Newhaven recorded back-to-back league wins for just the second time this season as a Ryan Walton hat-trick saw them beat promotion-pushing Dorking Wanderers 3-0 at Fort Road on Saturday afternoon.
Joint-manager Sean Breach labelled the performance as the best since he and Andy Cook took over and has called for consistency from his Dockers side.
Breach said after the game: “We finally put in a performance that Cooky and I know we are capable of and we both agreed that this was the best performance since we took over in March.
“Three excellent goals and a clean sheet against a team going for the title capped an excellent afternoon for us. It was nice to give Jake Buss the clean sheet he has deserved.”
Newhaven led as early as the second minute. A driving run from Walton – which started in his own half – was ended with a 25-yard pile-driver which beat Wanderers goalkeeper James Shaw low to his left.
The home side went close again when Lee Robinson’s deflected cross hit Shaw’s far post and ran across the goal line, before being grabbed by Shaw just in time.
Wanderers had their best spell during the middle of the first half and had a number of chances to level.
Tom Tolfrey fired over, on the volley, from six yards, before James Duff’s unchallenged run and shot was saved by Jake Buss, with Sean Bradley’s follow up effort drifting wide.
Luke Pidgeon tried his luck from inside the area but saw his fierce drive batted away by Buss, before Bradley fired over after some pinball in the Newhaven area.
But the home side doubled their advantage just before half-time. Callum Connor held off a challenge on the half-way line allowing Jayson Sowter to advance with the ball. Sowter found Robinson who in turn crossed for Walton to head past Shaw for 2-0.
Wanderers, who were unbeaten in eight going in to this game, had another good chance two minutes in to the second half. Duff weaved his way past a couple of Newhaven players before crossing for Tolfrey, who saw his attempt kept out by the foot of Buss.
The visitors’ task was made even more difficult with 25 minutes left to play when substitute Luke Hackett was dismissed for a professional foul on Connor, who had stolen the ball off the defender and was in on goal.
Robinson should have made the game safe when he exchanged passes with Walton, but fired over from a decent position.
Tolfrey had the chance to make it a nervy last few minutes for the hosts, and he would have done exactly that had it not been for Ryan Knight’s crucial goal line clearance with five minutes left on the clock.
And two minutes later Newhaven made the game safe as Walton completed his hat-trick. A swift break down the left saw Ollie Davies’ shot blocked and then headed in to Robinson’s path by Sowter. Robinson found some space before finding Walton’s run and he made no mistake firing his shot past Shaw.
Breach was full of praise for the Newhaven striker: “Ryan Walton was excellent and took his tally to five goals in two games. All three goals were great finishes but his all round play was exceptional.”
Breach continued: “Jayson Sowter put in his best performance in a Newhaven shirt and was absolutely everywhere. Adam Kneller and Ryan Knight were rock solid at the back and young Callum Connor worked his socks off up top – he is developing in to a real player. Every single player put a brilliant shift in.
“The most pleasing thing for Cooky and I was that we have worked really hard in training on certain parts of our game the last few weeks and the lads have taken this all on board and executed this perfectly. We just need some consistency now and I’m sure we can push on from these back-to-back wins.”
Dockers: Buss, D Murray (c) (Edwards), Goddard, Boddy, Knight, Kneller, Robinson, Sowter, Walton, Connor (Bunch), Davies (Lloyd). Unused: Breach, Jallow.