Beard boosted by positive point from entertaining Chichester City clash

Loxwood FC. Michael Wood.  09-16. Pic Steve Robards SR1627565 SUS-160924-124658001
Loxwood FC. Michael Wood. 09-16. Pic Steve Robards SR1627565 SUS-160924-124658001

Loxwood manager Mark Beard was satisfied to take a point from an entertaining clash with Chichester City on Tuesday night.

The fifth-placed visitors came into the match with just one Premier Division defeat to their name this season, while the Magpies were striving to climb up from mid-table.

A Toby House goal seven minutes before the break, levelled up Scott Jones’ 11th-minute opener in a game that saw a plethora of chances at either end.

A strong City outfit twice almost pinched all three points in injury-time, but superb stops from Loxwood stopper Harrison Hilfiker denied them.

Beard said: “It was a really good game and a point was probably a fair result. They started the better and went 1-0 up, but towards the end of the first half, it started to turn and we created lots of chances.

“They are a big, strong powerful team and I was a bit worried at first as we could not stop it, but once we got to grips with it, we moved the ball better.

“They got a lot of free-kicks and for once we dealt with them really well. That was a bit worrying at first as they are a big physical side, but we dealt with them and I was pleased with that.

“We are two very different teams as well, we like to play and they play to their strengths with three big strong forwards.

“They keep it very narrow and play up to them through the middle, but that leaves a lot of gaps and saw a lot of chances.”

Chi led early on as the hosts failed to clear and the ball was switched across and finished by Jones with the visitors very much in control.

Loxwood slowly got their passing game going and pulled level thanks to some fantastic work by Michael Wood as they grew into the half.

He was played in down the line and did not give up on a ball that looked likely to run out of play, from there, he cut inside, stayed up under a tackle and clipped in for House, whose header went in off the post.

Beard said: “Michael and Toby are playing really well together now. Their movement and they have a good understanding. I tried a few different ones (combinations), but they seem to work. They are not big and strong, but their pace and movement causes problems.”

City had three of four good chances in the second half, while Loxwood also went close through House, Wood and Sam Beard.

Substitute Jay Lovett also had an effort saved from a corner before Hilfiker’s heroics in added time.

Beard added: “They were two top-class saves in injury-time and for one of them I had turned away to write it in my notebook as I thought it was a goal.”

Loxwood: Hilfiker, Colbran, Jacques, Scally, Cave, Beard, Bachelor (Lovett), Napper, Ramsay (Summerfield), Wood, House (Raman).

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