Loxwood boss Mark Beard reckoned poor defending cost them progress in the first qualifying round of the FA Vase.
Croydon’s Karl Douglin opened the scoring in the 19th minute when he met a teasing cross from Tristan Toney that he duly buried from close range.
The same man struck again four minutes later when Jeff Duah-Kessie escaped the attentions of Eddie French down the right before putting in another telling cross that evaded Lewis Scally and left the Croydon number 10 to stab home and double the lead.
Loxwood pulled a goal back in the 35th minute when Byron Napper lifted the ball into the area and new signing Jay Lovett flicked on to Sam Beard at the far post who finished well from a tight angle.
Magpies’ boss Mark Beard said: “We started OK and created a few scoring chances.
“But we gave away two sloppy goals which were not well-worked goals.
“We changed formation and were on top for a few minutes.
“We had the lions’ share of possession.
“Croydon defended well. Michael Wood had a chance they were able to block everything.”
Harry Bachelor was a threat on the right, but in Wesley Bartlett he found an opponent who was up to the challenge of the youngster, thwarting a number of promising opportunities.
This dogged defending was emulated across the backline and as such clear opportunities to equalise were few and far between.
This was as good as it got for the visitors as they were made to pay for a slow start to the match and as such exited from a competition that they had made good in-roads into in their two previous campaigns.
Beard said: “We weren’t able to get ourselves back into it.
“The pitch was awful, rock hard and hadn’t been cut, but it was the same for them, so there’s no excuse.”
“We should have given ourselves a chance of getting a replay.
“It’s a shame also that we have missed out on £600 prize money - last year we made some money which was most useful for getting through a few rounds.”
Beard praised the contribution of his son, Sam Beard, who scored their goal with a volley from the narrowest of angles.
He said: “It was a really good effort into the top corner and was typical of how well Sam is playing with five goals in four games.”
The Magpies struggled to find their best form as they were missing five regular players and were only able to name two substitutes.
Tom Summerfield, Mark Cave, Ryan Ramsay and Cecil Jee were all unavailable or on the injury list.
Loxwood: Atkinson (Haulkham 70), Bachelor, S Beard, Colbran, French, House, Lovett, Napper, Scally, Smith, Wood
Unused subs: M Beard, Hilfiker, Mepsted