they may have struggled away to a side beaten only once in the league this season and who had beaten them by the same scoreline on their last league visit 13 months ago.
An experienced, slick and well drilled YM unit certainly called the tune as the Robins were without Jamie Hillwood (working) and injury victims Phil Johnson, Mark Price, Kieran O’Callaghan and the two Nathans, Cooper and Miles.
With Jack Simpson away travelling for the next few months, 17 year old Alex Harris took over between the sticks but he could do little to stem the tide.
YM looked like scoring at will, although Rowan Wallis, deputising for the suspended Ashley Marsh, put in some excellent tackles at the heart of the hard pressed defence.
There were more problems when Jamie Ingham limped off when the score was just 1-0 and it looks like being a tough few weeks ahead for Hassocks as they try to maintain a challenge near the top of the table.
Ironically, they had two good chances to take the lead early on as Anthony Hibbertfired just wide and a Phil Gault volley was a shade too high.
Gault was moved back into midfield inside the first half hour, leaving Craig Knowles to battle alone up front. Despite some willing running, he had no service to feed off.
Liam Hunter headed YM in front on 20 minutes, ghosting in at the far post from a Nick Sullivan cross, and once Ingham limped off with an ankle injury early in the second half, the hosts took complete control.
Dan Sullivan fired in after Harris had parried Nick Sullivan’s shot and then Nick lobbed the keeper when he was caught in two minds.
Harris made a fine save with his feet to deny Dave Brown but in the last few minutes Hassocks capitulated badly as further goals came from Nick Sullivan and Brown to end a miserable afternoon.
Hassocks: Harris, South, Davees, Pitcher, Wallis, Jacques, Hibbert, Ingham, Knowles, Gault, Maynard. Subs: Osgood (Ingham, 57), L Cooper (Maynard, 62), Grantham (South, 70). Middy Starman: not awarded