Eastbourne United manager Paul Daubeney was singing the praises of new signing Billy Trickett after a hard-fought victory against Littlehampton.
United recorded only their third win of the season thanks to a first half strike from midfielder Jamie Bunn.
It capped a decent display from United who were made to fight all the way for their three points from their physical opponents.
Boss Daubeney said, “It was not pleasant game and if I’m honest they were not a nice side to play against. But we got the three points and we were glad to get that one out the way.”
The yellow card count reached five with two players from Littlehampton booked and three from United. Lee Jules, Tony Russell, who has just returned from a lengthy suspension, and Lee Oliver all made the referee’s notebook.
But it was new signing from Little Common Billy Trickett who caught the eye in midfield with a powerhouse performance.
Daubeney said he dominated the centre of the park and was a key figure in the victory.
The United boss added, “Billy has made a tremendous difference, he ran the show out there and it was an awesome performance.
“He and Peter Featherstone have made a big difference to the side. They have added a bit of quality and experience.”
It took United a while to find their stride on a hot afternoon at the Oval. The visitors had the better of the early exchanges but never really tested Adam Sargent in the United goal.
The all important breakthrough came on 26 minutes. Veteran striker Nick Barden rose well in the box to nod a long ball back into the danger zone and Bunn was on had to fire home from six yards after a goal mouth scramble.
Littlehampton had a big appeal for a penalty when Sargent clattered into an on-rushing attacker on 30 minutes as he went to clear the ball. The appeals were long and loud from the visitors but referee Phil Surliss waved play on.
Ollie Lee missed a chance to extend the lead when he headed wide and in the second half substitute Russell missed a golden chance to make the game safe but side-footed weakly at the keeper.
But United held on and battled for the full 90 minutes in the searing October heat to claim a deserved three points.
Daubeney added, “We had chances to make it more comfortable but we didn’t take them. It could have been three or four.
“I think if we had Peter Cooper available we would have finished them off much earlier and made it more comfortable.
“But I’m delighted with the win and pleased for the lads. They worked hard.”
UNITED: Sargent 7, Lee 7, Jules 7, Featherstone 7, Hughes 6, Bunn 7 (Stracey), Lee 6, Trickett 8, Holles 6 (Smart), Bateman 6 (Rusell), Barden 7. Mom: Billy Trickett- powerful midfield display
Ref: Phil Surliss. Att: 62