Too late for top-two finish but Beard backs Loxwood for third

Loxwood's Sam Beard on the way to scoring his goal on Tuesday night. Picture by Michael Hulf
Loxwood's Sam Beard on the way to scoring his goal on Tuesday night. Picture by Michael Hulf

Mark Beard has indicated a top-three finish is now the aim for the Loxwood side - and believes they are a couple of months late from pushing the top two.

Ollie Moore and Sam Beard netted the goals as the Magpies eased to their ninth win from their last 11 games against AFC Uckfield on Tuesday and with it, narrowed the gap on the top five to three points.

Beard believes had he had the squad he has now a few weeks ago they could be hot on the heels of Eastbourne Town and Horsham.

He said: “We are closing the gap all the time. Teams around us are slipping up, while we have only lost one in the last 11 games. While teams around up keep dropping points we seem to be on a great run.

“We lose a few (players) Saturday, but I can rotate the squad again and we have the strength in depth now with a few ready to come in.

“I think if we had the squad we have now two months earlier, we would be challenging the top two.

“We have signed Ollie Moore two months too late and Byron Napper is in now, with those two it has added a bit of quality.

“We are going to go for third, for us that is a great achievement as the start of the season the target was fourth.

“We had a bit of a bad run and I thought we had blown it, but we are beating everyone at the moment so will look for third. We still have Newhaven and Lancing to play, so if we beat them and win our game in hand, we can catch them.”

Moore put Loxwood ahead after just five minutes on Tuesday as he tapped home after a horrible mistake from the visiting goalkeeper.

He missed a back pass and then attempted to clear, but spun at the ball leaving Moore to roll into an empty net.

The second came from Sam Beard on the hour mark as goalkeeper Sam Smith collected an Uckfield free-kick, threw the ball out to the winger, who beat two players and although his initial shot was saved, he finished at the second attempt.

Beard added: “We could have been about 6-0 up at half-time. I said to them at half-time to keep doing what they were doing and don’t get frustrated.”

Loxwood: Smith, Scally, French, Simpson, Holvey, Beard, Napper, Moore, Cave (Swaine), Summerfield (Bachelor), Pitcher (Gill).

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