Loxwood got their competitive season off to the perfect start and made history in the process with a 1-0 victory at Erith & Belvedere FC. The win was The Magpies' first ever in the Emirates FA Cup after losing on their debut this time last year and means that they now advance to a home tie against Arundel at 15:00 on Saturday 20 August.
Given the rewards on offer and with it being the first compeititve match of the season for both sides, it was an understandably edgy start to the game with any opportunities that were fashioned being too tentative to actually test either 'keeper. Conscious of not being the ones to make the first mistake, it was in all a first half to forget aside from one burst by Tom Summerfield into the area where he went down, but the challenge that up-ended him was considered to be fair.
However, that wasn't the case in the 61st minute. Summerfield evade three players as he sped into the box again, but this time the challenge from the covering centre back was penalised and the spot was pointed to. Having been so prolific in front of goal throughout pre-season, Mark Cave stepped up to take the kick and confidently slotted it into the bottom right-hand corner, evading the despairing dive of The Deres' 'keeper who had guessed correctly.
The hosts were now compelled to be more attacking and with that the visitors were able to find more space in their own attacks. As such they created clear opportunities, most notably for debutant Adam Williams and Harry Bachelor, but neither chance was taken, wit the latter coming back agonisingly off the upright.
The last 10 minutes saw the pressure grow on The Magpies' goal with numerous long throws and corners being won from the increased territorial advantage. However, the fortitude of the defensive effort meant that the numerous goal-mouth scrambles saw a number of last ditch challenges and goal-line clearances that frayed the nerves of all those in attendance.
Nevertheless, the full time whistle eventually game and with it drew to a close a professional and disciplined display that all concerned could be proud of, and with it advancement to the Preliminary Round on 20 August where the Club will host Arundel in the first ever Emirates FA Cup tie to be played at Plaistow Road.
Team: Bachelor, Cave, Colbran, French (c), Jacques, House (Jee, 68), Napper, Smith, Summerfield (Scally, 80), Swaine (Penfold, 60) & Williams Subs unused: Enticknap, Haulkham, Hilfiker & Wood