Newhaven sealed their return to senior football in the most dramatic fashion on Saturday when they pipped local rivals Saltdean United to the County League Division Three title on goals scored.
A season-long exciting title race came to a fittingly thrilling conclusion when Newhaven beat TD Shipley 2-0 away while Saltdean could only draw 1-1 draw at Uckfield Town – meaning both teams had finished their campaigns on 70 points and with a plus 62 goal difference.
However, the Dockers had scored 94 goals over the league season while the Tigers could ‘only’ manage 88.
It was an incredible end to what has been a fascinating season in Division Three – with Newhaven, Saltdean and Pease Pottage all leading at some point during the course of the year. Only three points separated those teams come the end of the season, which tells you how close the fight for the title was.
Newhaven’s game was all but won by Newhaven in the first half. Ryan Knight gave the visitors a 13th minute lead when he powered in a header. Luke Duchossoy doubled the advantage a few minutes later with a placed left-footed effort, after a great through-ball from Dave Altendorff.
TD Shipley came to life in the second half but Newhaven went closest to a goal when Steven Dixon diverted a cross on to his own post.
Newhaven manager Paul Harrison had the luxury of naming an unchanged starting line-up. The only change to the squad from the previous week’s win at Forest, saw sub goalkeeper Luke Vidler replace Aaron Blackwell on the bench.
Saltdean could only draw after Ben Mitchell put Uckfield Town ahead 10 minutes before half-time. Dan Smith’s 48th minute leveller was not enough for the Tigers.