The Magpies may not have had the run of results they've wanted over the past few weeks, but the quirks of the fixture schedule meant that the boys from The Nest were afforded 2 weeks off from match action and combining that with some intense work on the training field gave the squad a sense of a new beginning and that's exactly how they approached Saturday's match against a team that have enjoyed some decent results of late.
After recent false starts at home it was some comfort for the shoe to be on the other foot this time around as only 90 seconds in visiting 'keeper Lewis Boughton grossly misjudged coming out to meet a Ross Swaine through ball and amidst the ensuing confusion the ball found itself at the feet of Harry Bachelor who calmly slotted into an empty net from just inside the area to give the Magpies the lead. Unfortunately, this gift of a platform wasn't built upon by the hosts and bit by bit the Mullets gained a foothold in the game although they weren't offering any threat to the goal.
They did get on terms in the 19th minute though, with the Magpies repaying the charity that was on offer earlier. A corner was delivered to the edge of the six-yard area where Byron Napper rose, but unfortunately not quite high enough to clear the ball and instead his glanced header looped the ball over home 'keeper Sam Smith and softly into the far corner. It could have been even worse for the hosts three minutes later when Dion Jarvis was afforded a run at goal, but his resulting shot was blazed over. Smith came to the rescue in the 36th minute showing good reactions to turn away Shane Brazil's shot when through on goal and all of a sudden, the hosts were looking to the break to regroup. As it happens they could have snatched the lead in stoppage time when a neat move saw Tiago Andrade slip in Bachelor but he fired over at the near post rather than go across the 'keeper.
The Magpies looked far more settled after the break and took control of the game just 6 minutes into the half when a sweeping move saw Ollie Moore and Napper combine for the latter to slip the ball to Andrade, who held off his marker to coolly slot the ball into the far corner, giving Boughton no chance. Just after the hour mark, Michael Wood was cruelly scythed down by Elliot Dollner just outside the area. Napper stepped up to deliver a viciously curling delivery into the area, which Andrade managed to get his head to, but his glanced effort went narrowly wide of the far post.
Five minutes later the hosts conspired again to let their visitors back into the match. Jarvis got around Ross Swaine on the left and delivered a low cross that Smith could only parry straight to the grateful feet of Luke Richards who duly prodded home from 6 yards. Both sides were now looking to seize 3 points and as such the game began to open up. With 15 minutes left Brazil fashioned an opportunity for himself but again couldn't keep the shot below the crossbar. It would prove a costly miss.
With just 10 minutes left, Andrade did well to recycle an attack by pulling the ball back to Wood, who stepped inside before firing goalward. His effort flew through Dollner's legs and with Gary Pritchard in close vicinity Boughton didn't commit to the dive and the ball found its way into the far corner to gain the lead for the third time. Napper had an opportunity presented to him to extend the lead when Boughton fumbled the ball but he couldn't keep his effort down under pressure from the floundering 'keeper and his defenders.
Arundel so nearly clawed it back one final time in the second minute of injury time when Richards got onto the end of another cross from the left but Eddie French got across to do just enough to put the tall striker off and his guided effort went harmlessly wide and with that went the last meaningful chance of the game and the Magpies secured the three points that keeps them in touch with the top of the table that appears to be getting more congested as each week passes.