Darren Boswell crashed a classy hat-trick as Horsham reached the top of the Southern Combination League Premier Division for the first time this season with a 4-0 win over Loxwood tonight.
The Hornets flew to the summit as they grounded The Magpies’ magnificent run of ten straight wins in all competitions in the local derby.
The match saw Horsham legend Eddie French face his old team for the first time, but it wouldn’t have been the return the popular central defender was looking for.
In-form Loxwood were well in an evenly-contested game until Boswell netted two goals in the space of two first-half minutes to stun the visitors, who failed to make the most of good patch before half-time.
Boswell all but killed the game with his third at the start of the second half, while Terry Dodd added a fourth with ten minutes left.
After a couple of positive Loxwood forays forwards came to nothing, French then headed over the bar from a corner and Charlie Pitcher flashed an effort across goal, before a low Brad Lewis effort at the other end from 20 yards rolled harmlessly wide.
On 16 minutes, a brilliant run from Loxwood’s Tom Summerfield from the right saw him beat three defenders, ride a challenge on the edge of the box, but hit against the post under pressure from an acute angle at the byline.
The home side had the lead on 18 minutes as they turned defence into attack in route one style. Ollie Gill looked to thread through Michael Wood and he would have been in had it not been for Gareth Williams racing out to smash clear.
And in a split second, Boswell had latched onto that clearance and he flicked around the last defender and goalkeeper Sam Smith to see it roll into the net.
Loxwood, who had been well in the game, barely had time to settle as just two minutes later it was 2-0 as Kieron Pamment let fly from range and Smith parried to his right only for Boswell to hammer into the roof of the net with a smart finish from the left.
The home crowd had their shouts from a penalty waved away on 29 minutes as Terry Dodd went down under pressure on the goal line as he tried to turn on a low Boswell cross.
The Magpies rediscovered their rhythm in the closing ten minutes of the half but could not break down the Horsham backline, who were happy to launch the ball away - Charlie Pitcher did have a sight at goal, but fired over the bar on the angle.
A good Dodd run down the left saw him flash an early cross across the goalmouth and Pamment could only glance it further on.
Loxwood’s half-time team talk would have gone out of the window within three minutes of the restart as the excellent Boswell completed his hat-trick.
After crashing a cross into right-back Josh Courtney, Boswell won the ball back and bore down one on one and finished past Smith.
On 69 minutes, a miss-placed pass out from defence present the ball to Lewis Scally who had come forward from centre-back, but he shot straight at Williams.
Dodd then capitalised on a slip and picked out Pamment at the far post, but his effort was blocked, although the hosts did add a fourth with ten minutes left.
A Samir Hadi corner was flicked back towards goal by Joe Shelley and Dodd turned on the post to volley into the top left corner.
Loxwood could have netted a late consolation as a Wood tried to turn on a Matt Simpson free-kick, but it was blocked and Simpson’s effort then suffered the same fate to sum up the visitors evening.
Horsham: Williams, Knee (Duncan 78), Jones, Farmer, Storrie, Hunt, Lewis, Shelley, Boswell (Hadi 65), Pamment (Archibald 75), Dodd.
Loxwood: Smith, Beard, French, Scally, Courtney (Simpson 76), Wood, Richefond, Gill, Summerfield (Holvey, Gee 60), Swaine, Pitcher. Unused subs: Colbran, Batchelor.
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