Broadbridge Heath’s impressive second-half display saw them turnaround the scoreline to grab the derby honours with a 4-1 victory over Loxwood.
Heath’s first-ever Wednesday evening home match also drew in their biggest gate of the season (118) against their local rivals
Those watching witnessed an excellent evening’s entertainment with both teams giving their all on a cold misty evening at the Leisure Centre.
An evenly contested first half of end-to-end football saw the Magpies taking the lead in stoppage time when the Heath defence failed to clear their lines.
The ball came out to Byron Napper who split the Heath defence with a perfect through ball into the path of Charlie Pitcher and the Loxwood striker made sure with a right-foot shot low under the advancing Michael Chester.
Previously to that Napper had an effort blocked on the goal-line, the ball came back to the midfielder whose second attempt was also blocked, before he blasted the third attempt high over the crossbar.
For Heath, Jake Holmes hit a volley just wide of the target and Alex Parson’s shot from distance went narrowly wide of the post.
It didn’t take Heath long to equalise when within two minutes of the restart Ollie Moore was brought down in the penalty area by Loxwood keeper Harrison Hilfiker and Holmes stepped up to convert the resulting penalty.
The goal inspired the Heath players who appeared to step up a gear and Jay Lovett did well to clear a Shaun Findlay effort and minutes later Hilfiker made an excellent save from Jamal Sultan’s volley.
Loxwood replied with substitute Harry Bachelor whipping in a right-wing cross which was a haircut away from Pitcher, stooping low at the far post and Bachelor was close again with another left-foot shot that curled just wide of the upright.
Heath’s second goal was scored midway through the half; Joe Holvey advanced down the right flank and crossed to Holmes who met it on the volley from 12 yards giving Hilfiker no chance.
Minutes later it was 3-1 when a long free kick from Findlay wide on the left was met at the far post by Marlon Maxwell who rose above everyone to power a header past the Loxwood keeper and into the net.
Holmes thought he’d completed his hat-trick with 20 minutes remaining when a Holvey cross from the right was mis-controlled by Eddie French.
Holmes hammered the ball past Hilfiker but as he turned away to celebrate he was stopped short with the linesman having raised his flag for offside, despite the ball coming off the Loxwood defender
The Magpies’ luck didn’t last long when Ed Davies attempted to keep the ball in play near the halfway line but in doing so played it straight to Dean Wright who’d only been on the field for a minute and the Heath striker sprinted away down the right flank, cut inside the penalty area and hammered a shot from the angle into the bottom corner.
Broadbridge Heath: M.Chester, Holvey, Robinson, Maxwell, S.Chester, Sandell, Moore, Parsons, Holmes (Wright 80), Sultan (Maher 80), Findlay.
Loxwood: Hilfiker, Jacques, French, Lovett, Colbran, Wood, Cave, Nappr, Davis, House, Pitcher. Subs: Bachelor, Enticknap, Daniel.