The Reserves exited Cup competition at the hands of Littlehampton for the second time this season as they bravely went down 3-1.
Due to the Intermediate Cup 3rd round tie against Littlehampton being postponed twice in recent weeks, the fixture was switched to St Flora Sportsfield.
Two early first half goals and a third just before half time proved too much for the Dockers to come back from despite making a gallant effort. Chris Geer scored for the second consecutive game to reduce the arrears before half time but further goals did not follow.
Due to midweek unavailability there were changes to the squad from Saturday. Fenton Boaks, Shaun Tait and Calum Burnett returned to the squad as Matt Harrison, James Holman, Nigel Mayo, Ben Robertson and Ian Robinson were missing.
Littlehampton started with a very strong line up which was a lot different to the team which the Dockers played in the Reserve Section cup a couple of weeks ago.
The strength of the home side was evident from the kick off and they immediately applied the pressure playing at a high tempo and looking very strong in attack.
Within the opening fifteen minutes it was 2-0. The first goal came when Tait tried to guide the ball out for a goal kick but was robbed and the cross found Sam Blundell who scored from close range. The second followed shortly after when a cross wasn’t dealt with and the ball eventually fell to Alex Kew who scored.
A poor start from the Dockers point of view but they gradually played their way back into it and began to play neat football through the midfield as chances were created. Webber was played in by Geer but as he brushed off the last defender he shot off balance and the shot went wide. Stevenson had a long shot which was easily dealt with and Geer went close with a strong mazy run.
The third killer goal came just before half time when the home side broke quickly and ran through the Dockers defence but as Bradford palmed the shot away it fell kindly for Dan Simmonds who made it 3-0.
However this wasn’t the end of the action as Geer picked up a loose ball in the middle of the park and worked himself some space before letting go with a dipping shot that went into the top corner for a fine goal (3-1).
The second half was an even contest. The Dockers continued to compete well and pressed down the slope. Numerous corners were won and Jones was unlucky not to score when his header was deflected onto a post.
Webber went close with a cross shot and Geer continued to pick up good positions. Burnett replaced Low, and Slowey came on for the inured Blaxall with 25 minutes to go. Jones and Boaks continued to push up the flanks from their full back positions and Mctiffen had a strong game in defence.
Tom Bradford made two good saves to keep the score at 3-1 but with time running out and tiring legs it was looking a tall order to get back in the game.
With seconds remaining a hard tackle on Markakis looked dangerous and studs up and as the referee blew for a free kick an altercation between the defender and Markakis resulted in a yellow card for the defender and a straight red for Markakis. An unsavoury and unnecessary end to an entertaining match.
Newhaven: Tom Bradford, Connor Jones, Fenton Boaks, Joe McTiffen (c), Steve Low (Calum Burnett), Shaun Tait, Simon Blaxall (Joss Slowey), Tom Stevenson, Chris Geer, Panos Markakis, Jack Webber. Unused subs: Barry Knight, Paul Whitmore
Sent Off: Markakis
Referee: Barry Myers