Loxwood’s young guns shone once again as they edged out Eastbourne United in a nine-goal thriller at Plaistow Road on Saturday.
Magpies boss Mark Beard played eight under-18s from his academy as they clinched a dramatic 5-4 win to remain in the hunt for fourth place in the Premier Division.
It was the hosts who struck first as Rhyan Ramsey put them ahead on ten minutes. Ollie Moore missed a penalty, before, after a United player suffered a head injury and put the ball out, Harry Bachelor attempted to return it, but lofted the ball into the net.
Beard instructed his side to let their visitors through to score and Liam Painter put the ball away. And on the stroke of half-time, United’s Adam Davidson levelled from a set piece.
Moore put Loxwood back ahead on 50 minutes, heading home a Ramsey cross and Sam Beard made it 4-2 as he broke from the halfway line.
Balio Camara pulled a goal back on 66 minutes, before 6ft 3in centre-back Clyde Jacques headed home Loxwood’s fifth. Dean Stevens did pull another goal back with 12 minutes left, but Loxwood held out.
Beard said: “It was one of those where even though it was 5-4, I felt pretty comfortable at all times. In the second half we took it to them scored some good goals although every time gave one away at the back.
“The young boys were brilliant. They did not let their size get in the way and played well, the way they have all season. I was really, really pleased. We could have dealt with their goals a bit better, but that’s experience.
“They matched a good team in terms of competitiveness and physicality, they passed the ball well and it just shows if you are good enough, you are old enough.”
Loxwood face Newhaven on Saturday for their final game of the season, with fourth place still up for grabs. Beard added: “All the experienced players will play and we will go there to give it a go and try and finish the season off on a high.”
Loxwood: Smith, Jacques, Colbran Penfold, Beard (Wood 61), Ramsey, Napper, Bachelor (Courtney 61), Summerfield, Moore, Barnard (Bickell 60).
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