Newhaven progressed to the 2nd Round of the Parafix Sussex Senior Cup after a nervy 3-2 win at struggling Saltdean United.
The game was looking comfortable for Newhaven at half-time and they went in to the break 2-0 up, thanks to goals from ex-Tiger Ebou Jallow and Naim Rouane.
But the hosts regrouped during the interval and got back on level terms through Elliot Quant and Leighton Freeman. Richie Watton, another former Saltdean player, got the winning goal after pouncing on a goalkeeping error.
The teams, separated only by goals scored last season, have had contrasting fortunes at the start of this. Newhaven currently sit top of Division Two, while Saltdean are languishing at the bottom with only a solitary point so far. But, with this being a local derby cup match, it was never going to be simple.
Newhaven made four changes from the side that beat Broadbridge Heath on Saturday. Matt Harrison and Ryan Knight replaced Freddie Beale and Daniel Murray in defence, Watton came in for Sean Breach and Jallow started on the left in place of Gary Holmes. Beale, Murray, Breach and Holmes were joined on the bench by Jason Edwards.
The first half was largely dominated by Newhaven, with Jallow opening the scoring for the Dockers around the 20 minute mark. A corner was dropped by the home goalkeeper, Mark Probert squared the ball across the goal-line and Jallow was on hand to tap home against his old side.
Watton, Rouane and Lee Robinson all had good chances to extend the lead but were thwarted by the Saltdean stopper. Robinson also sent a header wide after a scramble in the United box.
The hosts did fashion a couple of chances but some wild finishing let them down when it mattered.
Newhaven doubled their advantage five minutes before half-time. Rouane received the ball outside the area and smashed a left footed shot, low to the keeper’s right, that this time he could do nothing about.
The Dockers started the second half sloppily, not being allowed to play by Saltdean, and were punished eleven minutes in. A Quant corner was lost in the light by Graham Leach and he couldn’t keep the ball from crossing the line.
Probert had a header saved but the goal gave the home side extra impetus, and seven minutes later they were on level terms. Freeman turned in the box and hit a low shot that evaded Leach and nestled in the corner.
It was the wake-up call Newhaven needed, and they went close when Jallow shot narrowly over and Watton had a curling shot tipped round the post.
With 15 minutes left to play the visitors got themselves back in front. A Goddard free kick was dropped at the feet of Watton who had an empty goal to tap in to and restore the Dockers’ lead.
Saltdean had a late chance when a deep cross in to the box was headed over. But Newhaven saw out the time and now move on to the second round, where they will play Littlehampton Town at home.
Graham Leach, Matt Harrison, Scott Edwards, Ryan Knight, Jason Goddard, Mark Probert, Dave Altendorff, Richie Watton, Lee Robinson (Freddie Beale), Naim Rouane, Ebou Jallow.