Horsham’s hopes of a league and cup double were ended at the penultimate hurdle as Newhaven exerted some quick revenge to book their final spot.
The two sides met for the second time in four days at Haywards Heath’s Hanbury Stadium on Tuesday night in the semi-final of the Peter Bentley Cup.
The Hornets may have edged out The Dockers on Saturday to take a step closer to the Premier Division title, but the East Sussex side hit back in the cup clash to remain in pursuit of more silverware.
Terry Dodd fired the Hornets ahead after just 11 minutes, but Newhaven soon levelled as goalkeeper Steve Phillips, in for the cup-tied James Shaw, gifted the clinical Lee Robinson a leveller nine minutes later.
The Dockers led just past the half-hour mark as a poorly-defended deep cross to the far post was headed back for Olly Davies to tap in.
Horsham had penalty shouts for handball waved away before the break and despite a dominant second half, they failed to break down a resilient Newhaven defence.
Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola said: “We had lots of chances and did not take them. We played quite well and went 1-0 up, but then let in a bad goal and then another bad goal before half-time.
“I said to the boys that we were lacking a bit of fire in our bellies and that two or three were not playing how I know they can play.
“For whatever reason we were a little bit flat. In the second half though, we threw the kitchen sink at them.
“I feel if we had equalised we would have got over the line as we played some really nice football.
“It’s a bit disappointing, but what can you do? We did not perform on the night and good luck to them in the final.
“It’s disappointing to have had such a hard draw all the way through the competition and to not make it to the final. With all due respect they have had fairly easy games, but we just did not get over the line.”
Pamment’s curling effort was palmed away early on and Phillips saved at his near post following a breakaway. Newhaven stopper Jake Buss almost presented Horsham with the lead as he dropped a Pamment cross, only for the ball to roll just wide.
Dodd then showed close control in the box to work a shooting chance and fire past Buss.
Newhaven were soon level as Ryman North side Phoenix Sports’ keeper Phillips put a clearance straight at Robinson, who finished from 20 yards. Dodd struck wide, although appeals that his effort had stuck a hand were waved away.
In the second half it was all Horsham as Pamment had a shot and follow-up effort saved, Dodd’s shot was closed down and Brad Lewis had an effort off the line - but no-one could find the equaliser.
Horsham: Phillips, Storrie (Chadwick), Jones, Farmer, Knee, Pamment, Keehan, Shelley, Boswell (Lewis) Archibald (Smith) Dodd. Unused: Duncan.
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