Newhaven Reserves finished their season at a sunny Fort Road on Saturday against third placed Haywards Heath.
A tightly contested match ended two a piece as the Dockers came from two goals down to secure a well deserved point and finish the season on a positive note.
Two goals from Jack Webber cancelled out a dubious first half penalty from Adam Wright and a well placed goal from David Williamson early in the second half.
As ever there were changes to the team with skipper Paul O’Donnell returning to the team after his stint in Afghanistan. Barry Knight returned in midfield and Ben Smith gained his first start of the season.
Newhaven started the brighter of the sides and had an early shout for a penalty turned down by the referee when Webber was clearly fouled in the box. Heath then had a goal chalked off for a foul on Harry Stewart.
Newhaven looked threatening going forward and enjoyed a lot of possession in the early exchanges. Webber had a goal disallowed for offside and was again flagged for offside when through on goal.
Paul O’Donnell then made a fine last ditch tackle when the Heath striker looked destined to score.
Heath grew into the game and it became end to end with both sides shooting from distance but with no success and the hard pitch and swirling wind making the game difficult.
On 36 minutes Heath forward Paul Foskett broke the Newhaven back line and went over under pressure from Harry Stewart with the ball rolling out of play. For the second successive match the referee pointed to the spot at the Dockers disbelief.
Adam Wright stepped up and sent Harry Stewart the wrong way to give Heath a 0-1 lead. Newhaven almost drew level before the break when a header was cleared off the line by the Heath defender with the help of the crossbar. HT 0-1.
Newhaven came out fighting in the second half and went on the offensive straight away. An early opportunity arose when Tom Stevenson got in behind the Heath defence and the squared ball was well cleared by the Heath back line.
Minutes later Newhaven made a carbon copy of the chance this time from the other flank where Smith beat the full back but the cross was not converted. Webber had another goal disallowed for offside and the home side had yet another disallowed from a corner for a foul on the keeper.
Then against the run of play on 49 minutes Heath broke into the Newhaven box but as play broke down David Williamson pressed the Dockers defence and won the ball back before making himself some space and firing the ball into the bottom corner to give Heath a 2 goal lead.
The Dockers responded immediately and Stevenson’s cross found Knight on the edge of the area and his first time shot was well saved by the Heath keeper.
The 0-2 lead was not to last long however as the direct play from Newhaven got the pacey Webber in behind the defence and he outpaced the two centre backs and struck a shot from a tight angle into the back of the net.
The game again became very open with the Heath striker firing over from distance and then their best chance was well saved by Stewart when one on one. Heath were forced to withdraw Keeper Craig Jackson on 75 minutes due to the injury picked up after Newhaven’s first goal.
Shortly after Barry Knight had a great header into the bottom corner superbly saved by the stand in keeper who tipped it round the post.
The stand in keeper followed this save with one even better from a direct Sam Leppard free kick that he did superbly in keeping out again.
However the Dockers did finally grab an equaliser in the last ten minutes when Fenton Boaks played a long ball over the top which Webber ran onto and beat the Heath back line and then calmly lifted the ball over the advancing keeper into the back of the net.
The final chance of the game fell to Heath as they broke free and sent a fizzing ball across the 6 yard box that fortunately was not converted.
A deserved draw for the Dockers helped them to finish the season on 30 points. Final league position to be confirmed as other matches left to play.
Harry Stewart, Joe McTiffen, Fenton Boaks, Paul O’Donnell, Calum Burnett, Harrison Cullinane (Luke Chatterley), Barry Knight, Sam Leppard, Tom Stevenson, Ben Smith (Joss Slowey), Jack Webber. Unused sub; Andy Cook.