With two matches still to play, Hassocks clinched the Division One West title with a comprehensive 6-0 victory against Bexhill Reserves.
Hassocks started brightly with Billie Philpott shooting narrowly over in the 5th minute following good work by Kirsten Mair. Hassocks had two more early chances, the Bexhill keeper first smothering another effort by Philpott and then saving well from Katherine Chappell. Hassocks continued to press forcing a couple of corners but then the game drifted slightly as Bexhill managed to gain more possession.
Mid-way through the half two more efforts from Billie Philpott went close, the first being saved and the second from a narrow angle hitting the side netting. Jodie Johanson, who was showing her skills with some deft touches, looked dangerous for Hassocks and following an excellent run and cross, Katherine Chappell saw an effort go narrowly wide.
In the 37th minute, Hassocks eventually took the lead. Great interplay between Billie Philpott and Kirsten Mair fed Kelly Rushworth whose unstoppable left-footed shot found the top corner of the net. Billie Philpott had another shot saved before Hassocks extended their lead with a Katherine Chappell shot being deflected by Kelly Rushworth and wrong footing the keeper. Bexhill had one attack before the interval with good defending by Sam Newman averting the situation and enabling Hassocks to end the half with a 2-0 lead.
Hassocks started the second half on the front foot, determined to put the result beyond doubt. Kelly Rushworth shot wide and then in the 53rd minute, had another shot saved after good work by Jodie Johanson, but Kirsten Mair was on hand to slot the ball home for the third goal. Two minutes later, Hassocks did put the result beyond doubt with a fourth goal. A through ball by Rushworth found Katherine Chappell who calmly slotted the ball home. Hassocks were on the rampage now, and scored a fifth two minutes later with a sensational 30 yard shot on the half-volley by Liz King finding the top corner and giving the keeper no chance.
In a rare Bexhill attack, Claire Stevens had to cover well before Tallie Bright and Banna Hannes were brought on. Bright slotted well into the back three.
Unusually for Hassocks, five goals had been scored without top scorer Billie Philpott finding the net, but she corrected this anomaly with a calmly taken sixth goal in the 71st minute. Hassocks continued to press with some excellent passing moves in midfield. The trio of Katherine Chappell, Kirsten Mair, and Gemma Craig, who had also won many headers, were dominant. A final substitution was made in the 82nd minute with Ellie Moquet brought on. Bexhill had one final flourish with a corner and then Sarah Chappell had to make a save to ensure Hassocks kept a clean sheet, the final score being 6-0.
In summary, this was an excellent overall performance against a Bexhill side, who were vastly improved from that faced earlier in the season. The midfield demonstrated many skilful and flowing passing moves and the attack always looked dangerous. The defence of Emma Young, making many of her trademark tackles, Claire Stevens and skipper, Sam Newman, always looked in control and didn’t allow Bexhill many chances on goal. It is difficult to pick any standout player on the day, but special mention should be made of Jodie Johanson, who was a constant threat on the right hand side with her pace and skill. The whole squad can be proud of a successful season winning both the league and the Sussex FA Challenge Cup, but they still have two matches to play and will want to end the season on a high note.
Report by Colin Stevens