Loxwood boss vows to 'keep plugging away' after Peter Bentley Cup exit

Loxwood assistant manager Nathan Bowen (left) and manager Alex Walsh. Picture by Steve Robards
Loxwood assistant manager Nathan Bowen (left) and manager Alex Walsh. Picture by Steve Robards

Alex Walsh has vowed to ‘keep plugging away’ after ten-man Loxwood exited the Peter Bentley Cup with a 3-2 defeat in extra-time at home to East Preston on Saturday.

In a see-saw first half, Sam Karl opened the scoring for the Magpies before Howard Neighbour hit back to equalise.

Josh Hawkes put Loxwood ahead once more but the visitors pegged the hosts back again through Dan Simmonds.

Three minutes before the break Loxwood’s Tom Frankland was shown a straight red.

The ten-men battled hard but David Crouch’s goal on six minutes into extra-time saw EP advance.

Defeat for the Magpies sees them without a win in all competitions since August 31, a run of nine consecutive games.

Walsh said: “A lot of other managers have moved on in times like this. I don’t want to give up, I want to keep going.

“We did something really good here last season but I know you can’t dwell on things that have happened in the past. You’ve got to focus on the future.

“I have big ambitions this season to kick on and it hasn’t quite worked out like that but we’ve still got a long way to go.

“I want to keep plugging away and show that we can turn it around.”

Karl got Loxwood in front on six minutes after he tapped home after some good play on the left.

EP were level five minutes later as Neighbour hooked home after a goal-mouth scramble.

Loxwood then took the lead on 28 minutes as Hawkes was quickest to tap home from a rebound on 28 minutes to make it 2-1.

A superb individual effort from Simmons on 36 minutes which saw him rifle home to equalise.

The hosts were then reduced to ten on 42 minutes after Frankland was a red for a dangerous high tackle.

The game remained even as it headed into extra-time but, as the game looked destined for penalties, Crouch’s deft back-heel saw EP through to the next round.

Walsh added: “I thought the players worked extremely hard and played well for the shirt.

“It is disappointing to not come away and get through and qualify for the next round. It was a cup that were hoping we could do well in.

“East Preston are a good side and we felt like the red card has obviously changed the game, especially so early on.

“It does change the game and changes things but there are some positives to take.

“We are looking forward to moving on and Lancing will be a great test, on Saturday.”

Loxwood: Matthews, Frankland, Dawson (Elmellas 96), Dunningham, Boiling, Courtney, Colbran, Hawkes, Brodie (Campbell-Francis 75), Jenkins, Karl (Goldson 70). Unused: Floyd