(Courtesy of Sussex County FA)
It was a cup upset to remember in the Sussex Senior Challenge Cup Second Round as a defiant Newhaven came from behind to beat Whitehawk on Wednesday night.
Currently third in the Southern Combinations Football League, Newhaven were the clear outsiders going into the game, with Whitehawk occupying the same spot in the Isthmian South East Division.
Indeed, the opening few minutes saw the Hawks look to stamp their authority on the game, with their first chance coming just seven minutes in.
A corner from Charlie Harris was sent into a crowded Newhaven box, and had to be dealt with by Demas Ramsis to avoid the ball going in off the post.
The pressure from the home side continued, with Newhaven keeper Roman Chiosa called into action when Hamish Morrison’s 25-yard strike was sent his way and needed palming over the bar.
But as the first-half went on, Newhaven clearly started to grow in confidence, with Marcin Ruda and Ramsis linking up well, ending with Ramsis getting his shot away, which was just cleared off the line by the Hawks’ Harry Shooman.
Yet Whitehawk continued to look threatening going forward, with Jerson Dos Santos receiving the ball in the box, but his shot was expertly blocked by a sliding in Max Vardy.
However, with just over five minutes to go before half-time the Hawks were finally rewarded for their first-half pressure, thanks to a well struck free-kick from Harris, who’s curled effort just evaded a diving Chiosa.
The second-half continued in much the same vein as the first, with both teams looking equally dangerous going forward.
It was Whitehawk who had the first effort of the half, with their goal-scorer Harris firing in another long-range effort, but this time Chiosa was equal to it.
But no sooner had Chiosa sent the ball long for Newhaven, than they got themselves level, thanks to half-time substitute James Rhodes, who’s darting run into box saw him pick up the ball in a bit of space, and slot the ball past goalkeeper Dan Purde, on his first start for the Hawks.
Galvanised by the equaliser, the visitors went up another gear on the hunt for the second, with Whitehawk quickly finding themselves on the backfoot.
And with just under 60 minutes on the clock, Newhaven had turned the game around, thanks to a well worked goal from Lee Robinson, who received the ball from Ryan Blunt, and placed his shot into the bottom left corner.
With a 158 strong home crowd behind them, the Hawks straight away were on the hunt for their second goal.
However, Chiosa in the Newhaven goal was determined not to be beaten again, with Joe Shelley’s header on 68 minutes tipped over the bar.
The Hawks next best chance came once again from a header, this time the ball came to captain Rob O’Toole whose effort was steered goalward but was kept out yet again by Chiosa.
A nervy final 10 minutes then ensued, with Newhaven captain Henry Watson rallying the team together to shut out the persistent Hawks attack and ensure they saw the game out as winners.