Loxwood 3, Highmoor Ibis 1: Magpies soar into FA Vase second round

County League Division 1: Loxwood v Crawley Down Gatwick. Pic Steve Robards SUS-150413-153739001
County League Division 1: Loxwood v Crawley Down Gatwick. Pic Steve Robards SUS-150413-153739001

Loxwood turned around a half-time deficit at Plaistow Road to soar into the second round of the FA Vase this afternoon.

The Magpies overcame Hellenic Football League Premier Division side Highmoor Ibis 3-1 with a sterling second-half showing.

Calum Gallimore headed the visitors into a 15th-minute lead from Richard Witt’s cross after a corner was only half cleared.

But the home side had it all their own way in the second half as Mark Cave netted from the penalty spot, Lewis Scally headed home to put his side ahead and Charlie Pitcher added a third deep into added time.

Loxwood boss Mark Beard said: “We had them watched and knew their weaknesses and strengths. We got at them early, but obviously they scored to take the lead.

“We knew if the boys kept pushing and doing the things we asked them to do we would win the game and we did.

“Sam (Smith) had one touch in the first half and that was to pick the ball out of the net and we talked about adding the quality in the final third at half-time.

“I am very pleased with them, it was a bit of a tough game and bit scrappy as you saw, but the boys kept their discipline despite getting pinched and punched.

“For a little club like this the prize money is great and we are what, five games from Wembley? You never know with a couple of good draws.”

Beard won the FA Trophy with Stevenage in 2007 and added: “You look at that when we went all the way and ended up winning it.

“We got a couple of good draws and just went from there. It’s very doable. Because we go into games in the County League fearing no-one, we should fear no-one in this competition as well.”

Smith had to be alert at the start of the second half to deny Highmoor a second as Mitch Parker’s in-swinging corner looked to be creeping in, before the stopper tipped it over the bar.

From then on in it was all Loxwood and after a spot of handbags and lengthy stoppage, the home side were awarded a spot kick as Sam Beard was sandwiched by two defenders in the box.

Cave dispatched expertly into the side netting to the goalkeeper’s left on 63 minutes and five minutes later they led.

Cave’s free-kick was just ahead of the arriving Eddie French, but Scally however arrived right on cue to nod past Michael Cradle.

Within a minute, Ibis spurned a great chance to level as Zac Tull glanced a header just over when he should have scored.

Loxwood substitute Pitcher then headed over the bar when well placed and failed to connect with a teasing cross to seal it.

At the other end, Highmoor began an aerial bombardment as they pushed their centre-backs up in search of a leveller.

The home back line held superbly and in cool fashion, before a breakaway saw Pitcher nutmeg the onrushing Cradle and finish into an empty net in the 96th minute.

Loxwood: Smith, Holvey (Summerfield 75), Scally, French, Courtney, Wood, Richefond, Cave, Swaine (Simpson 78), Beard, Jee (Pitcher 58). Unused subs: Ramsey, Batchelor.