Hassock 1, Horsham YMCA 0: Benson goal separates sides

A few weeks ago, Hassocks would've been dreading back-to-back league fixtures with Eastbourne Town and Horsham YMCA.

Action from Saturday's game. Picture by PW Sporting Photography
Action from Saturday's game. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

They hadn't beaten Town in a decade before last weekends excellent 2-1 victory and this weekend they laid to rest another ghost of sorts with just their 10th league victory over YMCA in 36 attempts.

Liam Benson's sixth goal of the season 10 minutes from time was enough to decide the tie 1-0 in the Robins favour and ease their relegation worries - they are now just five points shy of the magical 40 mark which Mark Dalgleish and Phil Wickwar have been targeting since day one.

Wickwar described YM as having "an array of talent" which made this a brilliant three points built upon by a strong defensive performance.

The team celebrate Liam Benson's winning goal. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

Among that talent is former Robins fan favourite Phil Johnson. Johnson scored twice for YM when the sides met at Gorings Mead back in October to single handedly win the game for his current club and he remains a popular figure among the Beacon faithful but he was kept quiet largely due to the excellent work of Ashley Marsh.

The first half was something of a non event as both sides cancelled each other out. Hassocks had the slightly better chances largely created by the marauding runs of Jack Rowe-Hurst who twice fired over good opportunities.

The second of those was a particularly good one, especially with James Westlake arriving in support and there were questions asked about whether the enigmatic Rowe-Hurst should have slid him in rather than attempt to go himself.

Half time came at the wrong time for Hassocks given there were on top by that point and YM responded after the break by dominating proceedings, James Broadbent being forced into two fine saves to ensure things remained scoreless.

The team celebrate Liam Benson's winning goal. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

The Robins bench responded by throwing on Jack Wilkins for Lewis Westlake and moving James Westlake into a more central position and Wilkins pace instantly gave YM a different threat to think about.

Despite that it remained tight with the general consensus being that one goal would be enough to win it.

And it was Hassocks who got it. The Robins won a corner which Jack Rowe-Hurst controversially decided to take leading to scenes of kittens being given birth to on the Robins bench, but that rage soon turned to joy as his ball in was met by a bullet Jordan Badger header.

That cannoned back off the bar and Benson showed superb reactions to head the loose ball home and send the home crowd wild.

Rowe-Hurst's work was done at that point and he was replaced by Michael Death who almost made the points safe, a flowing move through Phil Gault, James Westlake and Benson eventually arriving with Death who fired just over with just the goalkeeper to beat.

That miss didn't matter however as Hassocks saw out the remaining time comfortably to make it four wins from their last five games.

Hassocks: Broadbent; Akehurst, Barnes, Badger, Marsh; J Westlake, Mills, Westlake, Rowe-Hurst; Gault, Benson.

Subs: Wilkins (L Westlake), Death (Rowe-Hurst), Tighe, Galbraith-Gibbons, B John (unused).