Goddard's winning spot kick sees Loxwood edge past Alfold in the Peter Bentley Challenge Cup

Archie Goddard is congratulated by his teammates after his winning penalty saw Loxwood edge past Alfold in the Peter Bentley Challenge Cup. Picture by Ray Merridew.
Archie Goddard is congratulated by his teammates after his winning penalty saw Loxwood edge past Alfold in the Peter Bentley Challenge Cup. Picture by Ray Merridew.

Loxwood boss Gareth Neathey feels his side are gradually improving after they overcame Alfold 3-2 on penalties at home in the second round of the Peter Bentley Challenge Cup on Saturday.

In a game which offered little in the way of chances over 120 minutes, the Magpies sealed progress to the next round thanks to 16-year-old Archie Goddard’s winning penalty.

Action from Loxwood v Alfold in the Peter Bentley Challenge Cup. Picture by Ray Merridew.

Action from Loxwood v Alfold in the Peter Bentley Challenge Cup. Picture by Ray Merridew.

Neathey was pleased with Loxwood’s performance against their division-lower opponents, who he felt sat back and defended for the majority of the game.

He said: “We’ve done better in the last couple of games, we’ve changed formation slightly and they’ve taken to it well so it’s been pretty pleasing. It was quite comfortable for us overall.

“We attacked and kept the ball but we both kept each other at bay. They came with a more of a defensive plan to try and contain us rather than actually come and win the game but we just kept possession and stayed patient. It was a pretty dour 0-0.”

The Magpies last hosted Alfold in a competitive fixture in the 03/04 season and produced a thrilling 3-3 draw but this was a very different affair.

Action from Loxwood v Alfold in the Peter Bentley Challenge Cup. Picture by Ray Merridew.

Action from Loxwood v Alfold in the Peter Bentley Challenge Cup. Picture by Ray Merridew.

The two sides cancelled each other out over 90 minutes with no clear cut chances mustered up between the local rivals.

Alfold did clip the outside of the crossbar from a cross but, with Loxwood on the attack, the visitors prevented the Magpies from creating anything meaningful.

After finishing goalless after 90 minutes, the game went to extra time but still neither side found a winner in the extra half hour.

The game went to penalties and both sides contrived to miss their opening two penalties before Alfold’s ‘keeper stepped up and scored.

Archie Goddard strikes the winning penalty in Loxwood's Peter Bentley Challenge Cup shootout success over Alfold. Picture by Ray Merridew.

Archie Goddard strikes the winning penalty in Loxwood's Peter Bentley Challenge Cup shootout success over Alfold. Picture by Ray Merridew.

Matt Hards scored for Loxwood, and Alfold returned the favour. Michael Death netted the Magpies’s fourth penalty but Alfold missed their decisive pen.

It was left to youngster Goddard to step up and, with the confidence of a player twice his age, sent Loxwood into the second round.

Neathey was ecstatic with Goddard’s match winning penalty and felt this vindicated the Magpies’s philosophy of blooding youngsters.

He added: “We’ve said it from day one that the youngsters will get their chance. I looked around at some of the senior players and Archie screamed out that he wanted a penalty so I let him have it.

“It was pleasing that he wanted it and it’s doubly pleasing that he scored to give him some confidence.”

Loxwood travel to East Preston in the second round of the Sussex RUR Cup on Tuesday night (7:30 pm k.o.) before returning to league action with a home game against Langney Wanderers on Saturday.

Loxwood: Matthews, Courtney, Joels, Warren, Williams (French 110), Hards, Wood, Millborrow, Westlake, Frankland (Death 118), Bennett (Goddard 95).