Mark Beard hailed Loxwood young debutants Matt Penfold and Harvey Entiknapp as ‘outstanding’ in their 1-0 victory at Hassocks on Friday night.
A healthy crowd of 196 watched the Magpies edge out the Robins thanks to Charlie Pitcher’s second-half goal - which was his 20th of the season.
It leaves Loxwood looking up at a top-three finish as they still trail Newhaven by seven points with a game in hand.
With seven of the young Magpies contingent set to play in the Sussex under-18s for their County Youth Cup final against Liverpool on Sunday, Beard again rotated his squad.
Penfold, 16, overcame an early accidental elbow and resulting split lip from Hassocks striker Michael Death in an accomplished display at full-back.
While Entiknapp, 17, showed a superb passing range according to Beard who sung both players’ praises.
He said: “We had two under-17s and they just settled into the team really well. We played some good stuff and it just shows the strength in depth.
“We had 11 players out, but those I call on never let us down. We have players with quality like Byron Napper and the experience of Ed French and Mark Cave, so whoever comes in does well.
“Charlie Pitcher and Ollie Moore were lively and great up front, it was a brilliant result for us.
“We must have had 80 per cent possession and they hit us on a couple of counters.
“Matt and Harvey on their full debuts were outstanding. I was not worried going into it, but you just don’t know how they will do with the transition into men’s football, but I thought they were outstanding. Both played 90 minutes and were superb.”
Pitcher’s 54th-minute goal was all that separated the two sides as he half-volleyed into the bottom corner from Moore’s cut-back.
And although Hassocks threw everything forward in the last ten minutes, Loxwood managed to shut them out for their 21st win of the season.
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