Loxwood suffer festive set-back with Walsh warning they must continue to improve and put in complete performances

Loxwood FC. Pic Steve Robards SR1829898 SUS-181114-160253001
Loxwood FC. Pic Steve Robards SR1829898 SUS-181114-160253001

A formerly resurgent Loxwood have suffered a set-back with a disappointing Christmas spell yielding two defeats with manager Alex Walsh craving complete performances.

A Boxing Day home reverse saw them throw away the lead in a 2-1 defeat to Broadbridge Heath, before a disappointing show at Crawley Down Gatwick on Saturday.

One plus, however, is that the third-from-bottom side have not really lost any ground in the Premier Division relegation fight.

Arundel remain a point behind, although place-above Shoreham now have two points more, with 16th-placed Little Common also on 16 points.

Despite that, Magpies boss Walsh said: “We set targets for every game, with both short-term and long-term goals. To take three points against Shoreham was essential, before the two other games against teams in the top half.

“I thought we deserved something out of the game against Broadbridge Heath as we were the better team in the first half, but credit to them they came out in the second and were a lot better - I do still think we deserved something there though.

“Against Crawley Down, we were good for 20 or 30 minutes, but unfortunately, you do not get anything out of games when you are only good for that amount of time.

“I do not think anyone could argue with the result. Crawley Down deserved to win the game. If we are going to get out of this relegation battle and stay in this league we need to be better in terms of being playing for 90 minutes.

“Before I came in the target was to get closer to the pack and within touching distance of everyone else. Results have gone our way (over Christmas) and it was looking a lot worse when I started here six or seven games ago, but we need to keep winning.”

The visitors produced a dominant first 15 minutes as they belied their lowly league position in the early exchanges.

The home side gradually played themselves into the game and were rewarded with the opening goal after 24 minutes when Oli Leslie turned inside and struck a great shot into the corner of the net with his left foot.

From that point on although the visitors fought tooth and nail and never gave up, it always seemed as if Crawley Down were in control.

On 37 minutes, the home side ensured a two-goal cushion at the break when Nick Sullivan slotted home from close in after good work from the influential Leslie.

Crawley Down started the second half strongly and pushed for the third goal that would effectively kill off the game. It came in the 54th minute as Michael Belli swung in a corner from the right that evaded everyone until the predatory Nick Sullivan bundled it in at the back post despite the heroic attempts by Tom Frankland to keep it out, who was injured in the process.

Former Magpie Michael Wood hit the bar for the Anvils at one end and Loxwood did the same at the other, but the result was never in doubt.

Loxwood now start a tough run of games against leaders Chichester City on Saturday and Walsh said: “We have a tough January, but at the end of the day everyone plays everyone.

“We are not going to go into games not fulfilling them, we are training twice this week and we are at home, so the game plan is going to be, try and win the game not sitting back and squandering three points.”

Loxwood: Matthews, Frankland, Boiling, French, Courtney, Westlake, Smith, Cowan, Omofe, Muntonierwa, Mynhardt. Subs: Williams, Bennett, Swaine, Popham, Penfold.