Hassocks hit five in the Bentley – Roffey make FA Vase progress

Knockout successes for Hassocks and Roffey feature in our latest local football round-up.
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Peter Bentley Cup

by Scott McCarthy

Roffey put the pressure on at Banstead in the FA Vase | Picture courtesy of Roffey FCRoffey put the pressure on at Banstead in the FA Vase | Picture courtesy of Roffey FC
Roffey put the pressure on at Banstead in the FA Vase | Picture courtesy of Roffey FC

There will be a Mid Sussex Derby in the third round of the Peter Bentley League Cup after Hassocks secured safe passage past Selsey to set up a home clash with Haywards Heath Town.

Liam Benson was the star of the show at the wonderfully named Seal Bay Stadium, scoring four of the goals in a 5-1 victory for the Robins.

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Heath did their part too, winning 3-1 at Wick. The sides will now meet at the Beacon in October with a place in the quarter finals of the competition up for grabs.

With both teams currently ensconced in the top six of the Southern Combination Premier Division, it should be a cracker.

Fresh in Hassocks minds ahead of the long journey west would have been what happened seven days earlier in another cup tie against Division One opponents.

The Robins failed to do themselves justice in their Sussex Principal RUR Charity Cup clash at Roffey, slipping on the proverbial banana skin and falling to a 2-0 defeat.

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This looked on paper an equally tricky assignment. Selsey had finished in the playoff places last season and have retained much of that squad.

League form in the current campaign has not quite matched so far, but the Blues had already claimed the impressive scalps of higher division opponents Pagham and Tooting & Mitcham United in the Sussex Senior Cup and FA Vase respectively.

No doubt they would have fancied their chances of adding Hassocks to that list.

Thankfully for the Robins, they are in a rich vein of scoring form at the moment.

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This was the third time in their past four matches that they have hit five, having hammered AFC Varndeanians 5-0 before edging out Sheerwater 5-4 in a nine-goal FA Vase classic at the weekend.

James Westlake made four changes from XI who started that thriller against the Sheers.

The headlines were Under 18s left back Charlie Fogden making his full senior debut and a first start for over a year in midfield for Lewis Westlake.

Bradley Tighe and Super Pat Harding were the other players given opportunities with Tom Frankland, Joe Bull, Alfie Loversidge and Josh Mundy dropping out.

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Hassocks took the lead with 15 minutes on the clock, Benson putting a well placed header beyond the reach of Selsey goalkeeper Jack Wyatt.

That set the tone for what was to come with all six goals on the night being notched from crossed into the box.

Benson doubled the advantage on the half hour mark via his second headed goal of the evening, ensuring the Robins went into the break 2-0 ahead.

Selsey made their first change of the evening on 60 minutes, introducing James Henton up front in place of Angel Harris.

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It proved to be an inspired decision from manager Daren Pearce as within 180 seconds of his introduction, Henton pulled one back for the Blues after Shane Brazil crossed from the right.

Selsey had their tails up and nobody could blame any Hassocks supporters whose minds wandered to what happened against Sheerwater,

when the Robins blew 3-0 and 4-1 leads to almost snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

But then came a moment of controversy which enabled Hassocks to restore their two-goal advantage

five minutes after Henton had struck.

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One of the assistant referees flagged for an offside against Hassocks, only to then say he had made a mistake once the free kick had been awarded.

Man in the middle Adan Saige responded by giving the Robins an uncontested drop ball so that they could retake possession, leaving Selsey baffled.

And that bafflement instantly turned to anger as Hassocks immediately worked the ball out wide and crossed for Benson to complete his hat-trick.

The Blues were understandably miffed by this turn of events and Hassocks went onto score twice more in the final two minutes.

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Benson added one to complete the first four-goal haul of his career and the other came from returning substitute Dan Turner, a 67th minute replacement for Matt Gunn.

It was the 2021-22 Players’ Player and Supporters’ Player of the Season double award winner’s first senior appearance since returning from a year playing cricket in the southern hemisphere.

Hassocks: Trigwell; B Tighe, Gunn, Bygraves, Fogden; Stephenson, L Westlake, Williamson, Harding; Wilkes; Benson. Subs: Turner (Gunn 67), Bull (Fogden 77), Mundy (Westlake 77), Woolven (Harding 77), Frankland (Tighe 83).

Banstead 1-3 Roffey

FA Vase

by Sam Chapman

Roffey completed what was eventually a fairly comfortable victory over Banstead but will feel they made hard work of it. The Boars were without the injured Kelvin Lucas and Dan Pearse and unavailable Devon Fender, Jack Stafford, Mark Bevan, Charlie Maguire, Charlie Leach and cup tied Jake Le Grange, but welcomed back James Pearse from holiday and Pat Gibbs from University.

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The hosts had beaten division higher Colliers Wood in the previous round with a strong defensive performance and two fantastic shots. Roffey appeared to have derailed that approach with a goal after just 5 minutes when a slick passing move saw Ricardo Fernandes latch onto Tiago Andrade’s clever pass to finish clinically. 1-0

Roffey continued to have most of the possession but repeatedly ran into a mass of gold and black shirts on the edge of the penalty area. Chances were limited to snap shots and headers over the bar. Banstead showed they could break quickly and the dangerous Emaka Okakpu forced Luis Correia into a sharp save down to his left. It was clear that Roffey could really do with a second goal which they appeared to have when Andrade headed in from close range but after a long delay the goal was disallowed for his challenge on the keeper.

Roffey have conceded very few goals this season and those have often been rather soft and this happened again shortly before half time when a the ball was lobbed forward towards the Boars box and Correia moved to cover it as Fernandes tried to head clear but could only divert it into the path of Okakpu who had got behind Pat Gibbs to find the net before Correia could regain his ground. HT 1-1

Roffey came out determined to move the ball more quickly on then difficult surface and stretch the hosts out of their shape. They began to get Jahobi Maher and Pearse into the game wide on the flanks and the gaps began to appear down the sides of the central defenders. Andrade exploited this and was brought down as he prepared to shoot. Unfortunately he got up to put his spot kick the wrong side of the post and Roffey’s travelling support must have wondered if it was going to be one of these days.

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Roffey continued to press and skipper Fernandes regained their lead with a sharp shot from the edge of the box which went in off the inside of the post and the keeper’s back. 2-1 Th hosts now had to go for it and earned a couple of corners that had to be defended well. However this now meant Banstead were more stretched at the back and Maher took advantage cutting in from the left and driving in off the post to make the game safe for the Boars.

Roffey have been given a home draw against SCEFL Premier Division Lordswood in the first round proper on 21st October.

Roffey: Correia, Pearse, Fortune, Faber, Findlay, Gibbs, Maher, Fernandes, Cousins (Maunder), Andrade, Wanstall (Joseph). Subs: Morgan, Baldwin