Newhaven kept a clean sheet for the first time since November as they overcame a plucky Oakwood on Saturday afternoon.
Back-to-back wins in the new year has seen the Dockers maintain their four point advantage over Littlehampton Town, at the top of Division Two, ahead of the sides’ Sussex Senior Cup match on Tuesday evening.
This game was won by a goal in each half from Naim Rouane – the first a composed finish from the edge of the box, and the second from the penalty spot after Richie Watton was fouled by the goalkeeper.
Both teams finished the match with ten men as Watton and Toby Gilbert were dismissed for ‘foul and abusive language’.
When the sides met at Tinsley Lane, in November, the game was over as a contest by half-time, after Mark Probert hit a first-half hat-trick.
This time round, however, it was a much tighter opening 45 minutes. Clear cut chances were at a premium but the best ones fell to the home side.
The deadlock was broken by Newhaven after 20 minutes. Watton flicked on a ball forward in to the path of Lee Robinson. A visiting defender got a foot in but his tackle fell in to the path of Rouane, who finished well in to the narrowing gap between post and goalkeeper.
Watton had a chance of his own but he connected badly with a Rouane cut-back. Oakwood looked dangerous when countering but Jake Buss remained largely untroubled at the interval.
The same story continued in the second half and the hosts doubled their lead ten minutes in.
Oakwood goalkeeper, Jess Grimstone, tried to smother a loose ball but lost grip. Watton was first to it and as Grimstone tried to recover he brought down the Newhaven striker. Rouane stepped up and got his, and the team’s, second goal.
Watton had a great chance to make it three but sent his shot wide, and then with half an hour to play was sent off by referee Bob Minty. The match official deemed Watton to have sworn at him and issued the red card.
Despite the numerical disadvantage the hosts continued to create the better chances. Rouane twice went through down the left but dragged one shot wide, and had another saved well by Grimstone.
Oakwood pushed forward looking for a way back in to the game but were either let down by a final ball or they failed to test Buss.
The frustration of the game was shown by Gilbert who saw red for the same offence as Watton, and Newhaven saw out the remaining time for the three points.
Jake Buss, Daniel Murray, Scott Edwards, Ryan Knight, Jason Edwards (Luis Freitas), Sean Breach (c), Greg Manton (Jason Goddard), Jake Forward, Lee Robinson, Richie Watton, Naim Rouane (Simon Blaxall).