An epic end to end Reserve Section Cup quarter final at the Beacon eventually saw red hot favourites Hassocks win a very close encounter in extra time.
Newhaven took an early lead through Harry Millar and held out until just before half time when Nathan Miles equalised. Another early goal in the second half this time from Simon Blaxall was followed soon after by another goal from the striker to give the Dockers a solid lead.
However, goals from Neil Kane and Nathan Cooper brought Hassocks level again. The drama was not over when Ryan Knight headed in a corner in the last ten minutes only for Hassocks to equalise again before the final whistle with Miles on target for his second of the match.
Two further goals from Miles in extra time sealed it for the Robins who are the current holders of the cup.
The drama began early in the evening when an enforced change shortly before the start of the match saw Tom Stevenson replace Harrison Cullinane in the starting line up. Ryan Knight made his comeback from recent injury and Dave Altendorff came into midfield as per his last appearance in the previous round.
The match was only just underway when Tom Stevenson threaded a delightful throughball for Luke Duchossoy who clipped the ball over the onrushing keeper. With the defence running back to clear Harry Millar beat them all to it and tapped into the net (0-1).
With the winds at their backs the Robins applied pressure on the Dockers defence but the 4-5-1 formation stood strong until 5 minutes before the break when the Dockers conceded possession high up the pitch and were punished on the counter attack with Nathan Miles shooting past Harry Stewart to make it 1-1.
Half time gave the Dockers a chance to regroup and reflect on a match that they had every chance of winning and with this renewed confidence they took all of two minutes of the restart before Blaxall bravely headed in a Millar through-ball when the keeper looked favourite to gather (1-2).
Newhaven continued to press and 2 became 3 when Blaxall was played through by skipper Tom O’Donnell. He bustled the centre back away and shot low and hard from the edge of the area into the bottom corner (1-3).
The Dockers felt they should have had a penalty when Blaxall was chopped down from behind in the area but the referee pointed for a corner.
Harry Stewart was then called into action tipping shots round the post and over the bar. Barry Knight replaced the injured Calum Burnett and an enforced change for Hassocks saw Neil Kane introduced and it wasn’t long before he scored to make it 2-3.
With their tails up the Robins equalised with ten minutes to go when Nathan Cooper headed home from a corner.
That was not the end of the drama as shortly after Newhaven took the lead again when an O’Donnell corner was emphatically headed in by Ryan Knight to make it 3-4.
But the lead could not be kept and a header at the other end from Miles made it 4-4 with minutes left on the clock.
And so the game went into extra time and almost immediately the Dockers had the ball in the net again when Harry Millar calmly volleyed over the keeper from Blaxall’s cross but it was deemed offside.
With many tiring legs and minds the game was very stretched and just before half time of extra time Miles pounced again for his hat trick.
The Dockers now pushed everything forward but could not create that golden chance and with the last kick of the game and everyone pushed up Miles scored his 4th and Hassocks’ 6th to finish it 6-4.
A gallant effort by the Dockers and against unbeaten Premier league leaders was not to be underestimated. Although disappointed the game was not won when taking the lead three times the side can take many positives from the evening.
Harry Stewart, Joe McTiffen, Jason Edwards (Fenton Boaks), Ryan Knight, Calum Burnett (Barry Knight), Tom Stevenson, Harry Millar, Tom O’Donnell (c), Simon Blaxall, Dave Altendorff, Luke Duchossoy. Unused subs: Jack Webber, Luke Chatterley.