Littlehampton Town vs Newhaven

19 September 2015
Score: 1 - 2

Match Report

Littlehampton Town 1-2 Newhaven (HT 1-1)
George Landais PEN 45; Lee Robinson 30, 80

Newhaven remain unbeaten in the Southern Combination Football League Premier Division after a goal in each half from Lee Robinson saw them win 2-1 at reigning champions Littlehampton Town on Saturday afternoon.

It was the Dockers’ fifth straight win in all competitions and the victory sees them close the gap on early leaders Lancing to just two points, with a game in hand.

Newhaven joint-manager Sean Breach was unhappy with his side’s first half performance but was pleased to win with his team not at their best.

“Cooky [Andy Cook, joint-manager] and I were delighted with the win, mainly as we knew we were fortunate after starting very poorly and were lucky to go in level at half-time,” said Breach.

“Littlehampton were much the better team in the first 45 minutes and could have been out of sight. They were first to every first and second ball and we were all over the place. We just couldn’t get a grip on the game.

“The second half was much better from our point of view and we had a few decent chances to take the lead, and although we still weren’t at our best they didn’t really test Bussy in goal. It was looking like a draw until Robbo popped up with the winner with ten minutes to go.”

The home side’s attack on the Newhaven goal started as early as the second minute when Jake Buss had to tip over Brad Curtis’ powerful free-kick from the edge of the box, after Conor Sidwell has been harshly adjudged to have handled the ball.

Barely a minute later the hosts’ Dean Janman rifled a shot from 30-yards that rattled Buss’ crossbar and bounced down before being cleared to safety by a relieved Dockers defence.

The woodwork was struck again after ten minutes when Curtis flicked a Mitchell Hand free-kick on to the post and two minutes later the same player dragged a shot wide when one-on-one with Buss.

The visitors soaked up all the pressure, and, with their first proper foray in to the opposition half, managed to take the lead.

James Rhodes’ twice taken free-kick by the halfway line found the run of Robinson, who coolly slotted through the legs of goalkeeper Jordan Matthews.

Going behind didn’t stem the flow of the home side’s attacks and the goal frame was shaking again when last season’s top scorer George Landais skimmed a shot against the crossbar.

Curtis was again thwarted by Buss when well positioned but the home side were given a lifeline on the stroke of half-time.

Landais latched on to a Ryan Bell pass in behind and was through on goal. Ryan Knight chased down the striker and, despite minimal contact, he threw himself to the ground. Referee David Philp, who won’t have fond memories of the match, pointed to the spot and Landais picked himself up to convert the penalty.

The second half was a different story, with the hosts lacking the same penetration as the first.

Town captain Danny Hand was lucky to stay on the pitch just two minutes in to the half after his clear stamp on Robinson was missed by all three officials.

The Dockers changed a couple of things with Ollie Davies replacing Ryan Walton and Robinson being moved up top. During the next 15 minutes Robinson saw two efforts from the edge of the box saved by Matthews, and one kept out by the chest of Town goalkeeper having been gifted the ball in the area.

But with just ten minutes left to play Newhaven regained the lead. Ollie Davies’ pass over the Town defence sent Robinson away and he took a couple of touches before driving his shot across Matthews and in to the back of the net.

Two minutes later the visitors’ task was made slightly more difficult when Sidwell was sent off for his second bookable offence of the game.

Despite the numerical disadvantage the Dockers reduced their hosts to very little. The match ended on a sour note when Town centre-back Ross McKay was sent off for a late challenge on Buss, which saw a coming together of players from both sides and three more booked for their part in the melee.

“We aren’t going to play well every week but it’s a very good sign to not be at our best and win, especially away from home against the champions,” added Breach.

“I know they’ve had a change in management and lost some players since last year but they are still a very good team and with players like Mitchell Hand, Brad Curtis and George Landais, it’s only a matter of time before they start creeping up the league again. So to come away with 3 points is a great achievement.

“I’m not usually one to criticise officials, and if we had lost I probably wouldn’t say anything. However, I must say that I was very disappointed with the three we had today. I’ve looked back at many incidents of the game and the standard of their decision making was very poor.

“They have given a penalty to Littlehampton just before half time that was extremely soft. The lad has over hit his touch and gone down easily, but to be fair to him he hasn’t really claimed for it. Then Robbo gets clearly stamped on and we didn’t even get a free kick! Conor’s second yellow was harsh and their lad who gets sent off at the end was very unlucky.

“Cooky and I are big on discipline and we don’t want to be known as a team who pick up yellow and red cards each week but it’s getting more and more difficult not to when referees are so keen to dish them out for such minor things.

“But enough on the officials. I don’t want that to overshadow a fantastic win that keeps us unbeaten in seven and on a very good run. We have some big games coming up so having momentum this early in the season is important and we move on to the next game.”

Newhaven: Jake Buss, Conor Sidwell, Scott Edwards, Jayson Sowter, Ryan Knight, Adam Kneller (c), Lee Robinson, James Rhodes (Harry Eyre), Callum Connor (Craig Bunch), Ryan Walton (Ollie Davies), Joe Dryer. Unused subs: Lukas Franzen-Jones, Ebou Jallow.
Booked: Kneller, Sidwell, Sowter, Dryer, Davies
Sent Off: Sidwell

Attendance: 70
Officials: David Philp, Mark Lidbetter, Mark Spence