Loxwood got their season up and running with a convincing 4-0 derby victory over local rivals Horsham YMCA on Tuesday night.
It seemed to click for the Magpies after a stuttering start while their Plaistow Road visitors were frustrated by a fine showing from goalkeeper Sam Smith.
Home manager Mark Beard was delighted with his side’s first three point of the season and said: “Our performances have been good, we have just not been able to convert our chances or make possession count.
“For one reason on another it has not clicked in front of goal, while at the other end we have given away sloppy goals.
“I was really angry after Saturday (last-gasp 3-2 loss at Wick), not because it was Wick, but we should be winning after performances like that. The same against Worthing United and Shoreham, after the first 25 minutes we were in complete control.
“I was hoping something would click and it did as the boys kept working hard. The average age was just 21. It’s a very young team and although they always give me everything, against YM the passing was quality and we took our chances as well.”
A high-tempo opening saw YM force a series of early corners and Sam Smith was tested by efforts from Matt Crane and Phil Johnson.
A fast-paced Loxwood break forced an early save out of Mark Fox as Toby House shot after good build up play from the pacey Harry Batchelor.
A quick break by Loxwood down the left resulted in House going down in the 18th minute in the area and the spot kick was dispatched by Sam Beard.
YM had a series of chances to get back on terms with opportunities for Nick Sullivan and Johnson.
Smith produced the first of many good saves in a impressive and commanding display between the sticks as Sam Schaaf and Max Howell saw chances smothered.
Loxwood weathered the storm and capitalised on some YM uncertainty as Byron Napper stole in and put the hosts two up with a well-placed header from Beard’s cross after 38 minutes.
Loxwood came out the stronger in the second half and effectively put the game to bed with a third goal despatched by Michael Wood
YM made a treble-substitution on the hour to try and turn the tide and a chance for Schaaf produced an impressive save from Smith, who produced a raft of top stops and turns around the post in the final hour as YM tried to give the scoresheet some respectability.
Loxwood would pounce one more time as Mark Cave put the game beyond doubt soon after taking the field as a sub on 63 minutes.
It was YM’s second defeat of the season after losing 2-1 in added time against Eastbourne United on Saturday. Boss Peter Buckland conceded that his side were ‘outplayed, out footballed and outfought’ by a young hungry team.
He said: “There are no excuses - we didn’t take the early chances and paid the price but no one died, we need to dust ourselves down and turn this around.
“It’s a long season but we were second best on the night, we go again on Saturday.”
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