The Magpies travelled up the M23 to South London for their FA Vase tie against Croydon FC on a day where the weather was very much out of kilter with that of late.
Whether it was the drizzle, the physical aspect of the opposition or the less than perfect playing surface, the visitors struggled to get a foothold on the game early on and were made to pay twice within the first quarter of the match.
After being denied moments earlier by a brave block from Lewis Scally, Croydon's Karl Douglin opened the scoring in the 19th minute when he met a teasing cross from Tristan Toney that he duly buried from close range. The same man struck again 4 minutes later when Jeff Duah-Kessie escaped the attentions of Eddie French down the right before putting in another telling cross that evaded Scally and left the Croydon number 10 to stab home and double the lead.
This appeared to spark the Magpies into life and they gradually began to get to grips with the conditions that were far from suited to them and made their first chance of any note count when in the 35th minute Byron Napper lifted the ball into the area and new signing Jay Lovett rose to glance the ball on to Sam Beard at the far post who finished well from a tight angle to ensure that the defecit was halved come the break.
The visitor's momentum and obvious greater fitness ensured that the second period saw the football mainly played in the hosts' half. Harry Bachelor in particular was proving threatening in his position now on the right flank, but in Wesley Bartlett he found an opponent who was up to the challenge of the youngster, thwarting a number of promising opportunities. This dogged defending was emulated across the backline and as such clear opportunities to equalise were few and far between.
In the 73rd minute a curling free kick from fully 30 yards by Beard gave the illusion of having found the top corner but it hadn't quite come back enough and only found the side netting with the 'keeper well beaten. 5 minutes later another free kick from a promising position was blasted into the wall by Michael Wood and with 10 minutes to go Toby ouse could only volley straight at the 'keeper when the ball dropped to him 20 yards out.
This was as good as it got for the visitors as they were made to pay for a slow start to the match and as such exited from a competition that they had made good in-roads into in their two previous campaigns.