Loxwood slipped out of the Sussex County League Division 2 Cup with a 2-0 defeat to Littlehampton last night.
Goals in each half from the impressive Jason Jarvis and substitute Nathan Peacock – with his first touch after coming on – sealed Golds’ spot in the final for the second successive season, as Dave Cocoracchio’s Magpies struggled to create clear-cut chances.
In a competitive match at Worthing United’s Lyons Farm ground, Littlehampton took the lead on 21 minutes as a low ball into the box caught out the Loxwood back four, who were flat-footed, and Jarvis latched onto the pass and poked past Sam Smith. A minute later and Smith was on his toes to tip over Billy Rayner’s effort from range to deny Littlehampton a quick-fire double.
Shaun Findlay was Loxwood’s best outlet, but he struggled to find a way past Shay Wiggins.
Although they were almost back on level terms five minutes before the break. A misplaced header from Josh Bates went straight to Paul White and he threaded through Elliott Hawkes through, only for Ross McKay – who lead the back four superbly all night – to put in a crucial block tackle.
After the break, Littlehampton had two golden chances to extend their lead. The first saw Alex Kew draw a tackle from Eddie French and turn the former Horsham defender before slotting in Michael Hendrick, who fired across the goal. Moments later and Mitchell Hand’s cross picked out a well-placed Jarvis, but he nodded over.
Loxwood’s best chance of the night came on 78 minutes in what proved a pivotal moment. French drove forward, rode a couple of tackles and back-heeled to Hawkes, but the forward put his effort wide when one-on-one with McCarthy.
The trailing side then withdrew left-back Phil Awcock and threw on another striker for the final minutes, which gave Golds the extra space they needed as they dominated the closing stages.
Within a minute of coming on, Peacock made sure of their place in the final four minutes from time as he nodded home a corner, and, despite an effort to clear it on the line, referee Duncan Brooker signalled it had crossed.
LOXWOOD: Smith; Merridew, French, Bowles, Awcock; Holvey, White, Scally, Findlay; Lyons, Hawkes. Subs: Pett, Hoole, Dingle (Awcock 84), Hirshfield.