Kieran Holmes grabbed a 75th minute consolation goal as Horsham’s youngsters were given a tough lesson by their more experienced Southern Combination Premier League opponents in last night’s opening match for Mark Hawthorne’s side. It was a baptism of fire for the newly assembled Under 23s at The Nest as they took on a near full-strength Loxwood first team for whom this was their fifth outing of a successful pre-season campaign.

Although it was soon to become apparent that the home side were by far the more organised and assured side it was actually the visitors who created the first good chance, straight from the kick-off, which was foiled by the Loxwood keeper. However, the Magpies soon got a grip on the game and their superior passing and movement began to stretch their young opponents who trailed 3-0 after twenty minutes and 5-0 by the break.

Although the home side were able to extend their commanding lead even further on fifty minutes, the Hornets showed plenty of effort and determination and produced an improved second half performance. The game became more even as a result of a number of substitutions made by both sides and, although the home side were thwarted by the woodwork a number of times, they were unable to score again but the Hornets did with a consolation goal from Kieran Holmes to make the final score 6-1.

The Loxwood scorers were Sam Cole (2), Luke Brodie (2), Matt Hards and Jay Popham.

Our thanks to Darryl Jacobs for providing the summary.

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