The Magpies went into their home match against Newhaven looking to make amends for their somewhat impotent display versus Broadbridge Heath on Tuesday night in the League Cup and there were just two personnel changes with Jay Lovett and Matt Daniel coming in for Eddie French and the injured Jon Dollery.
A close game overall was expected from two sides that went into the game alongside each other in the table, but it was definitely the visitors that started the brighter, with Elliott Wood particularly threatening as the Dockers applied consistent waves of pressure, but a lack of composure at key moments meant that the chances that were created were wasted, although in the 15th minute Harrison Hilfiker had to be at his best in the home goal when he made a splendid save to maintain the stalemate.
From this The Magpies began to build and 4 minutes later Charlie Pitcher managed to find some space before letting fly but Jake Buss in the Newhaven goal did very well to tip it over the bar and in the 25th minute he nearly made amends by sneaking in behind the back line but couldn't quite convert the opportunity. The hosts were starting to dominate proceedings with some positive, interlinking play, but Lewis Scally nearly undid that work with an under-hit back-pass that Hilfiker did well to reach ahead of the onrushing striker with just over half an hour gone. Scally almost immediately caused some damage at the right end but his effort didn't pack the punch required to beat Buss.
On 39 minutes Mark Cave recycled the ball from a set piece on the left and delivered an excellent cross that somehow neither Pitcher nor Clyde Jacques beyond him could make contact with to steer the ball home. This moment was to prove costly as just moments later the Dockers hit against the run of play when the long serving Ryan Walton struck to give the visitors the lead. Despite this setback there was time for a further opportunity to be created for Pitcher but to no avail and so the Mapies went in trailing at halftime.
Pitcher was involved immediately on the other side of the break to when he rose well to meet House's cross but his header came back off the bar with Buss well beaten and the hosts remained on the front foot from this effort. Lovett and Byron Napper (above) were holding a grasp on the centre of midfield and ensuring that Newhaven were left to feed off counterattacks as the majority of the play was firmly in their half. Lovett himself had a couple of chances, most notably from an excellent ball by Joel Colbran, but his volley skewed just wide of the right hand post. Pitcher also had opportunities but the clearest was thwarted by a heavy touch that gave Buss the opportunity to smother the ball.
All the good work was undone with 20 minutes to go though after Cave was harshly adjudged to have committed a foul on the flank (and was also booked for it), Seb Saunders delivered a deep cross that found Wood at the far post who smashed home a right-footed volley to double the visitor's advantage. This appeared to knock the stuffing out of the hosts and although they pressed hard to try and at least restore parity, they naturally left themselves exposed at the back in the process and somewhat inevitably they were sucker punched again in the 81st minute when Lee Robinson rode his luck on the break to force home a third and with it secure the points for Newhaven.
All credit to the visitors for being the far more prolific in front of goal and as such deserving the points, however the score-line doesn't tell the full story of the match and the Magpies will take heart from the positive play they produced as they go to league leaders Shoreham on Tuesday in the County Cup. Team: Cave, Colbran, Daniel (Jee 78), Hilfiker, House, Jacques (French 61), Lovett, Napper, Pitcher, Scally & Wood (Enticknap 82) Lacey & Son Man Of The Match: Byron Napper