Newhaven overturned a 3-0 half-time deficit to earn a point in a 3-3 draw at Loxwood on Saturday afternoon.
The hosts were on a good run of form and were unbeaten in their previous six games. And they looked set to add to this by flying in to a 38 second lead via their captain Eddie French, who headed in from a corner. Tim Martin and Gary Pritchard then added two more in a disastrous start for the Dockers, who seemed to lack quality and desire and found themselves 3-0 down at half-time.
Joint manager Sean Breach said: “It’s the worst performance I have seen for some time and we were just not at the races. We had to change formation due to player unavailability but this had no bearing on the attitude of the players. Very strong words were had at half-time and, to be fair to the lads, they probably played the best football I’ve seen this season in the second half.”
Lee Robinson scored a great solo goal, finishing from 25-yards on 50 minutes, which he could have added to ten minutes later when he was one-on-one but his effort hit the crossbar. Scott Marshall also hit the woodwork before Ryan Knight was fouled in the area which resulted in a spot kick. Craig Bunch took his goal tally to 5 in 4 and the Dockers were back in the game.
Knight then hit the crossbar before a double substitution was made by Newhaven, who introduced Ryan Walton and young striker Callum Connor. And it was these two players who combined for the equaliser with Connor poking home ahead of the Loxwood keeper on 85 minutes. Unfortunately Newhaven’s momentum came to a holt when Marshall was sent off for a second yellow and the game ended 3-3.
Joint manager Andy Cook finished by saying: “It’s fair to say we were awful first half and I really couldn’t see us turning it round but the lads were given a few home truths at half-time and the response in the second half was nothing short of magnificent. We are gaining a bit of a reputation for entertaining, however, we all know we must stop conceding poor goals.”
Dockers: Buss, D Murray, Knight, Marshall, Sidwell (Edwards), Kneller, Robinson, B Murray, Bunch (Walton), Geer, Sowter (Connor). Unused: Breach, Goddard.