Paul Harrison said Newhaven’s opponents were flattered by their winning 3-1 scoreline in the Dockers’ opening day defeat to Worthing United on Saturday.
Jason Rutherford and Lloyd Saunders’ side prevailed against Harrison’s men in the Fort Road outfit’s long awaited return to the top flight of the county league.
The hosts’ goals came from Grant Philpott (28), Ryan Bradley (55) and Titus Paterson (60), and saw them to victory, despite Mark Probert giving Newhaven early hope with a seventh minute opener.
Harrison said: “We didn’t deserve to 3-1, no way never.
“The first half – the first 20 minutes – we bossed it and they couldn’t get close to us. We missed a penalty and that changed the game.
“It would have been a lot different had it been 2-0.”
Harrison said the step up to the county top flight was definitely a factor after the club’s promotion from division 2 last season, although he felt his players were not far from reaching the levels they needed.
“They (Utd) were physical but also fitness levels are a little bit higher in div 1. We have got to be a little bit fitter, stronger and quicker. “But we’re not far away.
“I’m more than happy with the squad that we have got. “We performed against a side that is supposed to be going for the top three or four. I’m confident in our lads. We’ll hold our own.”
The Mavericks were given a top flight reprieve despite finishing bottom of division 1 last season, but Harrison said the new-look side was one to watch for this time out. “They have taken a lot of Lancing’s players as well as some other clubs’.”
Newhaven take on AFC Uckfield in the second round of the John O’Hara League Cup today (Saturday).
A number of former Oaks players are in the Dockers side following the break-up of Kevin Laundon’s AFC team last season. “They’ll be looking forward to it,” said Harrison. “They’ll want to make a good show against their old club.”