After they played their part in an action-packed Non-League Day with a memorable 3-1 Peter Bentley Cup Third Round win over Little Common, AFC Uckfield Town return to SCFL Premier Division duties this weekend, travelling to Hassocks FC.
Having been unable to complete any league games for three weeks, the Uckers should be raring to go for a crucial game against the 17th-placed hosts, and will be aiming to extend their current run of three back-to-back wins, writes Will Hugall.
For one reason or another, it has felt that the Uckers have always been playing catch-up in the Premier Division this season.
Whilst only in mid-October, they still have a game in hand on the sides around them, and even without having played that match, may feel they deserve to sit higher than 11th.
Three single-goal defeats at home have been the only real hindrance to their campaign so far, and even with those disappointments, they will certainly take heart from collecting four more points from their completed fixtures to date than in the same matches in the 2018-19 season.
With their Peter Bentley Cup run continuing last weekend too, the Uckers are alongside only Lancing as a Premier Division side able to boast an unbeaten record in cup games over 90 or 120 minutes this season.
That record will come under even greater threat in weeks to come, however. After last weekend’s win, the completion of a rearranged RUR Cup match and two further draws, the Uckers have been handed the following four away ties in the next month;
Peter Bentley Cup Quarter-Final – vs Eastbourne United, with a date yet to be confirmed.
RUR Cup Third Round – vs Broadbridge Heath on Tuesday 29th October, kick-off 7:45 p.m.
FA Vase Second Round – vs Walthamstow on Saturday 2nd November, kick-off 3 p.m.
Sussex Senior Cup Second Round – vs Eastbourne United on Tuesday 5th November, kick-off 7:45 p.m. (Dates all subject to change)
Opposition Lowdown – Hassocks FC
On the cup front at least, the Uckers’ hosts this weekend have had a season to forget so far. Finally playing their opening Peter Bentley Cup tie last weekend, they fell to a 4-2 defeat to Langney Wanderers, exiting their fourth competition this season, with only a Sussex Senior Cup meeting with Lancing to come.
An advantage of the Robins’ short-lived cup involvements will be the ability to concentrate on their league form, which manager Mark Dalgleish will certainly be keen to remedy after a shaky start.
Sitting in 17th at the time of writing, the Robins are only three points clear of winless Loxwood at the foot of the table, with a win over the Magpies three weeks ago their first in the league since early August.
Defensive issues have been an obvious factor of their struggles so far, including the 35 goals leaked in their last ten games – with their two wins during that time only coming when they managed to themselves score six.
Despite the goalscoring of Ben Bacon and James Littlejohn, who have each registered six times this season, the prospect of repeating that feat regularly will be slim, and a renewed defensive focus will be expected from the Robins this weekend.
Hassocks vs AFC Uckfield Town – Previous Meetings
Since AFC Uckfield first met the Robins in the 2011-12 season, there have been 14 meetings between the two, with the fixture yet to produce a draw – despite having two cup ties go to extra-time.
After the Uckers’ amalgamation in 2014, they have won seven of the last ten matches played between the two, including a 2-1 victory at The Beacon and a season-ending 4-0 win at The Oaks last season.
Their last two league visits to The Beacon have produced their only victories there, however, with defeats four times in the league and twice in the Peter Bentley Cup Final, including in May this year against Saltdean United – a memory the Uckers will be keen to improve.
Hassocks FC vs AFC Uckfield Town kicks off at 3 p.m. this Saturday at The Beacon (Brighton Road, BN6 9LU), with directions to the ground available at http://hassocksfc.net/the-beacon/.
Admission at The Beacon is £6 for adults, £3 for concessions, and free for under-16s.
Updates throughout the game can also be found from the @AfcUckfieldTown Twitter feed, and live here on Uckfield FM, on the Saturday Sports Programme with David Eggleston from 2-6 p.m.