Newhaven kept a clean sheet for the first time since November as they overcame a plucky Oakwood on Saturday afternoon.
Back-to-back wins in the New Year has seen the Dockers maintain their four-point advantage over Littlehampton Town at the top of County League Division Two, ahead of the two sides’ Sussex Senior Cup match on Tuesday evening.
This game was won by a goal in each half from Naim Rouane – the first a composed finish from the edge of the box, the second from the penalty spot after Richie Watton was fouled by goalkeeper Jess Grimstone.
Both teams finished with 10 men after Watton and Toby Gilbert were dismissed for ‘foul and abusive language’.
When the sides met at Tinsley Lane, in November, the game was over as a contest by half-time, after Mark Probert’s first-half hat-trick.
This time round, however, it was a much tighter opening 45 minutes. Clear-cut chances were at a premium but the best ones fell to the home side.
The deadlock was broken by Newhaven on 20 minutes. when Watton flicked on a ball forward in to the path of Lee Robinson.
A visiting defender got a foot in but his tackle fell in to the path of Rouane, who finished well into the narrowing gap between post and keeper.
The hosts doubled their lead 10 minutes into the second half. Grimstone tried to smother a loose ball but lost grip. Watton was first to it and as Grimstone tried to recover he brought down the striker. Rouane stepped up for the his and his side’s second.
With half an hour left Watton received a straight red card by Bob Minty, the referee deeming Watton to have sworn at him.
Despite their man advantage Oakwood were still second best though and frustration boiled over when Gilbert saw red for the same offence as Watton.