It was another frustrating day at the office for Hassocks as their recent mini revival came to an end in a 2-0 defeat away at lowly Littlehampton Town.
A despondent Phil Wickwar summed things up in typically unphlegmatic style afterwards. “Again we were the better team. Again we couldn’t take our chances. And again we’re on the end of another defeat. We can’t keep saying that every week.”
He is right, Hassocks can’t if they are to avoid the sort of struggles that have dogged them over the past couple of seasons.
There were few excuses they could give for being just the second team to lose to Littlehampton in the league this season.
Yes, resources were stretched with the under 21s also in Sussex Intermediate Cup action away at Arundel to the point where Wickwar and fellow joint boss Mark Dalgleish were named on the bench, but for the first time in the campaign Hassocks were able to name the same starting 11 for consecutive matches.
And while they may have been missing the finishing ability of the injured Phil Gault, the attacking triumvirate of Ben Bacon, Nathan Miles and Michael Death should have had enough about them to ensure the Robins returned with at least something.
The first half was one of few chances. Miles and Bacon both had enterprising runs that came to nothing. Bradley Bant got free once down the right but his pull back missed everyone. Some trademark set piece deliveries from James Westlake caused problems, especially when they found their way to the imposing heads of Jordan Badger and Josh Hawkes.
But nothing found it’s way past Littlehampton goalkeeper Luke Hutchings as the sides turned around level at the break and it was in the second half that Hassocks’ game fell apart alarmingly.
Jack Cole opened the scoring on the hour mark. Some slack defending allowed the forward in one-on-one and he made no mistake, slotting past James Broadbent and into the bottom corner of the Hassocks goal.
That seemed to shake the visitors and they completely lost their heads, conceding a second within the next 120 seconds.
Marshall Ball’s effort was a fortuitous one, the midfielder hitting a half volley through a crowd of players that must have left Broadbent unsighted as the ball squeezed past him and into the back of the net.
Substitute Lewis Westlake offered some control when he was introduced after that but deep down you suspected that Hassocks knew this was just going to be another one of those days.
Something that, again, Hassocks have been saying with far too much regularity so far.
Hassocks: Broadbent; Mills, Barnes, Badger, Marsh; Hawkes; J Westlake, Bant; Bacon; Miles, Death.
Subs: L Westlake (used), Tighe, Akehurst, Dalgleish, P Wickwar (unused).
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