Loxwood's clash with Broadbridge Heath a great advert for the SCFL Premier
A bumper crowd of 178 at Plaistow Road witnessed an entertaining and end-to-end game of football that saw Heath take local bragging rights over the Magpies.
Loxwood, who named six debutants in their squad, went into their game with the fourth-placed Bears having not played since December 18.
Heath created two early chances before the hosts started to control the game. Loxwood debutant Scott Faber saw his effort well kept out by keeper Liam Matthews before the Bears stopper tipped Adrian Todd’s rasping drive over the bar.
And the Magpies’ pressure was rewarded on 31 minutes. Faber put Joey Wealthyland through on goal and the Loxwood player made no mistake.
But the Magpies’ lead was short lived. Straight from kick-off, Heath broke and Mason Doughty shot under the advancing keeper to level the score.
The second half saw the local rivals go toe-to-toe with each other. Both sides forged chances, and Loxwood’s Tom Bold and the Bears’ Alfie Jones led an intriguing midfield battle.
Broadbridge Heath hit what proved to be the winner on 52 minutes. Louis Blake sent Jamie Taylor away and the Heath striker made sure with a low shot that went in off the post.
With 20 minutes remaining, Taylor was put through on goal but the Magpies keeper stood his ground and got his hand to the striker’s effort.
Daniel Skett came diving in to clear but ended up colliding with the post and hurting himself.
Loxwood began applying pressure, and in the dying minutes Matthews made a terrific save to keep Fender’s dipping effort from finding the back of the net.
The defeat leaves the Magpies third-from-bottom in the table. The Plaistow Road outfit sit six points clear of place-below East Preston and have a game in hand.
“You would never have known that both teams were at opposite ends of the table.
“I was pleased with the performance of the team, especially with so many debutants. We showed such togetherness and you could see that they were enjoying their football.
“Its been a tough season so far and this performance is something to build on.
“It was great to see my son, and Loxwood’s number one fan, walk out with the team for the first time since Covid.
“It’s now onwards and upwards for the Magpies.”
Loxwood host sixth-placed Pagham