Loxwood manager Dave Cocoracchio praised his side’s character as they weathered a storm and didn’t capitulate after taking a 3-1 lead against Wick last night.
The home side pulled a goal back to 3-2 and threatened to draw level with some menacing attacks.
But Loxwood’s defence held firm and they ended up adding a late fourth to seal a 4-2 victory.
Eddie French gave the Magpies a 21st minute lead with a storming goal from a corner and this was added to seconds before half-time by Tim Martin.
Mark Pedrick grabbed Wick a goal back from the penalty spot after Jamal Sultan brought down an opponent in the box and Loxwood led 2-1 at half-time.
Dean Wright made it 3-1 soon after the resumption with a side-footed goal but then Ash Harper scored a second for Wick and the visitors had to withstand a difficult period.
Wick had a player sent-off with five minutes to go for swearing at the assistant referee and then Wright added a decisive fourth, heading home a cross from Ross Swaine.
Relieved Cocoracchio said: “It was a difficult place to go and they have a hard pitch. Wick had a different side then last year, following their amalagmation with Barnham and were a very difficult team. I think a lot of teams will have their work cut out against them.
“We were dominating but they pulled a goal back and suddenly we were thinking of how we let slip a 2-0 lead against Steyning before ending up losing 3-2 and we were worried the same thing could happen again.
“They put pressure on us but we defended resolutely. It was character building. Eventually they had a player sent-off and that gave us a cushion.
“Finally Wright nodded in for a far post headed goal and we rounded off a deserved win.”
LOXWOOD: Coles, Swaine, Elkana, French, Holvey, Arthur, Sultan, Lyons, Martin (Cave 55), Wright (Scally 85), Findlay (Hoite 88),
Unused subs: Munday, Pett
MAN OF THE MATCH: Eddie French and Ben Arthur