Newhaven FC Reserve Manager Andy Cook looks back at an inconsistent 2012/13 season.
“The Reserves had a mixed season which started very well but was then badly hampered by a 7 match losing run either side of Christmas. This was then salvaged by a long unbeaten run from February onwards including a fine cup run.
“The Reserves kicked off the season with two resounding home victories against Sidley (5-2) and Westfield (6-0). Another home match against local neighbours, and early favourites to win the league, Peacehaven, followed at Fort Road. A hard fought contest ended up with the Dockers narrowly losing 1-2 but put in a good performance to show an early indication they could be one of the stronger sides this season.
“However, inconsistency started to creep in when an early exit at West Chiltington in the first round of the Sussex Intermediate Cup was followed by a first round Vernon Wentworth cup win at the expense of East Preston from the Reserve Section Premier.
“The first Saturday in October saw the Dockers play yet another home fixture in the league. Hailsham made the trip to Fort Road and left empty handed as the Dockers recorded a comfortable 3-1 victory and maintain their top 4 position.
“However this positive start to the season was about to hit an inconsistent period of win, lose, win, lose as a comprehensive Friday night defeat the following week at home to Little Common (2-4) was followed by a long trip to Loxwood in the first round of the Reserve Section Cup and a fine 3-2 win after extra time including a last minute equaliser in normal time.
“Lifted by this result the return trip to Hailsham in the league looked good for 3 points but again an indifferent performance resulted in a 1-0 defeat.
“Bexhill at home in November proved to be the Reserves last victory (3-1) of 2012. A run of three defeats followed in the Vernon Wentworth cup versus Southwick (aet) and the league v Little Common and Shoreham ended the calender year on a disappointing note.
The New Year brought renewed optimism however further defeats at the hands of Westfield, local rivals Seaford, Southwick and Bexhill brought the Dockers Reserves to their lowest point.
“Then one of the matches of the season was a short trip to neighbours and league leaders Peacehaven. With form against the Dockers a monumental team effort saw them return to Fort Road with 3 points after two goals from Simon Blaxall gave them a 2-1 victory.
“This proved to be the kickstart to the second half of the season and further victories against Southwick, AFC Uckfield (by default), Rye (Reserve Cup) followed, as well as a creditable draw at Haywards Heath.
“With a cup run in full swing the next opponents were Reserve Section Premier Eastbourne Town in early April. A cracking game at Fort Road was completed with a last minute winner from Jack Webber (3-2) to put the Dockers in the Quarter Finals against Hassocks.
“The Dockers warmed up for this match with a crushing victory over Seaford at the Crouch (6-0).
The trip to Premier league leaders Hassocks was the Reserves 5th game in 12 days but an end to end game just saw the Dockers edged out 6-4 in extra time after taking the lead three times in the match.
“The last three games of the season brought two draws and a defeat and saw the Reserves finish the season with 30 points.
“Overall a frustrating season with much promise at the start and finish but badly affected by a mid season slump.
“This just gives the boys more determination to put that right next season and the potential is there to do well and achieve the aim of promotion from the Reserve Section East division.”
Final Results (All competitions): W13 (45%) / D3 (10%) / L13 (45%)
Full list of results from the season can be found here.