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Walsh warns Loxwood against complacency in visit to fellow relegation fighters Eastbourne United



Loxwood boss Alex Walsh has warned his side against complacency ahead of their crunch trip to bottom-of-the-table Eastbourne United in the Premier Division on Saturday.

Although United are the division’s basement side, they have seen a huge improvement in performances and results since Arron Hopkinson took charge at The Oval in December.

Cut adrift at the bottom before Hopkinson’s appointment, the Whites now find themselves three-points shy of Premier Division safety.

Loxwood met Eastbourne United back in October and the Magpies picked up a resounding 5-1 home victory, in what proved to be former manager Gareth Neathey’s only league win before his departure.

A lot has changed at Plaistow Road since that result. The subsequent appointment of Walsh at the end of October has seen Loxwood shoot up to 15th in the table and six points clear of the drop.

Despite a gap of nine-points and five-places between the two, the Magpies boss has called for focus from his squad against a side ‘scrapping for their lives’.

SEE ALSO Loxwood’s dressing room deflation after Saltdean defeat ‘shows just how far the players have come’ | Loxwood reap the benefit of ‘a tighter-knit group of players’ as they move away from the drop zone | Loxwood manager Walsh praises team’s character despite Horsham YMCA defeat
Walsh said: “I wouldn’t say we should be winning. I don’t think we can be that complacent yet.

“We feel it’s going to be a very, very tough game. They’re scrapping for their lives as we are.

“Credit to their guys. When I came in with Nathan (Bowen, Loxwood assistant manager) and Owen (Matthews, Magpies goalkeeping coach), they were a side that was on two points.

“I’ve got a massive amount of respect for the guys there. They’re trying to do their bit in turning it around there.”

“On Saturday we’re not going to sit back, we’re going to go for it again.”

Loxwood are sweating on the fitness of just one of their players going into their battle at the bottom. The Magpies are hoping to welcome back Sam Karl after the forward missed Saturday’s home defeat against Saltdean United with the flu.

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Horsham’s game management praised in tough conditions at basement boys Greenwich Borough



Horsham’s game management was praised as they overcame difficult conditions away to basement boys Greenwich Borough on Saturday.

Goals early in each half from Joe Shelley and Chris Smith from the penalty spot gave the Hornets their 18th win of the season.

Greenwich Borough v Horsham. Chris Smith steps up for his penalty. Picture by John Lines

Greenwich Borough v Horsham. Chris Smith steps up for his penalty. Picture by John Lines

It kept them second in the Bostik League South East Division and with victories for all the fellow play-off chasers, maintains their narrow lead over Ashford United, Hastings United and Haywards Heath.

Hornets manager Dominic Di Paola was pleased with their performance as they battled swirling winds and a fairly poor playing surface in south east London.

He said: “I think the conditions made it really hard. The combination of the pitch being quite poor and the wind – although most people would have had an issue with the wind over the weekend.

“Trying to manage those things against a team this is fighting for their life at the bottom made it hard.

Greenwich Borough v Horsham. Lee Harding and Harvey Sparks. Picture by John Lines

Greenwich Borough v Horsham. Lee Harding and Harvey Sparks. Picture by John Lines

“The boys were brilliant, it was not a vintage footballing performance, but I was really happy with how they dealt with things.

“We knew what to expect with the pitch and it wasn’t the best, but you have to get on with it. We could have easily come unstuck up there so it’s another important three points.”

In their battle to beat the drop, Greenwich made four signings during the week and started all of them in Jack Sammoutis, Charlie Allen, Teshuane Tyreece-Walters and Theo Fairweather-Johnson.

The Hornets made two changes from the defeat at Cray Wanderers with Steve Metcalf replacing the injured Lewis Hyde and Chris Smith coming in for Dan Pearse, who begun a three match suspension.

The visitors led after just four minutes when Lee Harding’s free-kick picked out the arriving Shelley to glance in a header past young Crystal Palace loanee goalkeeper Ollie Webber.

Greenwich responded with two decent chances as Tyreece-Walters twice headed over.

Smith saw his squeezed attempt blocked by Webber and Jack Brivio curled just wide, before Smith crossed for Harding, but he someone fired over from close range.

The wind got worse in the second half, but again the Hornets profited from a defensive mistake nine minutes after the restart. Referee Jonathan Bolland spotted a shove on Shelley and instantly pointed to the spot. Smith had to re-spot the ball after it had blown off, yet held his nerve to stroke the ball down the middle of the goal.

Greenwich continued to ask questions and a couple of blocks were required from Shelley and Josh Pelling as well a save pair of hands from a Joe Wicks drive.

At the other end, Smith looked like he would make it three, but Tyrell Richardson-Brown’s lay-off took a bobble at the last moment. Greenwich’s Olutoysi Olusanya was also denied by Pelling as Horsham claimed the points.

Horsham: Pelling, Metcalf, Shelley, Merchant, Sparks, Harding, O’Toole, Brivio (Lovegrove 87), Hayward, Lavery (Richardson-Brown 73), Smith. Unused: Hyde, Kirkwood, Hogan.

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Young-gun Ryder praised by Horsham YMCA boss as his double helps to sink Lancing



Peter Buckland hailed the impact of young-gun Jack Ryder as his double fired Horsham YMCA to a 4-2 away win over nine-man Lancing in the Premier Division on Saturday.

On a blustery day, Ryder opened the scoring for the Gorings Mead-outfit before Matt Daniel drew the Lancers level.

Tony Nwachukwu (left) made it 3-1 to YM.

Tony Nwachukwu (left) made it 3-1 to YM.

Three goals in the last 15 minutes of the first-half from Ryder, Tony Nwachukwu and Dean Bown gave YM a 4-1 lead at the break.

Lancing were then reduced to nine-men before Daniel pulled a goal back for the hosts.

But second-placed YMCA held on to keep the pressure on table-toppers Chichester City and record their sixth consecutive league victory.

Buckland said: “Every time we go down to the coast we seem to be playing in a gale and it was absolutely hideous again.

Dean Bown (centre, red) netted his seventh goal in five games to put YM 4-1 up at the break.

Dean Bown (centre, red) netted his seventh goal in five games to put YM 4-1 up at the break.

“We were with the gale in the first-half and then defending it in the second-half.

“Fortunately you’ve got the option of keeping it down and playing on the ground there and we did that superbly.

“At 4-1 up the result was never in doubt although Dean Carden made an uncharacteristic clanger.

“I was particularly pleased with the football we played in such conditions.

“We got our noses in front and we got the game, without sounding blasé, pretty much won at half-time.

“If anything we played better second-half. We should have at least had another two goals.

“All things considered it was a very good performance and the youngsters yet again did really well.”

SEE ALSO Buckland believes Horsham YMCA have been rejuvenated by returning defender and reborn striker | Buckland hails Horsham YMCA’s youngsters as win over Arundel sees them up to second | Horsham YMCA make it three league wins a row in spite of ‘farcical conditions’
YM opened the scoring on 14 minutes after a lovely passing move culminated in Ryder finishing well.

Skipper Carden then made a rare slip to allow Daniel to equalise on 27 minutes.

Four minutes later and YMCA went back in the lead after Ryder headed home from an Alex Barbary free-kick.

An exquisite run and finish from Nwachukwu increased the advantage on 37 minutes before Bown made it four on half-time.

The hosts were then reduced to nine-men. A melee in the middle of the park saw Alex Bygraves given a straight red and soon after Dean Hunter-Stewart went for a second yellow.

Daniel reduced the arrears with eleven minutes to go but YM held on to extend their unbeaten league run to nine games.

Buckland added: “Jack is learning game-by-game. We’re talking to him all the time and the senior players are helping him out.

“He plays too much of the game with his back to goal for my liking instead of looking for options in behind them.

“He’s taken that on board and lo-and-behold he gets behind the defence for the first goal and finishes well.

“The second one was just a really good header from a beautiful delivery from Alex Barbary.”

YM host second-from-bottom Eastbourne United on Saturday.

Horsham YMCA: Jeal, Carden, Harding, Gilbert, Mobsby (Ross 65), Gedling, Nwachukwu (Frankland 82), Barbary, Bown (Wadhams 77), Ryder, Hartley. Unused: Pavlovic, Eales.

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‘We will be happy just to be in the play-off places’ – Horsham fully focussed on the run-in



Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola says they have quickly put last weekend’s defeat at champions elect Cray Wanderers behind them and admitted they will be happy with any of the play-off spots this season.

The Hornets remain second in the Bostik League South East Division in what has become an extremely tight race for places second down to fifth.

Horsham now just have a one-point lead over Ashford United, who have a game in hand, and two over fourth-placed Hastings United.

Haywards Heath, who have also played a game less, trail by three points.

Di Paola has stressed they will be pleased to finish anywhere in the top five behind runaway leaders Cray, who beat them 2-0 on Saturday.

The manager said: “From my point of view we are doing really well pushing where we are, so it doesn’t really matter.

“With seven games to go, where we end up is where we end up. We will be happy just to be in the play-off places come the end of the season.

“And if we are there, then you never know what can happen.

“We have only been second for a couple of weeks of the whole season. Hastings have spent the vast majority of the season there and Ashford for a few weeks as well.

“All we want to do is finish as strong as we can now. We have played our absolute hardest game, but we do still have some tough ones.”

On Saturday’s top-of-the-table defeat, Di Paola added: “None of the boys were too disappointed. Sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say they are a very good team. They should have gone up last year and failed and they are the best team I have come up against.”

Horsham’s attention now switches to a trip to Greenwich Borough, whom while bottom of the table, have been in better form since the appointment of new managers Steve O’Boyle and Steve Sallis at the end of January.

Di Paola is expecting no gimme from the improving outfit and said: “They are in really good form and have lost just one out of their last four which isn’t bad for a team that, on paper, is bottom of the league.

“I am quite friendly with the assistant manager up there and their boys will be bang up for it. We will have to be at our best as we are not playing them at the best time.”

Horsham maybe without Jack Brivio, who has been suffering with illness, while Lewis Hyde is expect to be sidelined for a week with a groin strain.

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