Sunday, 17 January 2016

Loxwood 2 v 1 Worthing United

(Second Half Only)
Saturday 16th January 2015
Plaistow Road, Loxwood
Southern Combination League Premier Division
Attendance: 55
Match Rating: 3

Following my earlier game at Alfold, I jumped in the car and drove 10 minutes south back from Surrey into West Sussex, to catch the second half of this match two divisions above the match I watched earlier.

Plaistow Road is located a mile south of the small village of Loxwood. The football ground is approached by crossing over a cricket field, and a large attractive dark coloured pavilion clubhouse, before spectators are guided through the entrance with some attractive welcome signs. Once inside, the ground has certainly been transformed since my last visit in 2007, when the club played intermediate football in Division Three of the Sussex County League. The pitch has been rotated 90 degrees, and now there is a metallic all-seater stand straddling the half way line, and a wooden stand covering standing area behind one of the goals. There is no hard standing along the length opposite the all-seater stand. It's a rather unique venue, nestled quite tightly amongst fir trees, and has a really pleasantly rural feel to it.

Loxwood came into this game in ninth place, with 11 wins and a draw from their 19 games, whilst Worthing United were in 16th place in the 20 team division, with four wins and five draws from their 17 games played so far. It has been a difficult season for Worthing United, who lost two of their first team players to the Shoreham Air Show tragedy in August, and as a result, numbers 1 and 11 have been used since. This would be the first time the two teams have met this season. The half time scoreline at this game was 1-1, with Worthing United taking the lead on 13 minutes with Patrick Rose scoring, only for Loxwood's Oliver Moore to equalise just a minute later , but Worthing United's task was made more difficult when their centre back Grant Philpott was sent off for abusive language to one of the officials shortly before half time.

The second half was a real battle for the most part, with few goalscoring chances, but Loxwood took the lead on 72 minutes. A corner was overhit and fell to Michael Wood, and he drove towards to penalty area before unleashing a powerful shot which when inside the keeper's near post despite the keeper getting a hand to the ball. They thought they had doubled their lead but had a goal ruled out for offside. Worthing United pushed hard for an equaliser, forcing a few corners, but with the last action of the game, Loxwood forced an excellent flying save by the visiting keeper. But they had done enough to secure the three points which, based on the second half that I saw, they deserved.

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