Horsham are through to the third round of the Parafix Sussex Senior Cup after battling past Southern Combination Premier side Newhaven in extra-time.
It was the third time in four years that the Hornets had faced Newhaven at this stage of the competition, but the two-division gap between the sides was narrowed thanks to a difficult playing surface.
With 49 league places separating us from our SCFL Premier hosts, the difference in quality was clear from the outset yet the match was marshalled fairly by the man in the middle.
Kieron Pamment, Chris Smith and Lee Harding all had chances saved in the opening exchanges and the early pressure paid off after ten minutes.
After a near-post effort from Harding was palmed away, an unmarked Will Miles powered in a firm header from Pamment’s resulting corner to break the deadlock for the away side.
Eight minutes later, Harding came close when he latched on to an over-the-top pass from Harvey Sparks, cutting inside with ease and shooting through a defender’s legs as his strike spun wide.
The Dockers worked their first true chance after the break when Ebou Jallow struck from distance, but George Bentley easily caught his effort.
Harding failed to convert from Smith’s smart cross while Alex Kelly was unfortunate not to double the Hornets lead on the hour mark after a deflected strike clipped the inside of the left post before rebounding off the other, failing to cross the line.
Miles was unable to notch his second when his flicked effort towards goal was kept out while Jake Buss was called into action as he acrobatically blocked Steve Metcalf’s stunning strike.
The Hornets spurned another chance to put the game to bed after Smith curled wide and their wastefulness proved costly as the Dockers took the match into extra-time with a stoppage-time equaliser.
A Newhaven free-kick was swung in from the left which prolific goalscorer Lee Robinson, who had come on just seven minutes earlier, promptly stabbed in from close-range to the subdued delight of the home fans.
Forced into settling for an extra half-hour, the Hornets came out firing from the restart and quickly retook the lead.
A corner into the box sparked mass panic amongst the Dockers defenders as the ball eventually squirmed out to Gary Charman. His mis-hit effort fell to Joe Shelley who smashed in.
The hosts soon imploded as an unlucky Mo Diallo received a second yellow card with manager Sean Breach enraged by the decision as he too was shown a red card.
With both shown their marching orders, the Hornets made the most of their one-man advantage in the second half of extra time when Sparks fired in a deflected shot to seal the Yellows passage into the next round.
Photos below by John Lines