Newhaven returned to winning ways as they beat struggling Saltdean United 4-1 at Hill Park on Wednesday evening.
The Dockers put their mid-season blip behind them as they dominated for large periods against a much changed Tigers team from the one beaten in the Sussex Senior Cup back in October.
As for Saltdean, that is now 17 consecutive league defeats since the opening day draw against Midhurst and Easebourne, and they find themselves 10 points adrift at the foot of the table.
Despite creating a number of chances Newhaven went in at half-time behind, Leighton Freeman the first to react to a loose ball two minutes before the break.
The visitors continued to press in the second half and goals from former Tiger Richie Watton, two from Lee Robinson and one for substitute Naim Rouane eventually sealed a comfortable victory.
Luis Freitas and Jake Forward were two debutants in an otherwise unchanged Newhaven starting line up. They replaced Ebou Jallow and Rouane who had to settle for places on the bench, alongside the returning Mark Probert, Freddie Beale and another new signing in Greg Manton.
The match was one of only three County League games to be played due to the recent wet weather. The pitch was boggy but there was no standing water so the game got the go ahead.
However, despite the playing conditions, Newhaven were passing the ball around well, keeping possession and creating chances.
Dave Altendorff cut-back for Robinson but he was denied in front of an empty goal by a last ditch tackle. Watton had a shot kept out by Craig Salvage and Forward also had an effort comfortably saved by the Saltdean goalkeeper, from the edge of the box.
Lawrence Edwards, a Newhaven player until only recently, tested Jake Buss with a well hit free-kick and the rebound was cleared to safety.
Back up the other end, Robinson, after pressuring the home defence in to a mistake, found himself through one-on-one but he got his attempt all wrong and missed the target by a distance.
The home defence also dealt with a number of corners and free-kicks in to the box and with the half nearing an end they took a surprise lead.
A Newhaven attack broke down and Elliot Quant was sent away down the host’s left hand side. Quant ran in to the box and had a shot saved by Buss but the loose ball was pounced on by Freeman, who fired home, and Saltdean had an advantage to take in to half-time.
The second half began in the same fashion with Newhaven on top. Freitas and Robinson swapped wings to mix things up and the change paid dividends as the visitors got a deserved equaliser, just before the hour mark.
Freitas was played in down the right and squared for an unmarked Watton who had the easy task of scoring from 2 yards out.
Shortly after Jallow replaced Freitas as the Dockers pushed for the lead. Sean Breach had a well hit shot tipped behind by Salvage and from the resulting corner Ryan Knight fired over from close range.
It looked like possibly being ‘one of those nights’ for Newhaven, until, with 15 minutes to go, they found a breakthrough.
Forward played in Robinson, who had switched back to the right, and he advanced towards Salvage before calmly slotting past the Saltdean stopper.
Rouane and Manton were introduced for Watton and Altendorff as Newhaven now looked to see out the game. The Dockers, however, weren’t happy with two and with a couple of minutes of normal time remaining they scored a third.
Jallow attacked the Saltdean right back and darted in to the area, towards the goal-line, before squaring for Rouane, who couldn’t miss from close range.
Three became four shortly after as Rouane fed Robinson who placed a shot, left-footed, past the exposed Salvage and the Dockers ran out 4-1 winners.
It was the best way to start a new year that will see Newhaven continue their quest for promotion and look for progress in three cup competitions.
Jake Buss, Jason Goddard, Scott Edwards, Ryan Knight, Jason Edwards (c), Sean Breach, Dave Altendorff (Greg Manton), Jake Forward, Lee Robinson, Richie Watton (Naim Rouane), Luis Freitas (Ebou Jallow).
|Dave Altendorff||Yellow Card|