Loxwood manager Dave Cocoracchio lauded a superb day for the club as got their season up and running by beating Southern Counties East Football League side Holmesdale in the FA Cup on Saturday.
The Magpies flew into the preliminary round and bagged £1,500 in the process thanks to goals from Ollie Moore, Tiago Andrade and Joe Holvey.
The 3-1 win means will now face Combined Counties League side Banstead on Saturday, August 19.
Cocoracchio said: “Overall, with the day, being the first game of the season after a hell of a lot of work had been done on the ground and the pitch, and an FA Cup game as well, there was a lot of excitement.
“To go out and get a convincing win I was absolutely delighted, as was everyone in the club. It was thoroughly well deserved and a very good performance.
“The bit of prize money certainly pleased the chairman and the committee as at this level, it can certainly provide a real bonus for clubs.”
The hosts created the first chances when Adam Williams just missed the ball after sliding in, before heading off target, while Joel Colbran’s headed attempt was helped over by goalkeeper Charlie Martin.
Holmesdale showed their own threat as Ishmail Ishmail drove towards goal and let fly from 20 yards but Sam Smith gathered well.
Loxwood led just four minutes later with Byron Napper’s free-kick saw Andrade lay the ball back to Moore, who volleyed into the bottom corner from 22 yards.
Just before the break, Todd and Justiano Junior tangled in the corner and, in the melee that followed the latter was sent off for a head-butt on Ross Swaine, who was also dismissed for an alleged punch.
Loxwood boss Dave Cocoracchio said: “There was a bit of chest-to-chest scenario and a few players went across. Ross had pulled someone away and was blatantly head butted by their centre-half.
“He was sent-off, but to everyone’s shock and disbelief Ross was as well. We found out afterwards the linesman said they saw him through a punch, which was ludicrous.
“Even their management and players said he was really unlucky as he hadn’t done anything. It put a bit of a downer on the day and I feel really sorry for him.”
At the start of the second half, Tyrus Gordon-Young had a good chance to level when he shook off two challenges but shot over.
Holmesdale continued to have a good spell, but a combination of a poor final ball and some fine last-ditch defending from Colbran and Eddie French, on his 250th club appearance, kept the visitors at bay.
Just past the hour mark, Holvey’s delivery into the box was cleared to Moore, who laid the ball into Andrade. He dropped his shoulder and fired left-footed past Martin.
Holvey was then upended in the box in the 70th minute and, after referee Paula Wyatt pointed to the spot, Moore’s resulting penalty was pushed away by Martin.
Late on, substitute Victor Sodiende drove into the area and evaded a defender before firing the ball across Smith into the far, top corner.
The Magpies responded immediately as a patient move straight from the kick-off saw substitute Alfie Gritt slip Holvey in behind and he fired across Martin into the far corner.
Cocoracchio felt his side dominated the game, but said: “They are making a very big push for promotion and have what they feel is a very good squad.
“They were a decent team and very strong and physical, they certainly felt they could win the game coming into it.”
“We took a well-deserved lead and they then got a bit frustrated as we moved the ball around them.
“In the second half we never seemed to be the same (after the sending off), but they were a lot better although never really caused Sam Smith any problems with the back four doing particularly well.
“Their late goal tested our character as we had dominated the game, missed the penalty, but could have been five or six up. Thankfully, though, Joe Holvey, who was outstanding, went straight back up the other end and restored the two-goal lead.”
Loxwood: Smith, Holvey (Familton 88), Colbran, French, Warren, Todd, Napper, Swaine, Williams (Wood 71), Moore, Andrade (Gritt 80). Unused: Milbarrow, Pritchard.