Despite the scoreline both sides will probably be encouraged by this raucous encounter, writes Alex Panton.
Newhaven badly needed a result after a couple of unsettling results, and will be pleased by the way they ground out the win against the opposition and elements. Saltdean, with Wayne Smith back in charge, are pretty much starting from scratch after a desperate campaign thus far, and will take the positives from a display which one would imagine is considerably better than has been seen at Hill Park for a while.
Despite Saltdean taking the lead before half time they never really looked likely to claim the points, but they deserve credit for making the league leaders fight hard in what would have appeared to be a routine fixture. Indeed it was only in the latter stages, with fatigue coming into the equation that the gap between the sides became obvious.
Smith had moved quickly to bolster his squad, with a host of new signings in his line up. Those included Lawrence Edwards, Matt Stephens, Dan Parris and Ash Bailey, who bring with them some much needed experience. Alongside the likes of Leighton Freeman and Elliott Quant that represents a decent starting point to work from.
Newhaven have history of fading in the second half of seasons, and consecutive defeats to Midhurst and Seaford will have had alarm bells ringing.
The first half was decidedly scrappy, with Saltdean getting in Newhaven’s faces, and turning the contest into a battle from the start. Newhaven had most of the ball, but were wasteful with their finishing. That encouraged the home side, who, completely against the run of play, took the lead just before half time.
Quant broke clear on the left and though Jake Buss kept out his initial shot, he was unable to prevent Freeman putting the tigers into the lead.
Stung by this surprise attack Newhaven came out firing in the second half, and soon forced Saltdean onto the defensive.
They soon drew level when Luis Freitas cut the ball back from the touchline to set up a simple finish for Richie Watton.
The force was now with the Dockers, and despite their best efforts there was little Saltdean could do to turn the tide.
Newhaven’s biggest enemy was the heavy pitch, which continually frustrated their attempts to pass the ball quickly.
Not for the first time it was the pace of Lee Robinson which proved decisive. He burst past Matt Anderson and cooly slotted past Craig Salvage to put his side into the lead.
Late goals from Naim Rouane and Robinson increased the margin of victory, but Saltdean had done enough to suggest that there is still hope at Hill Park. For Newhaven promotion remains in sight.
TIGERS: Salvage, Lynch, Anderson (Putland), Stephens, Bailey, Parris (Gilbert), Quant, L Edwards, Freeman, Dine (Cox), Redman.
DOCKERS: Buss, Goddard, J Edwards, Altendorff (Probert), Knight, S Edwards, Robinson, Breach, Watton (Rouane), Forward, Frietas (Jallow).