The Magpies were back at Plaistow Road on Saturday looking to arrest a run of three straight defeats as well as to correct a run of keeping just one clean sheet in the previous 10 matches, and through a disciplined performance they did just that.
There were four personnel changes to the starting line-up: Harrison Hilfiker came in for his second start of the season in goal, replacing the injured Sam Smith whilst Eddie French, Toby House and Rhyan Ramsey (above) replaced Tom Atkinson, Lewis Scally and Adam Williams.
As it happens it was the visitors that were faster out of the blocks, keen to stop a run of losing all 6 of their league matches since returning to this level following relegation from Ryman Division 1 South. As early as the 4th minute Reilly Grant found himself in space to hit a fierce drive across Hilfiker, but the young stopper did well to parry the effort safely away. 9 minutes later Harry Bachelor softly lost the ball in his own defensive third and Marcus Richmond was on had to drive forward and test Hilfiker again, but his effort was well smothered. Byron Napper did have a snap-shot from a short corner in response, which was saved low down at the near post by the impressive Jordan Hawkins in the Peacehaven goal, but from this the next clear opportunity again fell to the men from the coast. A swift break down the right enabled the visiting skipper, Josh Marshall, to shoot from the angle of the penalty area but again Hilfiker was equal to the task, turning the effort behind for a corner.
Finally the hosts were stirred into action and after winning a free kick Napper's accurate delivery found Jay Lovett and his towering header across goal found Toby House, but his close-range volley was well saved by the scrambling Hawkins. Napper was at the heart of the action again in the 28th minute when his ball through found Ramsey in space on the left but his effort went wide of the far post. He would make amends only 7 minutes later though when after Clyde Jacques had risen well to cut out an attack and head the ball into the path of Sam Beard, the youngster quickly released Ramsey over the top and he calmly lifted the ball over the 'keeper to open the scoring, although Hawkins very nearly recovered to prevent it.
The visiting 'keeper was called into telling action three more times before the break. Firstly he denied House in the 43rd minute, although Chris Billins covering back nearly undid the good work when he headed against his own post as he tried to knock the ball to safety. Two minutes later Beard cut in from the right, but his left footed shot was easily gathered and just before the half time whistle House got away down the right and delivered a ball in to Napper but he was again thwarted. Amidst all that, Richmond did have an opportunity to equalise for the visitors on the break but his effort was straight at Hilfiker.
The Magpies nearly doubled their lead straight after the break when a well delivered corner by Ramsey caused carnage in the box. Michael Wood did exceptionally well to fashion an over-head kick amongst it all but it was straight at the awaiting 'keeper. In the 52nd minute Harry Bachelor was booked for persistent fouling, abot which there could be little argument and soon after Peacehaven had their only real threatening move for the rest of the match when substitute Connor Wilkins exchanged passes from a free kick before advancing and driving at goal from 20 yards, but it whistled just wide.
Only moments later the game was effectively sealed for the hosts when Beard put Bachelor away down the right channel. The young midfielder cut in past the covering centre back before squaring to the supporting House who swept the ball home into the far corner to double the lead with his fourth goal of the season and deflate the visitors as early as the 60th minute.
The hosts freshened up the attacking unit with Mark Cave and Zach Haulkham replacing House and Bachelor and the two new boys combined almost straight away in the 67th minute to put Wood in space on the left from where he cut in well but his right footed shot was straight at Hawkins for one of his more comfortable saves of the afternoon. Three minutes later Beard delivered a swift, deep cross from the left and Ramsey did well to retrieve it beyond the far post before cutting the ball back to the on-rushing Napper, but the Loxwood number 8 couldn't keep his shot down and the ball blazed into the trees. The resulting goal kick was poorly executed by the visitors and Beard robbed the defender before driving into the area where the advancing Hawkins appeared to bring him down but the referee adjudged the challenge to result in only a corner despite the fervent protests to the contrary.
Beard was now dictating play and in the 85th minute he found Cave with a racking cross-field ball, who in turn fed Wood who's shot on the turn couldn't provide the goal that the forward's overall play on the day certainly merited. Beard did manage to blot his copy book with only 2 minutes to go when a rash challenge was correctly punished with a booking. There was still time for one last Loxwood offensive though. Cave did well to break down the left in the final minute and he delivered a fine cross to find Wood at the far post but his effort from an ever-tightening angle was blocked and that proved to be the final meaningful action on an afternoon that saw a back-to-basics mentality employed that delivered a much needed boost following the disappointment of recent weeks.