Lucas Pattenden’s leveller ensured Mitchell Hand started his interim reign as Littlehampton Town Football Club manager with a draw on Saturday.
Pattenden’s goal 24 minutes from time cancelled out Kyle Woolven’s first half effort as Golds bagged a 1-1 home Southern Combination League Premier Division draw with Newhaven.
Hand, whose taken interim charge of Littlehampton following Ady Baker resignation on Boxing Day, was pleased with what he saw from his struggling side in his first game.
Basement boys Littlehampton moved to within four points of place-above Eastbourne United and safety with a game in hand following the draw.
Interim manager Hand praised Golds’ character to come from a goal down and take a point against Dockers.
He said: “There was a buzz around the place and we dominated the game.
“Although I feel we could have nicked all three points, I could not have been prouder of the reaction from the boys.
“Newhaven are a great side and can beat anyone on their day, so all-in-all it was a point gained.
“We did have chances to go on and win it, but so did they, it was a brilliant game to watch.”
Woolven looked lively for Dockers right from the outset and fired his team ahead after 13 minutes. The tricky young winger cut inside, rifling a thunderous shot past returning Golds goalkeeper Jon Hendrick.
Dockers missed a great chance to double their advantage, with Littlehampton breaking and levelling from the next attack.
Pattenden was the man to finish off the quick counter, getting Golds back on terms.
Both teams had chances to win it in the final 20 minutes but it finished 1-1.
Grant Thetford - signed from Horsham YMCA - and Jack Newhouse - joining on loan from Horsham - were both handed debuts in the draw with Dockers.
Goalkeeper Hendrick has also been brought back but Hand was especially impressed by Thetford’s performance in his first game for the club.
He added: “I’m so confident with the group we’ve got and I’m always looking to add more quality to the squad.
“Grant (Thetford) was fantastic for us. He assisted the goal and his ability to find a killer pass is something hard to find, so I’m delighted to have him in the side.”
Hand has also bolstered his management team as Julian Curnow has joined Golds as a coach.
“Julian is arguably our best addition as of yet,” Hand added.
“His experience and all-round character really lifted the place on Saturday.
“Along with Steve (Tabor) and James (Askew), if I was to play, I’d happily leave the matchday stuff to them.
“If the boys continue to play as they did against Newhaven, I don’t think I’d get in the side anyway!”
LITTLEHAMPTON TOWN: Hendrick; Chaplin, T.Bromage, O’Hagan, Bell; Garnham, Ball, Thetford; Newhouse, Cole, Pattanden. Subs: D.Hand (Newhouse), Sparks (Garnham), Sharp (Ball).