The difference in class between premiership division team Loxwood and two divisions below them Lavant was evidenced in the score-line in this third round Centenary Cup clash.
Throughout, the homeside were full of movement with great inside out and outside in diagonal runs in the attacking third. However, Lavant also compounded this difference in divisions by freezing like “rabbits in the car headlights.” The visitors stood off most tackles and Lavant keeper Martin Pullen seemed untypically routed to the spot when Craig Grantham was set free to score on 6 and 11 minutes, 2-0.
Another elementary mistake by captain and central defender Martin Ayers then let Nick Heaton in for Loxwood’s third on the half hour, 3-0.
After a great save by Pullen, the Lavant keeper then went on a wild Groebelar chase out of his goal only to see Allcock fire into the vacant net on 37 minutes, making it 4-0.
The only Loxwood goal not gifted by Lavant came 3 minutes from half time when Grantham completed his hat-trick, 5-0.
Whatever happened in the Lavant dressing room, the visitors came out a different team for the second half. The individual nerves and mistakes had gone; the team began playing as a cohesive unit and Loxwood had to work much harder forcing the best out of the homeside.
Stuart Loverside hooked a left lob just over the bar for Lavant and substitute Tom Parker’s shot went over the bar from close range, adding to his recent repertoire of misses, all in an attempt get Lavant on the score sheet. However Loxwood still maintained control of the game and their ultimate superiority was eventually converted into further goals, firstly when Grantham scored a terrific goal on 57 minutes and secondly when Sawyer pounced the quickest and scored on 79 minutes after Pullen had pulled off a magnificent save turning a close range shot onto his cross bar, 7-0.
At the final whistle, Loxwood the current cup holders easily advanced into the next round of the competition. Lavant however who clearly never turned up for the first half of this game, but did re-group and play more as a team second half, battling for each other and the club, need to at least take the positives from this match and build on the spirit, organization and self belief shown in the second half performance and carry this over into the forthcoming weeks league programme.
Next week Lavant are away to Rustington Reserves in the Div II League. Kick-Off 2.00pm.
Team: Martin Pullen, Mike Martin, Jon Strange, Martin Ayers, Giles Weller, Dan Johnson, Andy Strange, Matt Hine, Daryl Hall, Stuart Loversidge, Robbie Pinder. Subs: Tom Parker, Dave Kent. Manager: Dave Parker.