Mistakes cost United against strugglers Arundel

Luis Freitas in action against Hassocks
Luis Freitas in action against Hassocks

WORTHING United Football Club’s six-game unbeaten league run came to an end on Tuesday evening when boss Tobi Hutchinson felt his side gifted Arundel all four of their goals.

He said: “The first half we weren’t great, but I thought second half we started the stronger of the two sides until we let them back in it.

“We gifted them all their goals, to be honest, which you can’t legislate for as a manager.”

The match was the proverbial game of two halves, with the first half being an essentially forgettable affair and the second producing five goals and therefore an end Mavericks’ unbeaten run.

The first half was low on chances, apart from a terrific double save from James Fernandes in the Arundel goal on 32 minutes to firstly deny Liam Baitup with his legs before flying high to his left to tip an Alex Thompson header past the post.

Arundel got the breakthrough on 43 minutes when Roy Pook, while trying to retrieve a ball he had given away, gave away a free kick on the edge of the box and the impressive Russell Hardwell tucked the set-piece inside the right-hand post.

The second half started brightly for the hosts and they levelled on 53 minutes when Sam Schaaf’s shot deflected to Baitup, who could not fail to miss from a yard with Fernandes wrong-footed.

The Mavericks were the architects of their own downfall, however, as a hopeful long ball found Hardwell, who did well not to go down under pressure in the penalty area from Pook, and although his first effort was saved by Gillard’s legs, the second was more emphatic on 66 minutes.

Just three minutes later, Joe Haffenden gifted Hardwell the ball with an attempted back pass and despite Gillard saving the Mullets striker’s initial effort, the ball rebounded to Rory Biggs, who drilled home from six yards.

Arundel made sure of all three points in the 72nd minute when Luis Freitas impeded Scott Tipper, and the frontman himself smashed home the resultant penalty.

United gave themselves hope with 10 minutes remaining when Marcus Robertshaw struck from Freitas’ cross but United could not manage an unlikely comeback.

On Saturday, Nathan Miles and Daniel Smith put Hassocks 2-0 up inside 12 minutes, but United levelled within seven minutes through Freitas’ long-range effort and Schaaf’s header.

Smith fired home on the half-hour to restore Hassocks’ lead, but Thompson made it 3-3 four minutes after half-time.

Hassocks went back ahead on the hour through Phil Gault’s close-range finish but United had the final word 11 minutes from time when Lucas Mann lobbed home.

Hutchinson said: “Both sides were guilty of poor defending, but it’s a decent point and earlier in the season we would have folded at 2-0 down. Our character, commitment and determination was very pleasing.”