Despite being without several players due to injury, Hassocks maintained their improving start to the season with a 3-2 victory against Crawley Wasps Development Squad.
Starting confidently, Hassocks had the first chance of the game with a Kelly Rushworth shot on the turn from a Chloe John cross being comfortably saved. In the 9th minute, Rushworth turned provider with a pass to Kirsten Mair, whose shot was narrowly over. Hassocks had a further chance in the 12th minute with a Gemma Craig shot being parried by the keeper with Kirsten Mair unable to slot the rebound home from a tight angle.
Crawley responded to Hassocks’s early pressure with Liz King having to cover well and then Claire Stevens had to head away a corner leading to a lobbed effort from Crawley going narrowly over the bar. Hassocks soon regained control, however, with a Kelly Rushworth volleyed effort going over and then following a foul on Chloe John, Rushworth went direct for goal forcing the keeper into a diving save to her left. Hassocks were well on top at this stage and deservedly took the lead in the 27th minute when Kelly Rushworth slotted the ball home from a Jess Craig pass. Although Crawley had another chance with Sarah Chappell having to save at full stretch, Hassocks soon increased their lead. After Gemma Craig had hit the bar, a Kirsten Mair cross was helped into the net by Claire Stevens, although the cross might have been heading for goal anyway.
Disappointingly, Hassocks allowed Crawley an immediate route back into the match when two minutes later an excellent cross was diverted home to make the score 2-1 and shortly afterwards, Crawley did manage to get the ball into the net again but it was rightly ruled out for offside. Hassocks had one more chance in the first half with a Kirsten Mair shot being saved before the half ended with Hassocks ahead 2-1.
Substitute Ellie Moquet replaced the injured Sarah Chappell in goal at the start of the second half and was immediately in the action, firstly being out quickly to clear, and then make a diving save to prevent an equaliser. Hassocks were going through a somewhat sloppy period now and Crawley were the better side although Gemma Craig had an effort over the bar. In the 63rd minute Hassocks made two substitutions, Ria Banitas and Tallie Bright coming on replacing Chloe John and Sam Newman. Crawley continued to press, though, and deservedly equalised in the 70th minute with a high lob giving keeper Ellie Moquet no chance.
At this stage, Crawley were on top and keeper Ellie Moquet had to make another excellent diving save but just when it looked as if there could be only one winner, Hassocks retook the lead against the run of play. Kelly Rushworth found Liz King with a short pass, which she then slotted past the keeper with the outside of her right foot. Crawley didn’t give up and continued to press, hitting the post and form a corner shortly afterwards, Claire Stevens had to head clear from virtually under the bar. Despite this late pressure, Hassocks managed to hold on for a 3-2 win.
Overall, it was a strange game. Hassocks were on top for the first 35 minutes but Crawley gained the initiative in the second half, but credit to the Hassocks players who held on and managed to snatch victory near the end.
By Colin Stevens