Young Loxwood duo hailed for ‘outstanding’ debuts at Hassocks

Loxwood celebrate Charlie Pitcher's goal against Hassocks. Picture by Phil Westlake
Loxwood celebrate Charlie Pitcher's goal against Hassocks. Picture by Phil Westlake

Mark Beard hailed Loxwood young debutants Matt Penfold and Harvey Entiknapp as ‘outstanding’ in their 1-0 victory at Hassocks on Friday night.

A healthy crowd of 196 watched the Magpies edge out the Robins thanks to Charlie Pitcher’s second-half goal - which was his 20th of the season.

Loxwood's Charlie Pitcher's goal against Hassocks. Picture by Phil Westlake

Loxwood's Charlie Pitcher's goal against Hassocks. Picture by Phil Westlake

It leaves Loxwood looking up at a top-three finish as they still trail Newhaven by seven points with a game in hand.

With seven of the young Magpies contingent set to play in the Sussex under-18s for their County Youth Cup final against Liverpool on Sunday, Beard again rotated his squad.

Penfold, 16, overcame an early accidental elbow and resulting split lip from Hassocks striker Michael Death in an accomplished display at full-back.

While Entiknapp, 17, showed a superb passing range according to Beard who sung both players’ praises.

Loxwood's Matt Penfold in action against Hassocks on his debut

Loxwood's Matt Penfold in action against Hassocks on his debut

He said: “We had two under-17s and they just settled into the team really well. We played some good stuff and it just shows the strength in depth.

“We had 11 players out, but those I call on never let us down. We have players with quality like Byron Napper and the experience of Ed French and Mark Cave, so whoever comes in does well.

“Charlie Pitcher and Ollie Moore were lively and great up front, it was a brilliant result for us.

“We must have had 80 per cent possession and they hit us on a couple of counters.

Loxwood's Byron Napper in action against Hassocks. Picture by Phil Westlake

Loxwood's Byron Napper in action against Hassocks. Picture by Phil Westlake

“Matt and Harvey on their full debuts were outstanding. I was not worried going into it, but you just don’t know how they will do with the transition into men’s football, but I thought they were outstanding. Both played 90 minutes and were superb.”

Pitcher’s 54th-minute goal was all that separated the two sides as he half-volleyed into the bottom corner from Moore’s cut-back.

And although Hassocks threw everything forward in the last ten minutes, Loxwood managed to shut them out for their 21st win of the season.

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