Loxwood happy with a point as they tame table-topping Lions

JPCT 170115 S15020469x Football, County League Division 1: Loxwood v Pagham -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-150113-095912001
JPCT 170115 S15020469x Football, County League Division 1: Loxwood v Pagham -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-150113-095912001
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Loxwood manager Dave Cocoracchio labelled their 2-2 draw with table-toppers Pagham on Saturday as a fantastic advert for County League football.

The Magpies tamed the high-flying Lions at Plaistow Road in an entertaining draw which saw each side dominate a half.

Defender Tom Familton put Loxwood ahead after just three minutes, but goals from Liam O’Connor and Rob Brown turned the game on its head as Pagham led 2-1 at half-time.

With a switch in formation at the break, the home side improved after the interval and equalised through Mark Cave before spurning chances to win it.

Cocoracchio said: “They are top of the table for a good reason as they are a cracking team. We had already played them twice this season, in the league at their place and in the Sussex Senior Cup.

“We drew at their place and I thought we should have won, but beat them in the cup. Both were cracking football matches and Saturday was no different.

“I thought it was a great advert for Sussex County Division 1 football. Both teams play football with pace, intensity and the right way.

“To be fair, they were the better team in the first half, but in the second we were much better and could have won it.

“Overall, on balance and reflection, as afterwards I was a bit frustrated we didn’t get the three points, a point a piece was certainly a fair result.”

Familton drove his effort into the bottom corner from 12 yards early on after a corner broke to him just outside the box to put the Magpies ahead.

Dean Wright then had an effort saved before Pagham levelled on the 20-minute mark.

O’Connor broke through a couple of players and slotted home for 1-1.

With Loxwood far from their usual selves at the back, they conceded another sloppy goal before the break as Brown finished past Sam Smith.

They improved after the break and equalised with what Cocoracchio described as one of their best goals of the season.

Matt Hoyte got the move going with a deft touch from yards from and facing his own goal.

His ball then picked out Shaun Findlay, who was still in his own half. He played it to Wright, who swivelled and returned the ball to Findlay on the overlap.

The winger continued his run and fired a pacey cross to the arriving Cave, who hit it first time into the bottom corner.

Wright and Michael Wood then had shots cleared off the line, before the Pagham keeper made a fine save to tip a Hoyte effort over the bar with five minutes left.

Loxwood: Smith, Elkana, French, Familton (Malins 45), Hoyte, Wood, Swaine (Scally 68), Cave, Findlay, Martin (Pritchard 81), Wright.