Hailsham boss hopes Hassocks comeback can kick-start survival bid

Hailsham and Hassocks battle for possession at the Beaconsfield
Hailsham and Hassocks battle for possession at the Beaconsfield

Hailsham Town manager Ian Stevens’ hopes to use last Saturday’s remarkable comeback against Hassocks as inspiration for their relegation battles ahead.

Hailsham, who are third from bottom in the table in the Southern Combination Premier, were 4-0 down at the Beaconsfield and were heading for the their 18th defeat of a tough season.

Stevens admitted a few changes and stern words were said halftime and the players responded in style.

Tristan Jarvis began the comeback with a goal 10 minutes after the break before a quickfire double from reliable striker Danny Leach. Emmanuel Okinja ensured Hailsham earned a point and sparked celebrations as he netted in the 88th minute.

“It was quite incredible and it shows what character we have in the team, so full credit to the players.

“It has not been easy this season and it would have been easy to give-up. But against Hassocks they kept on going and in the end we were unlucky not to get the win. Hassocks were quite lucky to get out of there with a point.

“I had to say a few words at halftime. There was no point in me going saying ‘unlucky lads.’ I challenged them and they gave a positive reaction. I was pleased for the fans and for the players after the game but I said to them we have to use this as a springboard and go on from here.”

Postponements have hit Hailsham harder than most this season. They have played just 22 matches this season, the lowest in the league, and they now face a hectic fixture schedule. They were due to face Eastbourne United at the Beaconsfield on Tuesday but once again that was called off due to a water logged pitch. Stevens added, “I was desperate to get the United game on particularly after the second half against Hassocks. “The referee deemed it unplayable which was disappointing.

“Personally I would have played and we have played on plenty worse pitches this season already. But the decision was made and we had to take it, it was the referee’s call.

“It doesn’t help and it looks like we will be playing Saturday, Monday and Thursday for a few weeks. We have 17 games to squeeze in between now and April 23.”

Tomorrow (Saturday, 3pm), Hailsham welcome third placed Lancing to the Beaconsfield.

Stevens added, “We gave Lancing a good game on their 3g and performed well. Our pitch is certainly a leveller and if we perform like we did in the second half against Hassock then we have a chance of causing an upset.”