A 98th-minute Mark Cave penalty saw Loxwood edge out Horsham YMCA 2-1 in the first round of the Sussex Senior Cup at Gorings Mead tonight.
Late drama deep in the seventh minute of injury time saw Michael Wood brought down by YM’s Dan Evans when he had got goalside of the defender and through on goal.
Cave dispatched the winner into the right corner in what seemed an over-played time added on, with YM left to rue missed chances after they had the better of the second half.
Neither side were at their best in front of goal on a wet surface that seemed perfect for playing flowing football - but after a competitive first half where Ollie Gill levelled up a Dave Brown free-kick - the second turned into a little bit of a damp squib until the late action which saw Loxwood clinch their ninth straight win.
The hosts started well on the pacy sodden surface and a deep Dean Carden free-kick from the left was met by a towering header from Dan Pollard, which sailed just over the bar.
Two minutes later, Dave Brown was allowed the skip down the wing and he cut into the box, wrong-footed Joe Holvey, before putting a low effort across goal and narrowly wide.
Loxwood reminded the hosts of their counter-attacking prowess just a minute later as quick feet in the box by Gill saw him earn a yard and then ping his effort off the outside of the right-hand post.
Back at the other end on 17 minutes, Sam Schaff cut back to Anthony Hibbert and he tried to hang his effort into the top corner, but Sam Smith comfortably collected.
Simon Lockwood was then called into action a minute later as he peddled backwards to tip a Gill header over the bar after Wood’s cross.
On 26 minutes, Sam Beard latched onto a wide pass on the left and tried to pick out Cave on the stretch on the penalty spot, but he couldn’t connect properly under pressure from Pollard.
Dugdale fired wide from outside the box after a good following move down the right, while Brown then headed a hanging ball past the onrushing Smith, but watched it drop wide of the left-hand post.
The lively winger then provided the opener seven minutes before the break as he curled into the bottom-left-hand corner with what was a daisy-cutter from just outside the box on the right of the D.
Just five minutes later the visitors found themselves level as after a good run a step-over from Gill to the right of the box saw him get goal side and finish comfortably past Lockwood to deservedly level.
A couple of wrong decisions in the final third and misplaced passes cost the hosts when they had worked themselves into good positions at the start of the second half.
After some stoutly defending from both sides the first real chance fell to YM on 61 minutes as Hibbert slide in Dave Brown down the right and his angled effort fizzed over the bar.
The Magpies had penalty shouts waved away on 68 minutes as Wood went under a challenge in the box, before YM then broke and Dave Brown fed substitute Dan Sullivan on the right, but he fired wide of the post.
In one of Loxwood’s limited chances in the second half, Holvey was fed down the right and picked out Wood, but he turned wide of the post.
Two minutes before full-time Wood nearly nipped in to pinch it for the Magpies, but Lockwood was alert to clear, and after corners at each end in added time, it was Loxwood that would win it with the late spot-kick.
Horsham YMCA: Lockwood, Carden, Gathern, Pollard (Crane 60), White (D.Sullivan 64), Dugdale, Gedling, D.Brown, Hibert (Hunter 64), Schaaf. Unused subs: Wood, Fox.
Loxwood: Smith, Holvey (Simpson 90), French, Scally, Courtney, Summerfield, Richefond,Gill (Swaine 71), Beard, Cave, Wood. Unused subs: Gee, Pitcher, Coles.
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