Match report by Dean Allchin
Eastbourne United AFC fell to an opening day SCFL Premier League defeat yesterday (12 August), after Loxwood left The Oval with a 1-2 victory.
United were victims of their own downfall, with both goals coming after allowing Loxwood too much time and space in the defensive third.
There was a debut for Max Howell after missing the FA Cup victory over Little Common, while Peter Cooper came into the starting XI as Mike Ginno and Lucas Mann were the players replaced.
The opening half hour was a scrappy affair, with Loxwood having arguably the better of the openings as Michael Wood forced Phil Hawkins into a smart save and also saw a header cleared off the line later on.
United’s best chance of the half came from Ollie Sotoyinbo as he capitalised on a defensive error to go one-on one with Sam Smith, but the Loxwood ‘keeper was equal to Sotoyinbo’s effort.
Adil Salih saw a free kick go harmlessly over the bar towards the end of the half as teams went into the break goalless.
The second half began slowly, with United not imposing their dynamic, sharp style, but had a glorious chance to take the lead as Howell split the Loxwood defenders and rolled a left footed effort past Smith, but the ball rolled tantalisingly wide of the post and out for a goal kick.
The miss would prove to be costly though as within 90 seconds, Loxwood had taken the lead as Michael Wood’s deep cross found the unmarked Adam Williams, who had time to bring the ball under control and fire through the legs of Hawkins.
Fresh legs were introduced, with Tyler O’Callaghan and Ginno entering the action amidst a positional reshuffle.
O’Callaghan saw an opportunistic lob fall on top of the netting, before getting his reward in the 75th minute as he was on the end of a whipped cross by Howell to slot home at the second attempt to draw United level.
O’Callaghan could have put United ahead three minutes later as he rounded Smith, but the United youngster was unable to get his shot away cleanly as Smith recovered to gather the ball.
As the clock began to tick down inside the final ten minutes, Loxwood struck a diagonal free kick to Williams, who was afforded the luxury of being able to pick out his man with an inch perfect cross as Ollie Moore headed home the eventual winner for the visitors.