Newhaven Reserves kicked off their league campaign at a sun drenched Fort Road on Saturday against Sidley United, who were relegated from the Reserve Section Premier last season.
Two players making their debuts were Harry Stewart in goal who played for Haywards Heath last season, and Bradley Keith in midfield who had joined from Seaford. The reserves also welcomed back Damian Lambert who has returned to the club after missing the last couple of seasons. Paul O’Donnell took the armband as last season’s captain, Simon Whitney, had departed for Hurstpierpoint.
Newhaven were hoping for a positive start to the campaign, after suffering defeats in their opening fixtures in the past two seasons, and their wish appeared to be granted when Luke Duchossoy picked the ball up out on the left hand side and was allowed to turn inside and crash a 20 yarder into the opposite top right corner after 10 minutes, to give the home side a 1-0 lead.
1 became 2 on the half hour mark when James Whatman crossed deep from the left and watched the ball sail over the Sidley keeper into the top corner.
Newhaven weren’t finished before half time when a quick looping free kick from Jason Goddard found Whatman in the Sidley penalty area. He controlled with his left foot and smashed the ball into the net with his right foot to give the home side a 3-0 lead at half time.
The half time teamtalk consisted of maintaining the level of performance and not conceding in the second half, however this was not carried out when a penalty was conceded after 53 minutes and Billy Craig converted to make it 3-1.
Newhaven began to wobble and 10 minutes later a deep cross from the right hand side was met by an unchallenged header from Scott Quested and Sidley were back in the game 3-2. Phil Avenell was introduced for the tiring Tom Mason shortly after.
The Dockers began to dominate once again with Lambert and Duchossoy threatening on the break. Eventually the 4th Dockers goal came when good work on the right from Lambert resulted in a fine cross being met by the head of the onrushing Matt Harrison (4-2).
The scoring was not finished however when 5 minutes from the end an excellent Calum Burnett clearing header sailed over the Sidley defence for Lambert to run onto and calmly place past the keeper to wrap the game up 5-2.
A fine start to the season by the Reserves. Next week sees the visit of Westfield Reserves.
1) Harry Stewart
2) Joe McTiffen
3) Jason Goddard
4) Calum Burnett
5) Paul O’Donnell (c)
6) Tom Mason
7) Bradley Keith
8) Matt Harrison
9) Luke Duchossoy
10) Damian Lambert
11) James Whatman
12) Phil Avenell (for Mason)
14) Josh Tomkins (for Whatman)
15) Paul Whitmore (for Keith)
16) Andy Cook