VIDEO: Tempestuous win for Hassocks

Hassocks 2 Rye 1

Hassocks v Rye. Hassocks score from the penalty to make it 2-1. 02.11.13 

Pic Steve Robards
Hassocks v Rye. Hassocks score from the penalty to make it 2-1. 02.11.13 Pic Steve Robards

by Chris Francis

This tempestuous match ended in an excellent win for Hassocks on Saturday after Rye were reduced to 10 men just before half time.

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In truth, Rye were the better side overall but like most Rye teams in recent years they were far too physical and failed to win any friends. Spats and far more serious confrontations erupted at regular intervals and left an unsavoury taste in the mouth.

Hassocks v Rye. Hassocks score from the penalty to make it 2-1. 02.11.13 Pic Steve Robards

The visitors had defender Ryan Alexander booked early on and then experienced skipper Andy Atkin was also yellow carded for a late challenge that left home keeper Jack Simpson with a swollen hand that led to his substitution at half time. Later two more Rye players were booked along with home skipper Ashley Marsh

It was a disappointing end to Simpson’s last match for some time as he is soon off on a round-the-world trip.

The two benches joined in the bad feeling as Rye assistant boss, former Albion and Maidstone striker Marc Gall, had a heated verbal exchange with Roy Staughton and as the players went down the tunnel at half time there was a serious confrontation which left a Hassocks official with a badly bruised leg as he tried to keep players and officials apart.

By then Alexander had been straight red carded as he conceded the penalty that put Hassocks back in front. Referee Jacob Miles had no option as Dan Smith was clean through.

Without Nathan Miles, Jamie Hillwood and Phil Johnson, Robins were grateful to have Smith back from Lewes.

Phil Gault easily converted the 43rd minute penalty and it was his even better curled free kick that had put Hassocks ahead on 33 minutes.

But the lead lasted only two minutes as at the other end Mr Miles somewhat harshly penalised Marsh for a challenge on Atkin and the resulting free kick was struck with such venom by Liam Upton that no blame could be attached to Simpson for failing to keep it out despite laying a hand on the ball.

After the break Rye continued to look particularly menacing at set-pieces but as the game wore on and became more stretched, Hassocks fashioned some good breaks that could have put the game to bed.

But in the last minute of stoppage time the hosts were given a real let-off when Rye sub Evan Archibald got clean through only to be denied by the inside of a post.

After the final whistle there was another angry exchange as a Rye player confronted a home fan before being restrained by colleagues but at least there were some handshakes between players on the pitch.

The hosts were pleased to have Woking keeper Alex Harris on the bench and the youngster now has the chance to claim a regular place.

Hassocks: Simpson (Harris, 45); South, Marsh, Pitcher, Maynard; Knowles, Hibbert, Price (L Cooper, 45), Jacques (Ingham, 75); Gault, Smith.

Middy Starman: Hassocks stood up well to the physical battle and central defenders Ashley Marsh and Nick Pitcher were superb.