Beard: We must find extra quality to start beating top teams

United completed the signing of Alfie Gritt from East Preston earlier this week
United completed the signing of Alfie Gritt from East Preston earlier this week

Mark Beard wants his Loxwood side to find an extra touch of quality to their game and start competing with the division’s top sides.

They suffered a 2-0 defeat to title-chasing Newhaven at Plaistow Road on Saturday - who went third with the win.

It was the Magpies’ fifth Premier Division loss of the season - those defeats have come against Horsham YMCA, Horsham, Eastbourne Town and Esatbourne United.

Beard has ruled out nervousness for their failure to beat the top teams, but told his players they need to add some extra finesse.

He said: “We have got to start winning games against the top sides. Four of the games against them, we have lost.

“It’s maybe changing the mentality when we are playing those bigger teams to get the results. I do not think it is nervousness, it’s that little bit of quality to convert the chances we are having.”

Ebou Jallow opened the scoring for Newhaven with a well-worked set-piece just past the half-hour mark.

Visiting players blocked off Loxwood goalkeeper Sam Smith and Joe Holvey, who was marking Jallow, which allowed the forward to finish.

The Magpies had plenty of half chances, but lacked a real threat to the Newhaven goal, as the away side defended resolutely.

They sealed the win with little over 20 minutes left when Lewis Scally tried to switch the play and the ball hit a Newhaven player in the head and dropped kindly for Connor Jones, who broke to add a second.

Beard added: “It was frustrating. They are a well-organised team with a bit of pace up front. It was one of those games, we pretty much had most of the possession, but could not really break them down.

“We did not really do enough to open them up and they hit us on the counter attack. Sam Smith probably had three things to do all game. It is probably a bit of naïvety, we are a young team and need to learn to kill teams off.”

Loxwood’s match at AFC Uckfield on Tuesday night was called off owing to a waterlogged pitch, while Ollie Gill has been ruled out for six weeks with an ankle injury.

Loxwood: Smith, Courtney, French, Scally, Summerfield, Bachelor (Swaine), Holvey, Cave (Ramsey), Beard, Wood (Pitcher), Nurse.

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