A busy week for the Magpies off the pitch meant that they came home after 3 weeks away buoyed by three new signings, although only Ollie Moore was registered in time to make the squad and he was the only change to the starting line-up that faced Littlehampton seven days earlier as he replaced the unfortunate Tom Frankland. The returning Michael Wood took his place amongst the substitutes, as did Lewis Scally, who had missed the last two matches.
With ambitions for the remainder of the season well founded within the squad, and being directly at odds with the visitors' beliefs, as aired in the local press this week, the Magpies were looking to make a swift start and could have been ahead after just 16 seconds when Byron Napper slipped the ball into Tiago Andrade, who rolled his marker well, but he dragged his resulting shot wide of the far post. Despite this start, it was only 2 minutes later that Arundel served a warning of their threat in the final third that at times would bely their lowly position in the league. Lee Motershead seized on some loose play at the back but he couldn't keep his shot from the edge of the area beneath the crossbar. Straight from that miss the hosts went down the other end enabling Joe Holvey to put in a cross from the right that picked out Moore at the back post and although he chested the ball down expertly, his volley was well blocked by Mullets skipper, Lloyd Walker.
Loxwood were a little off the pace in possession in the early exchanges, particularly in their own third, and this nearly cost them in the 6th minute when the ball came to Harry Russell on the edge of the area, but he could only scuff his effort and the ball ran harmlessly wide. Three minutes later the visitors carved out another good chance as Dion Jarvis weaved through a couple of challenges on the right before squaring the ball to the unmarked Russell, but he wasted the opportunity again, this time firing straight at Dave Carruthers in the home goal. Asa Nicholson was presented with a similar opportunity in the 15th minute, but again the strike was straight at the 'keeper, and although this time it was fumbled, Carruthers was adjudged to have been fouled in the challenge for the loose ball.
These warnings in quick succession did appear to spark the hosts into life and moments later Andrade linked up well with Harry Bachelor and set him free with a neat back-heel but the midfielder could only shoot straight at James Fernandes in the Arundel goal, who fielded it comfortably. 5 minutes later, the dynamics of the game were shifted as Moore robbed Walker of the ball and was clear through on goal, but the visiting skipper duly stopped him in his tracks and correctly received a straight red card for his efforts.
Now down to ten men, the Mullets set themselves up to be solid down the centre of the pitch, sacrificing a significant presence on the flanks, and looking to hit their hosts on the counter-attack. To their credit, they managed the reshuffle very well and aside from a shot from Moore that clipped the outside of the post, they restricted the Magpies to very little until just before half-time. With 2 minutes of the half to go, Joe Holvey received the ball just outside the area after a recycled corner and shot across goal but was denied by Fernandes' parry, but the ball went straight out to Moore who's instantaneous shot took a deflection off Robert Lofting forcing Fernandes into a much more impressive save to ensure parity at the break.
After a half-time talk focussing on raising effort levels but remaining patient, the hosts didn't have to wait long for another sight of goal as pressure from the kick off enabled Andrade to find some space for himself but his shot was well blocked by Scott Tipper. This quality of resolute defending was maintained by the Mullets for long periods in the second half, so much so that they restricted the Magpies to very little and, keen to get men forward on the break, they could have taken the lead just after the hour when Jarvis cut in from the right before bending an effort towards the far corner, but Carruthers was swiftly across to push the goal-bound effort away and the danger was averted.
As time wore on and the hard-working visitors began to tire on what was a warm afternoon, gaps were eventually beginning to appear in and around the Arundel third of the pitch. In the 67th minute an accurate cross from Jordan Warren picked out Moore who laid the ball off to Andrade but he shot wide of the near post and just three minutes later a forthright run from Joel Colbran set up Moore, but his curled drive flew just over the bar. Moore and Andrade continued to link up well, but the final finishing was continually lacking with Moore side-footing straight at Fernandes and Andrade's shot moments later being deflected over. The game entered the final ten minutes with concern growing that the breakthrough may not arrive, but they were soon allayed when the forward pair combined again but this time Moore stepped inside Tipper before placing his shot across Fernandes and into the bottom corner sparking scenes of relief.
A couple of minutes later, the lead could well have been doubled when Ed Davies drove in off the left flank but his drive across goal just evaded the far post. With the game entering added-on time, substitute Scally was so nearly in on the goal-scoring act when his shot from 20 yards took a wicked deflection, and with all seemingly paralysed by the change of direction, the ball narrowly spun wide of the post. The visitor's perilous position in the table meant they had to take some risks and with only moments left they could have snatched a point when Russell broke down the left before squaring to the on-rushing Tipper, but the hard-working centre back, who'd sprinted the length of the pitch to support, couldn't keep his shot down and that signalled the end of the action in a match where the hosts were made to work very hard by a stubborn Arundel side that are certainly fighting to remain in the division.