The Magpies travelled to a wind-swept Newhaven with a considered focus upon areas they knew required improvement if the ambitions of the Club were to be realised both for the remainder of this season and certainly for next. Lewis Scally was a late withdrawal from the squad, so Jordan Warren came into the starting line-up and Ed Davies and Reece Batchelor returned to the squad in place of the absent Louis Pittock and Charlie Pitcher who transferred to Hassocks in the week.
Being somewhat against the elements in the first half, the visitors knew they would have to be resolute to combat the somewhat direct nature of their hosts' game-plan. As it happens the first clear opportunity of the match went to the Magpies after Harry Bachelor was neatly put away down the left-hand side in the 16th minute he delivered an excellent cross that Ollie Gill rose well to connect with, but his header went narrowly wide.
Any joy to be had was certainly down the flanks as Bachelor and Tom Frankland on the right were beginning to cause the Newhaven full backs problems as they were dragged out of their narrow comfort zones. Unfortunately, the subsequent deliveries into the box were either well cut out by the covering defenders or narrowly didn't find their targets. Still, the break came with the Magpies buoyed by the work they had put in to repel the home attacks and confident that they would create opportunities themselves.
These hopes were delivered an immediate blow in the second half when Max Bickell, who had linked up play very effectively in the first half, was unable to shake off a knock he received at the end of the first half. Nevertheless, as the game wore on the tiring hosts were beginning to get caught by the swift breaks of their visitors. Bachelor continued to be fruitful from the left and just after the hour cut inside before shooting narrowly wide; and as a concerted effort was made to switch play against the elements to the right, Frankland got more into the game along with the continually overlapping Joe Holvey, who were causing left back Lira to have a torrid afternoon.
With Ross Swaine and Byron Napper now dominant in the middle of the park it looked as though the Magpies were to be the ones to nick a winner and when Bachelor squared to Napper to take aim from 22 yards it took an exceptional (albeit unnoticed) tip-over by Buss in the Newhaven goal to maintain the deadlock. Soon after Matt Daniel got slipped in behind by Gill but he could only shoot straight at the 'keeper. Newhaven sent on Ryan Walton to aid yet further, sizeable target areas for their preferred method of play, but he was unable to trouble a back 4 that was well marshalled by Eddie French and Joel Colbran in the centre and defiantly supported by Holvey and Warren from the full back positions.
Just when it looked as though the stalemate was a certainty, Dave Carruthers (above) in the Magpies goal inexplicable gave up possession from a short goal kick but recovered well to block the resulting effort from Robinson and then see the follow-up go harmlessly wide.
And so, whilst the conditions didn't make for the most enthralling spectacle, there were plenty of positives for the Magpies to take from it as they build for the future and such a performance showed many of the qualities that we as a group know we will need to show more often if we are to achieve our targets and that starts all over again at Littlehampton next week.