Horsham edged into the semi-finals of the Peter Bentley Cup with a narrow 2-1 victory against Loxwood at Plaistow Road tonight.
In a tightly-contested derby, it was the Hornets that booked their spot in the last four where they will face Newhaven.
A 78th-minute winner from Evan Archinbald saw the Magpies exit the competition after the sides had turned around level at 1-1 at half-time.
Kieron Pamment poked Horsham ahead on seven minutes, before the hosts deservedly levelled through Mark Cave just past the half-hour mark.
Loxwood rested all of their younger under-18 players with one eye on Thursday’s Dennis Probee Youth Cup final, while an injury-ravaged Horsham, juggled their side with one eye on Saturday’s top-of-the-table league clash with Eastbourne Town.
It was an end-to-end and well contested first half, although clear-cut chances were limited at either end.
An early half chance saw Harry Smith’s dangerous cross fly untouched across the Loxwood goalmouth and out to safety.
The visitors did lead two minutes later as Kev Keehan’s effort from 25 yards swerved in the air, causing Loxwood stopper Sam Smith to parry and Pamment raced in to tuck away the follow-up.
Loxwood’s Charlie Pitcher then flashed over the bar after a neat Ryan Richefond touch put him in after Charlie Farmer failed to clear the ball.
Smith was also alert to tip a Pamment corner to safety which looked to be dropping under the bar straight from the set piece.
Loxwood then got into the game and looked to break quickly down the flanks, but came up a strong backline marshalled by Ash Jones which limited their chances at Williams.
The equaliser did come on 31 minutes after a bit of a scramble and, although, Alex Duncan looked to have cleared the danger after taking the ball of Cecil Jee’s toe, it fell to Cave, who riffled into the roof of the net.
Horsham captain Joe Shelley replaced the injured Jones at half-time and within seconds of the half, Smith raced out of his area to tackle Archibald’s promising break.
With Shelley out of position, Pitcher drove towards the Horsham box, but skewed wide when he should have slipped Richefond in on the right.
Former Horsham midfielder Byron Napper then came on to feature against his old side in what was becoming a battle of attrition.
In one of few limited chances, Ryan Storrie came across to try and clear a long kick from Smith, which saw the ball eventually fall to Richefond, whose goal-bound effort was cut out by a flying block from Duncan.
At the other end, a neat move between Farmer, Keehan and Adam Hunt saw Smith drive across the edge of the box before going down, while the ball found its way to Brad Lewis, whose curled effort was held by Smith.
Play became more fractious with a series of fouls and players and benches spending more time complaining about 50-50 decisions.
But Horsham netted the eventually winner with 12 minutes left as Hunt’s ball put Archibald away on the right and he smashed high past Smith from outside the box.
Loxwood: Smith, Courtney (Napper 59), French (Jacques 90), Scally, Holvey, Wood, Swaine (Simpson 83), Richefond, Cave, Jee, Pitcher. Unused subs: Haulkham, Hilfiker.
Horsham: Williams, Duncan, Jones (Shelley 45), Farmer, Storrie, Pamment, Hunt, Keehan, Lewis (Martin), Smith (Block 85), Archibald. Unused subs: Boswell, Knee.
Full reaction from both camps in Thursday’s West Sussex County Times.
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