Dominant Dorking Down Magpies
It was a baptism of fire to begin the 2020-21 campaign away to league leaders Dorking Wanderers Blues. From the off, the home side dominated and demonstrated why they are top of the U15 league. They were strong in key areas, played neat triangles throughout the pitch and found penetrating passes into the gaps. The Magpies defended resolutely, but a slip in defence led to Dorking's first goal, a surging run into the box, nice cut-back and the ball was swept home from a few yards out. Minutes later, the second went in off the under-side of the crossbar, leaving Welch with no chance in goal. The pattern continued with wave upon wave of Dorking attacks and it looked like Loxwood would be in for a very tough day, conceding 7 goals before half time.
But this is Loxwood. The boys never give up. With Freddie Phillips switched to an unfamiliar role at the centre of defence alongside Hamish Ramsay, Loxwood had pace, strength and calm heads from which to build. Gone was the team that kicked and hoped, replaced by one that started to find simpler 5 and 10 yard passes. We were stronger into tackles and showed greater intensity to start pressuring Dorking and prevent them finding their rhythm. With possession, the Magpies gained confidence and began to hold their own. Dorking still created openings, but the defence of Josh Arnold, Freddie, Hamish, Toby Chandler and later Ben Hicken were quick to snuff the opposition out. The home side did get past the back four a few times, but when they did, Eron Welch was more than up to the challenge in goal. Harry Robertson and Matt Novell exerted their influence in attack and Loxwood began to create one or two openings. Robertson went close, but dragged his shot wide and Novell looked as though he had been felled in the box as he looked to sweep home from a good Dorking keeper save following Ramsay's rasping drive. The second half looked to be heading for a stalemate, when Loxwood were awarded a free kick 30 yards from goal with a few minutes left. With the wind behind him, Phillips sent in a lofted ball that bounced awkwardly for the keeper and under pressure from Robertson, looped into the back of the net.
Such was the turnaround, that a 7 - 1 defeat felt almost like a victory. The spirit and desire the Magpies showed in the second half was a great credit to the boys and bodes well for the rest of the season.
Team: Eron Welch, Josh Arnold, Ben Hicken, Toby Chandler, Freddie Phillips, Harry Comber, Louis Horsley, Tom Pearce, Matt Novell, Evan Jones, Michael Maybury, Will Percy, Harry Robertson, Hamish Ramsay
Goal: Freddie Phillips
MoM: Freddie Phillips