The Magpies travelled to Eastbourne Town's Saffrons home in the knowledge that they had suffered pain late-on in each of the last two seasons and were keen to avoid a similar occurrence. It would be easier said than done though as they squad was heavily depleted by injury and absence to the extent that a number of the matchday squad were far from 100% but to their credit they showed their commitment to the cause.
On a drizzly and afternoon with a firm breeze going straight across the pitch, the conditions weren't exactly conducive to free-flowing football and as such it took some time for either side to put together a move of any note. In fact, the first meaningful effort on goal came from an error allowing Matt Darby to take aim from distance for the hosts, but his drive clipped the corner of post and crossbar and away to safety. It was only two minutes later that the Loxwood goal was under threat again but a driven cross from the right accelerated with the wind and although Brendan Milborrow misjudged the flight across his goal, the pace of the ball gave the arriving Tyler Capon little chance of getting his header on target.
It wasn't until the 17th minute that the visitors had their first sight of goal but Byron Napper's drive was deflected wide of goal and the resulting corner was comfortably cleared. The Loxwood skipper stepped up with a direct free kick five minutes later after Dean Wright was felled, but his effort was straight into the arms of Greg Nessling in the home goal. It was now a very even affair but the hosts were nearly gifted a goal when Eddie French gave the ball away at the back, but he was indebted to Tom Familton with a last-ditch challenge on Liam Baitup to quash the danger.
Chris Cumming-Bart seized on another bit of loose play from the Magpies centre back with 8 minutes of the half left, and although he rounded Milborrow, the angle was ever-tightening and he could only slot the ball into the side-netting. The visitors were riding their luck and that ran out in the 40th minute when Capon broke down the left and his deflected cross found Baitup on the edge of the area who had evaded his marker and as such had time and space to turn before guiding the ball neatly inside the far post to give the hosts the advantage at the break.
The Magpies came out for the second period keen to make amends for the somewhat disjointed end to the previous period and although they imposed some early pressure via set-pieces another bit of casual play at the back was nearly their undoing again as Joe Holvey's ill-advised back-heel allowed Cumming-Bart in at goal but his near-post drive from close-range was well blocked by Milborrow. Ten minutes later parity was restored as a well delivered ball forward by Familton was flicked on by Wright but this time it was the hosts' turn to provide a gift to their opponents when Dan Rogers couldn't sort his feet out quick enough to clear the ball and Gary Pritchard (above) was on hand to take full advantage as he seized on the loose ball and calmly slotted it past the on-rushing Nessling. Moments later the Magpies had an outside chance of turning the game on its head when a deep cross from Michael Wood found Ollie Moore on the far side of the area but his drive from a very tight angle only just went past the far post with Nessling beaten.
Town soon got themselves through their own rocky patch and made their own bid to take all three points, but they were met by some resolute defending, with French and Familton in particular proving to be insurmountable obstacles, to go along with their somewhat wasteful play in the final third. They literally nearly had a hand in their own downfall though when Napper delivered a late corner to the near post and Nessling was relieved to see his unconvincing punch send the ball just the safe side of the post.
The travelling faithful would have been forgiven for fearing history was to repeat itself in the final minute though as Wood was rightfully penalised for pulling back substitute Bright Temba on the edge of the area but inexplicably Alan Foster spared the Magpies' blushes by blazing his crossed delivery way over the bar signalling the end of the game, with a share of the points probably the fair outcome.
All things considered this was a pleasing point for the Magpies to take from a ground where few will leave with more this season against a well organised side who are backed by an exceptional fan-base who were immaculate throughout and topped it off by generously applauding the battling visitors off the pitch.