A second-half Richie Watton goal was enough for Newhaven to beat winless Loxwood at Fort Road on Saturday afternoon. The victory maintains the Dockers’ 100% home league record and keeps them second in Division Two.
The only goal of the game came mid-way through the second-half when Watton pounced on a defensive error and fired under Adam Kollar. The visitors had strong claims for a penalty waved away and a late header was well saved by Graham Leach.
It had been 11 days since Newhaven’s last fixture, after the match at Oakwood was postponed due to a problem with their facilities. Two changes were made from the side that lost to Lancing in the John O’Hara Cup.
Freddie Beale, due to serve a suspension after the game, returned to the starting line-up in place of the injured Ryan Knight. A reshuffle in defence saw Beale go to right back, and Daniel Murray join Scott Edwards in the centre of defence. Dave Altendorff, returning from injury, replaced Mark Probert in midfield. Probert joined Luke Duchossoy, Jason Goddard, Fenton Boaks and Paul O’Donnell on the bench.
Newhaven started the game well, getting in to a number of dangerous positions and putting the visitors on the back foot. Lee Robinson whipped a couple of decent crosses in to the box that needed attacking, and Beale found Walton with a deep cross – but the striker’s header hit the post and went wide.
The hosts were defending well at the other end and reducing Loxwood to very little. A couple of shots from the visitors were dragged wide of goal.
Towards the end of the half Watton played a ball over for Robinson to run on to. Robinson touched the ball past Kollar and was brought down by the away goalkeeper, to the right of goal and about 20 yards out. Robinson’s next touch would of been a shot at an empty goal, but referee Steve Walker decided a yellow card was harsh enough punishment. The resulting free-kick came to nothing.
The second half was as tight as the first. Again Newhaven edged the play but were failing to create anything meaningful.
Duchossoy replaced Walton to try and freshen up the attack, and on 65 minutes Newhaven found a breakthrough. A forward pass from Beale wasn’t cleared properly and the ball fell for Watton to hit first time, low past the dive of Kollar.
Loxwood pushed forward, looking for an equaliser, and had claims for a penalty turned down by referee Walker. A corner in to the box was headed towards goal by Asa Pearson, but Beale was on hand to clear off the line. The visitors claimed for handball but Walker decided it was shoulder.
With time running out Leach produced a fantastic one handed save to preserve Newhaven’s lead. Phil Awcock crossed from the left and found the head of Matt Merridew. The ball looked destined for the net but Leach got a hand to it and pushed it away to safety.
Newhaven saw out the remaining time and held on for a fifth win out of six games back in Division Two.
Graham Leach, Freddie Beale, Daniel Murray, Scott Edwards, Jason Edwards, Sean Breach, Dave Altendorff, Lee Robinson, Naim Rouane (Mark Probert), Richie Watton, Ryan Walton (Luke Duchossoy).