In a game with some controversial moments, Hassocks maintained their unbeaten league season with a 4-0 victory over local rivals Burgess Hill.
Burgess Hill had the first attack and Kirsten Mair had to be alert to the danger and chased back conceding a corner which was overhit and came to nothing. Mair again had to produce a moment of good defending before Hassocks responded with a Billie Philpott shot needing to be saved by the keeper. Hassocks soon responded and in the 11th minute, were awarded a free kick after Kelly Rushworth was fouled. A great delivery by Kirsten Mair resulted in a superb half-volleyed goal by Liz King to give Hassocks a 1-0 lead. Hassocks went close to a second shortly afterwards when Liz King won the ball in midfield and a Tallie Bright pass found Billie Philpott whose shot was just wide.
Burgess Hill had a chance in the 16th minute with a clever lobbed shot which Sarah Chappell watched carefully and gathered safely. Hassocks continued on top and a through ball from Claire Stevens found Billie Philpott who battled well to win a throw-in which led to a corner. Gemma Craig, who had also won several headers in midfield, got her head onto the corner but the effort was blocked.
In the 25th minute, the first controversial moment occurred. Hassocks were initially awarded a penalty by the referee after a challenge on Billie Philpott, but after consultation with the linesman, the decision was changed to a free kick to Burgess Hill for offside. However, the relief for Burgess Hill was short lived as Hassocks increased their lead in the 28th minute. A superb passing move started by Sarah Chappell who having caught a cross, passed to Tallie Bright who found Emma Young who in turn passed back to Bright, via a clever dummy by Kelly Rushworth. The pin-point cross was met by Katherine Chappell to make the score 2-0. Hassocks continued being on top with a dangerous looking cross by Kelly Rushworth almost finding Katherine Chappell who was just beaten to the ball by the keeper who anticipated the cross well.
Burgess Hill then had a couple of chances, a cross landing on top of the net and then Claire Stevens having to make a last ditch clearance. Hassocks ended the half on the front foot with the Burgess Hill keeper saving well from Billie Philpott and Emma Young volleying a shot over the bar.
Hassocks started the second half determinedly with another effort by Billie Philpott going just over the bar from a tight angle. A clever short corner in the 53rd minute saw a Kirsten Mair cross met by Gemma Craig whose header was saved. A minute later there was another controversial moment as Burgess Hill had the ball in the net but the goal was disallowed for handball which the referee had not initially seen.
Burgess Hill appeared to be coming more into the game for a short period and skipper Sam Newman was vocal ensuring that the players weathered the storm. However, this period was short lived as Hassocks scored a third goal in the 63rd minute to make the scoreline reflect the overall game. A free kick given just outside the penalty area was fired into the corner by Kelly Rushworth. Three minutes later, the match was clinched when Kirsten Mair added the fourth goal following good work by Tallie Bright. However, this produced another moment of controversy as the referee awarded the goal despite the linesman flagging for offside.
Substitute Jodie Johanson was brought on in the 71st minute, with Banna Hannes also being brought on five minutes later. Burgess Hill threatened briefly with Claire Stevens having to head away a dangerous looking free kick and then a penalty was awarded against Hassocks, but the effort was wide, although it looked as if the diving Sarah Chappell might have saved it anyway. Burgess Hill then won a corner which Banna Hannes did well to clear. Chloe John, who was unable to start the match, was brought on for the final few minutes and almost immediately had to produce some good defending to ensure the score remained at 4-0 at full-time.
All the players can take great credit from an excellent performance against a Burgess Hill team who battled well. Keeper Sarah Chappell looked confident and assured. Defenders Sam Newman, Claire Stevens and Emma Young ensured that Burgess Hill were restricted to few chances. Midfielders Tallie Bright, Kirsten Mair, Katherine Chappell, Liz King and Gemma Craig demonstrated some wonderful passing movements. Kelly Rushworth was outstanding linking the play between midfield and attack and Billie Philpott’s tireless running and skill never gave the Burgess Hill defenders a minute’s peace. Substitutes Jodie Johanson, Banna Hannes and Chloe John also played their part towards the end. Hassocks can now look forward to a week’s rest before the final match of the season at home, again versus Burgess Hill.