Eastbourne United 1-2 Newhaven (HT 1-1)
Lee Robinson (44, 90+3)
A last minute winner saw Newhaven keep the pressure on the leaders and earn a hard fought three points at Eastbourne United.
Eastbourne started the game well and initially had Newhaven on the back foot, however despite their start Eastbourne were finding it hard to break the Newhaven rear guard and Jake Buss was fairly untroubled in the Dockers goal.
Gradually Newhaven were growing into the game and finally the front three began to see a bit more of the ball and apply some pressure to Eastbourne’s defence, however the first half was certainly not one to linger long in the memory as both teams struggled to create many meaningful attacks, although in fairness the pitch was not helping the spectacle either.
With 10 minutes of the half to go there was finally some goal mouth action, Kyle Woolven’s step over gave him the space to cross to Lee Robinson at the far post, Robinson took a touch but could not quite apply the finish before the Eastbourne keeper crashed through him, penalty appeals were waved away and Eastbourne managed to hack the ball clear.
A few minutes later, Eastbourne were awarded a free kick deep in the Dockers half, the ball was crossed in and flicked on before being poked home at the far post to give the hosts the lead, 0-1.
Newhaven’s response was immediate though, a nutmeg from Woolven gave him the opportunity to drill the ball low into the Eastbourne area where the ball deflected into the bottom corner via Robinson’s toe as he raced into the box, 1-1.
So a scrappy half came to an end with the scores level.
Newhaven almost found themselves in front in the first minute of the second half, an Eastbourne defender attempted to head the ball back to his keeper but could only head straight to Robinson who lifted the ball over the keeper and but also the goal.
Another chance came and went for Newhaven shortly after, Woolven released Robinson down the right and he in turn cut the ball back to Tristan Jarvis, but his shot was blocked and looped over the bar.
Newhaven were now slightly edging the second half and the better chances were falling to the Dockers, the next opportunity came when Jarvis’ free kick was bundled in by Lukas Franzen-Jones but the assistant referee’s flag ruled the goal out for offside.
Tom Cooklin then went on a tricky run down the wing but his low shot was comfortably saved by the Eastbourne keeper.
It looked like the points were going to be shared, but deep into injury time a Newhaven free kick to the far post found Matt Gunn who squared the ball invitingly across the six yard box, it seemed to take an eternity for someone to put the ball away but eventually Robinson (who else?) was there to tap in to give the Dockers a last gasp winner, 2-1.
Not the best match or performance you are ever going to see, but they do say that top teams find a way to win even when not at their best.
Next up, the Dockers welcome Langney Wanderers on Saturday.
Newhaven: Jake Buss, Freddie Beale, Ian Robinson, Harry Docherty, Matt Gunn, Robbie Keith, Naim Rouane (Seb Saunders 80), Tristan Jarvis, Lee Robinson, Lukas Franzen-Jones (Ryan Knight 85), Kyle Woolven (Tom Cooklin 75).
Unused Subs: Rhys Smith, George McCarthy
Booked: Harry Docherty, Tristan Jarvis
Officials: Luke Chapman, Stuart Ramsey, Paul Wenham