New Loxwood boss Alex Walsh felt he saw positive signs from his side despite falling to a 4-1 away defeat to East Preston in the Premier Division on Saturday.
In Walsh’s first game in charge of the Magpies, EP went ahead early through Asa Nicholson and the hosts double their lead just after half-time thanks to Luke Brodie.
Nicholson and Jakob Heryet then made it four, before sub Hugo Cowan netted a late Loxwood consolation goal.
Walsh said: “I thought we were competitive in midfield areas but conceding that first goal saw a few heads drop and we looked bereft of confidence.
“We did start growing into the game and we hit the bar. We had a good first half from what I saw.
“Credit to East Preston in the second half, they came out positively and aggressively and got their second. We needed to regroup quicker and it didn’t happen on the day.
“I think Liam (Matthews) played really well in goal and made some good stops and getting the late goal put a buzz back into the group. There’s signs there of a very good team, we just need to get our ideas across in training.”
EP went ahead on nine minutes as Nicholson poked home from a goalmouth scramble but the Magpies responded immediately as a free-kick crashed against the crossbar.
The hosts controlled the first half as Heryet hit the woodwork and his acrobatic effort before the break was superbly saved by Loxwood ‘keeper Matthews.
EP started the second half as they finished the first, and went two up on 48 minutes as Brodie’s attempt gave Matthews no chance. They made it three on 68 minutes as Heryet’s cross found Nicholson who finished smartly to triple the advantage.
Heryet sealed the win two minutes later as his shot from the edge of the box flew past Matthews.
Loxwood did get a consolation goal five minutes from time as Cowan finished neatly after a cross from the right.
The Magpies host Lancing on Saturday.
Loxwood: Matthews, Courtney, Warren, Swaine, Smith, Williams, Frankland, Westlake, Death, Wood, Bachelor. Subs: Bennett, Cowan, French.