Loxwood 2, Arundel 1: Late Swaine winners sends Magpies through in FA Vase

Loxwood FC V East Preston FC (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150914-155810008
Loxwood FC V East Preston FC (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150914-155810008

A 92nd-minute Ross Swaine winner saw Loxwood beat Arundel in the second qualifying round of the FA Vase this afternoon.

The substitute tucked home a deep Josh Courtney cross in added time to clinch a 2-1 victory in a fiercely-contested clash at Plaistow Road.

After a slow start, the game picked up in the second half with plenty of yellow cards and talking points.

Magpies skipper Eddie French headed Loxwood into a slender half-time lead, before Arundel substitute Dave Herbert came off the bench to beautifully curl home an equaliser in the second half.

Arundel goalkeeper James Fernandes was then lucky to stay on the pitch as Loxwood searched for a winner.

He deliberately handled outside the box as Charlie Pitcher lobbed the ball over him with the striker looking to run on and finish into an empty net, but the match referee Robert Timm produced only a yellow card.

To the astonishment of both benches and fans, this was on the advice of the linesman that there were two covering defenders.

But Loxwood weren’t left to rue the mistake from the officials as after the temperature rose, Swaine popped up with the winner at the death.

Magpies captain French said: “I’m really pleased with it. I think we had plenty of chances and missed ones at 1-1 and I did not think we played brilliantly.

“It was a great contest and they were quite direct, but I am so pleased Swainey came up at the death there to tuck it in at the back post.

“We are playing brilliant football at the moment although were a bit off the pace today of our last few games, so to come out with the victory, it’s a good sign.

“We are on a brilliant run and I am certainly pleased to be in the hat for the next round, things are going good at the minute.

“The prize money is good for the club as everything helps at this level. We do not pay loads of money down here, so people are here for the love and there is a good team spirit.”

After a slow start in which the only action was a first-time Barney Spencer effort which was straight at Sam Smith and a speculative Courtney effort that flew over from range, the hosts took the lead on 25 minutes.

An Ollie Gill free-kick from the right found French arriving in the six yards box and he glanced past Fernandes.

At the other end, Lewis Scally put in a great last-ditch tackle to deny Spencer, before Lewis Jenkins put over on the stretch and Rory Biggs was played through one on one, but skewed wide.

At the start of the second half, Pitcher spurned a good chance after springing the offside trap before the visitors levelled.

Herbert expertly curled a free-kick from 22 yards out over the wall and into the top left-hand corner.

Soon after, Fernandes escaped with just a booking after his deliberate handball which led to tempers raising.

With tackles flying in the yellow cards flowed along with Loxwood chances while Arundel looked to hit them on the counter.

Scally headed over from a corner and Gill shaved the outside of the post. They also felt they should have had a penalty for a Nathan DaCosta foul on Tom Summerfied which was given outside the box.

But they were to have the last say as Swaine lost his man deep into added time and tapped past Fernandes for the winner.

Loxwood: Smith, Holvey, French, Scally, Courtney, Wood (Swaine 70), Richefond, Gill, Cave, Summerfield, Pitcher (Gee 65). Unused: Simpson.

Arundel: Fernandes, N.DaCosta, Peake, Bibb, Hunter (Adams 60), L.DaCosta, A.Biggs, R.Biggs (Thoms 72), Jenkins, J.Biggs, Spencer (Herbert 45). Unused subs: Clarke, Hamilton.