With their best display of the season, Hassocks progressed to the semi-final of the League Cup with a comprehensive 7-2 victory against Premier League side Worthing.
The manager had stressed the importance of a strong start and Hassocks certainly came out of the traps with all guns blazing. Katherine Chappell had two early attempts on goal and Kelly Rushworth had a shot over the bar, all in the opening five minutes. Worthing responded, however, and Claire Stevens, with a clearing header, and Chloe John with two excellent interceptions averted any danger. In the 10th minute, Hassocks took the lead when a pass from Kirsten Mair found Billie Philpott, who calmly slotted the ball home.
Claire Stevens had to head away a dangerous looking corner in the 15th minute and then Emma Young, playing a holding role in front of the back four, also had to head away a cross. Katherine Chappell had another effort just wide before a combined effort by Sam Newman and Chloe John cleared another dangerous looking attack. Hassocks then upped the pace and went close with a Billie Philpott shot being saved and successive shots from Kirsten Mair and Katherine Chappell well blocked by the defenders. The Hassocks midfield trio of Mair, Chappell and Gemma Craig were displaying some excellent passing moves which the Worthing midfielders had difficulty in coping with.
Hassocks then took control scoring three goals in an amazing five minute spell between the 28th and 34th minutes. Worthing’s keeper had a clearance blocked and Billie Philpott pounced and rounded the keeper to make the score 2-0. Then Kelly Rushworth scored the third following a Claire Stevens header and the fourth was scored by Katherine Chappell following a pass from Billie Philpott. The flurry of goals took the wind out of Worthing’s sails and they looked shell-shocked for a while, although they recovered well and hit the bar with in the 40th minute. Then skipper Sam Newman had to make a timely interception and keeper Sarah Chappell had to rush out to save at the feet of the onrushing forward. Hassocks increased their lead in the 45th minute when Billie Philpott latched onto a Kelly Rushworth through ball to make the score 5-0. Disappointingly, a slight lapse of concentration allowed Worthing to pull a goal back in time-added-on to make the half-time score 5-1.
Buoyed by their late first half goal, Worthing came out for the second half on the front foot and scored a second in the 48th minute. Sarah Chappell then had to clear a dangerous looking free kick as Worthing looked to get back into the match. Tallie Bright, although mainly in action further forward, had to defend well to prevent another Worthing shot on target. In the 58th minute, Sarah Chappell had to make a diving save and a minute later, she was in action again with a double save.
Hassocks slowly gained first-half their superiority back, with Liz King, who was brought on for the second half, slotting well into midfield. In the 60th minute, Billie Philpott, when clean through, was unceremoniously brought down by the Worthing keeper, who received a yellow card. Tallie Bright and Billie Philpott combined well to win a corner. Substitute Ria Banitas was brought on as Hassocks continued to hold the upper hand. A Kelly Rushworth shot was just over the bar and a Billie Philpott shot was saved. Tallie Bright then hit the bar with a shot from outside the area before, in the 73rd minute, Kelly Rushworth scored the sixth, calmly dribbling around the keeper.
Jodie Johanson was brought on for the final 15 minutes and slotted well into the right hand side. Worthing threatened briefly when a header from a corner hit the bar, but in the 86th minute, Hassocks were awarded a penalty for hand ball which Kelly Rushworth smashed into the corner to make the score 7-2. Banna Haines was brought on for the final few minutes. Although the game was effectively over, Worthing had one final attack which Ria Banitas defended well, with the resulting corner being headed clear by Claire Stevens.
Although the team were confident before the game, a 7-2 victory against a mid-table Premier league side was exceptional. The whole team can take credit for the performance. With their skilful midfielders and pacy forwards, Hassocks always looked dangerous in attack. Defensively, the back three of Sam Newman, Chloe John and Claire Stevens, with Emma Young just in front, were strong, Stevens particularly in the air where several dominating headers were won.
Hassocks’s next match is a return to league action against Burgess Hill, who also beat Premier League opposition to reach the League Cup semi-finals, so it will be another big test and the team will need to repeat this level of performance if they are to maintain their unbeaten league record.