Newhaven dropped home league points for the first time this season as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Mile Oak on Saturday afternoon.
Both goals came in the last ten minutes of an uneventful game. Firstly Naim Rouane fired a left footed shot past Aaron Stenning, then five minutes later Rickie Mitchell’s fierce strike went in off the crossbar as both teams had to settle for a point each.
Newhaven made three changes to the team that started against Loxwood a week ago. Jason Goddard replaced the suspended Freddie Beale at right back and Mark Probert returned to the team in midfield, replacing Dave Altendorff.
Luke Duchossoy came in for Ryan Walton on the left, meaning Rouane started in the lone role up front. Altendorff and Walton had to settle for places on the bench, alongside Ryan Knight, Tom Turner and Ash Foord.
Before the game kicked off there was a minute’s silence in memory of Newhaven fan Mick Richards. Mick sadly passed away, aged only 48, during the previous week, and the silence was observed impeccably by everyone in the ground.
An official attendance of 176 made it the biggest crowd of the County League season so far.
They would of been disappointed, however, with a first half that never came to life. Lee Robinson had Newhaven’s best chance when he got on the end of a Rouane cross, but his header sailed over the crossbar.
Graham Leach had to be at his best to keep out a drive from the edge of the box that bounced up at him at the last minute.
Richie Watton glanced a free-kick wide, Sean Breach had a shot easily save, and the visitors saw a couple of efforts drift off target in an otherwise forgettable first 45.
Unfortunately the second half didn’t improve and both teams were reduced to long range shots.
It wasn’t until the 80th minute that the deadlock was finally broken. Just as they had done a week before against Loxwood, Newhaven had found a second half breakthrough.
Rouane picked up the ball out on the right and cut in on his favoured left foot. His shot from the edge of the box wasn’t the cleanest of strikes but an unfavourable bounce deceived Stenning and found the back of the net.
It looked as though the Dockers were heading for another 1-0 win but Mile Oak had other ideas. And just five more minutes past before they were level again.
A corner from the right was headed away, to the edge of the area where Mitchell was waiting. Mitchell hit a first-time, left-footed volley that flew in to the goal, off the underside of the bar.
The game then opened up for the last five minutes, with both teams looking for a winner, but it didn’t come and a point each was a fair result from the game.
Graham Leach, Jason Goddard (Ryan Knight), Daniel Murray, Scott Edwards, Jason Edwards, Sean Breach, Mark Probert, Richie Watton (Ryan Walton), Lee Robinson, Naim Rouane, Luke Duchossoy (Dave Altendorff).