A scrappy game ended up in a good win for Loxwood with manager Dave Cocoracchio saying: “I’m pleased with the result even if it wasn’t the best performance.”
The 1-0 victory against Arundel leaves the Magpies sitting in mid-table, however Cocoracchio isn’t content to let the season slowly come to an end.
He said: “I have set a target for my players to win the next five games, we want to finish as high as we can and maximise the points on offer so we can build for next season.”
This mentality could be seen throughout the Loxwood side who should have been in front in the first minute of the game. Tiago Andrade was one-on-one with the Arundel goalkeeper, James Fernandes, but he pulled his shot wide of the far post.
The first half consisted of half chances for both teams, with Ollie Moore and Andrade both guilty of missing opportunities for Loxwood and Harry Russel and Dion Jarvis being just as wasteful in front of goal for Arundel.
With both sides cancelling each other out, a turning point came midway through the first half. Moore was clean through for Loxwood and was cynically brought down by Arundel’s captain, Lloyd Walker. A straight red card on 23 minutes meant an uphill struggle for the visitors.
Arundel continued to more than hold their own up until the half-time whistle, with Loxwood not taking advantage of their extra man. Cocoracchio said: “Nil-nil was a fair result at half-time.”
Loxwood needed to make the extra man tell in the second half. They changed their formation using more of the width of the pitch to great effect with Moore and Andrade having a host of chances, but Arundel’s defence was resilient. Cocoracchio said: “Credit to Arundel, they gave everything and frustrated us.”
Loxwood continued to attack the Arundel goal, again Moore and Andrade had chances, with Moore shooting wide and Andrade having his effort blocked.
Moore came closest to breaking the deadlock when he had an effort from 20 yards but he wasn’t able to keep it down and it flew just over the crossbar.
Cocoracchio said: “It was important that we took our chance when it came.”
Loxwood did not disappoint, they had patiently waited for their chance to come and it fell to Moore, 18 yards out with his back to goal. He turned to fire it into the bottom left-hand corner to finally give Loxwood the lead in the 81st minute, just when the game was looking like it was going to end in a stalemate.
One goal was enough for Loxwood, who extended their unbeaten run in the league to three games and are looking for a strong end to the season.
A lot of credit has to be given to Arundel who battled to the end, even though playing for well over an hour with ten men.
Loxwood: Carruthers, Holvey, Warren, French, Colbran, Swaine, Williams, Napper, Andrade, Moore, Bachelor.