Newhaven missed the chance to go third in Reserve Section East, after a 4-2 home defeat against Little Common on Friday night.
After two wins on the bounce – one in the cup and one in the league – the Dockers went in to the game in confident mood. But they came unstuck against a lively Little Common side that took their chances when they arose.
Newhaven took the lead when Tom Stevenson found the net from the edge of the area, but they went in to the break behind as the visitors hit two goals in a five minute spell, through Adam Smith and Stu Collier.
Common doubled their advantage 10 minutes after half-time, through a well struck 20 yarder from James Vaughan, before Liam Keith scored from the penalty spot to reduce the arrears. But the comeback was short lived as a long throw in to the Newhaven box was steered in at the near post by Oscar Hammond.
Newhaven manager Andy Cook made four changes from the team that started the win against Hailsham Town last time out. Matt Harrison replaced Freddie Beale on the right of midfield and Stevenson came in for Ebou Jallow on the left. Kieran Doherty replaced Tom Mason in the centre of midfield and Keith started up front, in place of Ryan Walton.
It was the hosts that started the brighter and they took the lead 15 minutes in to the game. Some neat play between Barry Knight, Calum Burnett, Keith and Stevenson ended with the latter firing in a right footed shot from the edge of the box.
Neither side were able to create any meaningful chances, although Common did have the ball in the back of the net after a flag was raised for offside.
The visitor’s equaliser came 8 minutes before half-time. The Newhaven defence were high up the pitch and it gave the Smith acres of space to run on to a through-ball, round the onrushing Harry Stewart and place in to the empty net, despite Stewart’s best efforts to retrieve the ball.
Keith went close with a rasping left footed drive but it was Common that got themselves in front for the first time. A ball was played over to the right and, after getting past Paul O’Donnell, the attacker cut the ball across the six-yard box where it was fired in by Collier.
The lack of fluidity in Newhaven’s play came out with them for the second half, and they were 3-1 down ten minutes in to it.
A stray pass was picked up by Vaughan, who advanced under no real pressure, before firing in a shot from 20-yards that left Stewart with no chance.
Another ten minutes past before Newhaven were given a lifeline. Matt Harrison ran on to a ball in the Common area and got to it before the defender, who brought him down. Keith stepped up and his spot kick had just enough power to beat the goalkeeper, who had guessed the direction correctly.
Unfortunately for Newhaven the comeback was short lived. The visitors restored their two-goal advantage soon after as a long throw from the right evaded everybody and was turned in at the near post by Hammond.
Newhaven had chances to pull a goal back but top scorer Damian Lambert wasted a good opportunity and substitute James Whatman’s touch let him down when gifted the ball on the edge of the Common box.
It wasn’t to be for the Dockers though and they now have to pick themselves up ahead of a Reserve Cup fixture at Loxwood in 8 days times.
Harry Stewart, Joe McTiffen, Calum Burnett (Josh Tomkins), Barry Knight, Paul O’Donnell, Matt Harrison, Gary Holmes, Kieran Doherty (Tom Mason), Tom Stevenson (James Whatman), Liam Keith, Damian Lambert.