A winning goal 5 minutes from the end of extra time put paid to Newhaven Reserves hopes of progressing further in the Vernon Wentworth Cup on Saturday.
Despite a commanding performance from the Dockers, with many chances created, the result was not to be and it’s another cup exit away from home.
Three changes from last week saw Jason Edwards make his comeback from injury at left back, Gary Holmes return in midfield and Tom Stevenson out on the wing. Out went Josh Tomkins and Simon Blaxall to the bench and Paul O’Donnell who was unavailable.
The game started well for the Dockers with Tom Stevenson finding space out on the left but his shot did not trouble the home keeper. Damian Lambert next had a shot blocked before a needless free kick was conceded on the edge of the Dockers box. The resulting shot found its way past the wall and into the bottom corner to give the home side the lead inside the first quarter of an hour.
The next 15 minutes was not the tidiest as the match turned into a midfield battle. However a fine header from Holmes just went over the crossbar when it looked perfectly placed and this gave the Dockers a lift.
Jack Webber then found himself played through one on one with the keeper but his final touch let him down and the keeper gathered. (1-0 HT).
The second half brought more hope for the Dockers kicking downhill and an excellent 25 yarder from Matt Harrison was tipped over by the Wickers keeper. The Dockers were now applying pressure for the equaliser with a succession of corners.
A chance eventually sat up for Lambert on the edge of the box and his pin point shot to the top corner was left by the keeper but found the back of the net to give the away side the deserved equaliser.
With Harry Stewart having little to do in goal the away side kept pressing and a controversial disallowed header from Barry Knight for offside stopped Newhaven from taking the lead. Harrison, having a fine game in midfield, bustled his way into the penalty area but could not find a shot to finish off a fine move.
Blaxall replaced Stevenson and had an immediate impact giving the Wickers defence a torrid time. Tom O’Donnell also replaced the injured Holmes with 20 minutes to go. The home defence scrambled another chance off the line as further chances came and went and in the final minute O’Donnell muscled his way past the home defence and into the box only to overrun the ball when it appeared he was clipped from behind but no penalty. And so the match went to extra time. (1-1 FT)
Blaxall was proving to be a threat the more the game went on and in the first period of extra time was played in through the left channel but after beating the last defender he screwed his left foot shot finish high and wide.
With tiring legs on both sides the Dockers made one final change with Rob Brown replacing skipper Tom Mason. Then the best chance of extra time came when a through ball onto Jack Webber’s head looped over the onrushing keeper and onto the post to keep the sides deadlocked.
However this wasn’t to be the last chance of the match as the Wickers won a dubious free kick on the left wing and from the resulting cross the ball was headed over Stewart and into the back of the net to give the home side the win 2-1.
Despite a disappointing defeat the performance was very good and if only some of the chances were converted the scoreline would have been very different.
Next week sees Newhaven make the short trip to the the Crouch to take on local rivals Seaford in the league.
Harry Stewart, Joe McTiffen, Jason Edwards, Barry Knight, Calum Burnett, Tom Mason (c) (Rob Brown), Matt Harrison, Gary Holmes (Tom O’Donnell), Tom Stevenson (Simon Blaxall), Jack Webber, Damian Lambert. Unused sub: Josh Tomkins.