Thanks to a decision to exchange hosting duties and swap fixtures, AFC Uckfield Town continue their league run this weekend as they travel to Loxwood FC, looking to extend their unbeaten run to ten matches in a sixth straight match on the road, writes Will Hugall.
With the original scheduling seeing the Uckers at home, the effect of recent weather on The Oaks’ pitch and doubts over today’s forecast have seen the West Sussex side kindly offer to take up hosting duties on this occasion.
The Uckers are now set to welcome the Magpies in late March, but will have more pressing concerns this weekend in maintaining their current unbeaten run, comfortably their longest since the period between August and September 2018.
After a draw at East Preston last weekend, Anthony Storey’s side improved considerably to win 4-0 at Hassocks this midweek, securing an eighth victory and fourth clean sheet in that unbeaten spell as Liam Baitup scored twice and Phil Hawkins made a second penalty save in two games.
With records totting up and progress restarting in the league table, another positive result for the Uckers this weekend could see them jump up as high as 4th as several sides above them face one another in the same round of matches.
Hosts Loxwood will have other ideas, however, and despite not yet recording a league win this season, have demonstrated reasons for optimism recently and in almost all home matches.
Beyond a current position of 20th and a defensive record that is currently the worst in the division, the Magpies have in fact had a far more nuanced season so far, with the story not being one of abject disappointment, only of luck too often lacking.
Firstly, Alex Walsh’s side have scored in every home match, with two goals or more in nine of those fixtures, putting themselves in several positions to win. A 4-1 defeat to Peacehaven & Telscombe was only their second by more than two goals, a testament to their competitive spirit in all other matches.
Out of all cup competitions too after securing early victories – the only of their season so far – in the Peter Bentley and RUR Cups, the team on the Surrey border can now focus entirely on league action, where they will be hopeful of replicating former heroics against the Uckers.
While Storey’s team are unbeaten in the last five matches between the sides – winning three times – it was the Magpies who had the better of the six previous ties before that, winning on five occasions between 2013 and 2017.
At this stage roughly one third through the season, this meeting is sure to produce another tough battle for a vital three points ahead of an all-important coming few weeks, and will hopefully be another classic in the history between the two.
Loxwood FC v AFC Uckfield Town kicks off at 3 p.m. this afternoon at The Nest (Loxwood, RH14 0SX), with directions to the ground available here; http://www.loxwoodfc.co.uk/location.html.
Entry is £6 for Adults, £5 for Over 65s / Students, and free for Under-18s.
Updates will be available throughout the match from the @AfcUckfieldTown Twitter page, while a full report from the match will also be available here in the hours after the match.
Come on you Uckers!
Image – Mike Skinner