Five-star Littlehampton sink struggling Hailsham

Jack Cole was on target for Littlehampton against Hailsham
Jack Cole was on target for Littlehampton against Hailsham

Littlehampton Football Club manager Ady Baker was delighted with his side’s performance in their 5-3 win at home to struggling Hailsham on Saturday.

The Tanners had recorded their first league win of the season when they beat Arundel the previous week and they went into half-time level at 2-2, before three goals early in the second half took Golds to victory.

Baker felt it should have been more emphatic as his side hit the woodwork on four occasions but a hat-trick from George Gaskin – his first goals since returning to the club – and strikes from Jack Cole and Ben Gray proved enough.

Baker said: “The performance was really good and we could have scored double figures.

“It was a more comfortable win than the scoreline suggests as we gave them all their goals. We played the last 20 minutes with ten men after Marshall Ball was sent off but we still had chances to score further goals.

“We created chances throughout the game which was pleasing and we played some nice football. The new players have come in and done well. They’ve settled the team down as they bring that little bit of quality.

“Dan Kempson came in and made a big difference in the middle of the park and I’m pretty happy with the squad as there’s good strength in depth in every position, now we’ve just got to keep getting the results.”

Matthew Rodrigues-Barbosa’s deflected shot put Hailsham ahead on ten minutes but Golds levelled within a minute when Cole fired into the top corner.

Gaskin’s quickly-taken free kick put Littlehampton ahead on 25 minutes and they had chances to extend their lead as Mitchell Hand, Gaskin and Liam O’Connor all hit the woodwork.

Rodrigues-Barbosa’s second drew Hailsham level on the stroke of half-time after Golds gave the ball away.

Gray pounced to regain Littlehampton’s lead after Hand’s shot was parried on 50 minutes, before Gaskin struck twice in quick succession to complete his hat-trick. He headed home to make it 4-2 on 59 minutes before he got his third with a low shot for his 24th goal this season, after 21 for Shoreham before rejoining Golds.

Ross Markham pulled a goal back for Hailsham from the penalty spot on 67 minutes after a foul by Ball, who was red-carded for a second booking.

Golds still could have added a sixth but substitute Shaun Charles was unable to convert two one-on-one chances.

Littlehampton travel to Loxwood on Saturday and could include Brad Lewis, after he joined from Arundel.

Baker said: “Loxwood are always a decent side, play good football and it’s never an easy place to go. However, with the team we’ve got now, we can go there and look to get all three points.”

LITTLEHAMPTON: Hutchings; Ball, Chaplin, Bates, D.Hand, O’Connor, M.Hand, Kempson, Gray, Gaskin, Cole. Subs: Janman, Charles (O’Connor, Cole 55), Cox (Gray 60), McKay.

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