Newhaven continued their good run of form with a 1-1 draw against title contenders Haywards Heath.
An own goal gave the Dockers an early lead before Heath pulled one back with 10 minutes to go. Both sides were awarded penalties but failed to convert after good saves from each keeper.
The side had an unusual look from recent weeks due to injuries and illness so a number of players were brought in. Luke Duchossoy and Robbie Brown came back in to the side after they decided to come out of “retirement” and youth team players Luke Chatterley and Joss Slowey also gained a rare start.
The Dockers started brightly and were playing the ball around nicely before they took an early lead. Good work down the right hand side by Jack Webber enabled him to get a cross in which Tom O’Donnell failed to convert but was then smashed in the top corner by Heath’s own Scott Baptie.
Heath then came in to the game stronger linking well with the league’s top goalscorer Paul Foskett.
On the 20th minute mark, Heath had a corner which was defended well by the Dockers. The referee’s whistle was then blown and to the shock of both sides, his hand was pointing to the spot.
The referee said he saw an infringement against James Woods who was apparently blocking a player on the line. Justice was done when Harry Stewart pulled off a spectacular save down to his bottom left and kept Newhaven in the lead.
Chances were then few and far between before the half although O’Donnell should have doubled the lead from 6 yards but smashed over the bar.
The second half saw Haywards Heath come out the blocks and they put a lot of pressure on the Newhaven defence. Chatterley was playing well on his debut and made some strong important challenges.
At the other end, Duchossoy was causing problems and should have doubled the lead on the 65 minutes when good work was completed by Slowey on the left hand side who laid the ball nicely in to Duchossoy’s feet, a good turn and short went closely past the post.
The Dockers were getting tired and it was on 75 minutes when Haywards Heath equalised. A driven ball cut between the two centre halves put the striker in a one on one situation, Stewart made another great save before Cook smashed in the rebound.
Minutes later Heath could have made it 2-1 with a great strike which came back of the post.
Newhaven finished the game with a great opportunity, a great run from Woods who beat 3 players continued in to the box and he was brought down just as he went to shoot.
After a long wait due to Woods receiving treatment, Duchossoy stepped up to take the penalty. Unfortunately the same outcome was achieved when Craig Jackson dived correctly and saved low to his left hand side.
Overall a fair result which was a massive achievement for the Newhaven side who had a very changed team. Great effort from the Dockers which gained them another point and took their unbeaten run to 4 games.
Harry Stewart, Matt Harrison, Joe McTiffen, Luke Chatterley, James Woods, Jack Webber, Tom O’Donnell, Rob Brown (Ben Smith), Tom Mason, Joss Slowey, Luke Duchossoy.