Lavant were knocked out of the Division II Chichester Charity cup in this semi-final clash at the Lavant Green in front of a large crowd.
The homeside started brightly and forced a succession of corners ending in a goal mouth melee that produced a controversial decision from referee Mark Weller. Lavant contended that striker Tom Parker’s header had crossed the line by a yard before being hooked out of the net by Pulborough’s fullback. After counseling the linesman the goal was eventually denied by the referee.
Six minutes later, in the 16th minute, Pulborough went ahead when Lavant keeper Martin Pullen punched away a long throw only for it to be drilled back through a nick of players, under the keepers body and into the net, 0-1. The homeside however were on level terms within 30 seconds of the restart as Stuart Loversidge latched onto a Lavant through ball and beat the Pulborough keeper from 12 yards, 1-1.
Use of the long ball by the visitors left two Lavant defenders facing three opponents. Instead of hitting the ball to safety, they tried to play their way out of trouble and lost the ball, leaving Robbie Simmonds to capitalize on the mistake and put the Pulborough into the lead on 27 minutes, 1-2. Lavant then sat deep and invited pressure until but were thankfully rescued by the half time whistle.
Lavant manager Dave Parker changed the formation at the start of the second half in order to try and win the game by playing with three strikers and this gamble seemed to pay off as within 3 minutes of the restart when Matt Hine’s corner bent sweetly straight into the top of the net, giving the keeper no chance.
The game, which was always played with much gusto, was now evenly balanced until Lavant full back Daryl Hall was adjudged to have fouled his opponent just inches inside the penalty area. Pulborough’s central defender calmly stepped up and hammered the ball into the top corner of the net giving the Pullen no chance with only 18 minutes remaining.
The visitors defended well for the remainder of the game battling hard together to protect their lead. Lavant’s Loversidge and Robbie Pinder came close to leveling the score in the closing stages but Pulborough held on to win through and now face Newtown Villa in the final of the Div II Charity Cup.
And for Lavant they need to pick themselves up and concentrate starting next week on ensuring they secure their place within Division II in their remaining 5 matches.
On the 18th March Lavant are away to Hunston CC in the Div II League. Kick-Off 3.00pm.
Team: Martin Pullen, Justin Smith, Martin Ayers, Guy Pinder, Daryl Hall, Ben Thomas, Matt Hine, Jon Strange, Mark Richardson, Stuart Loversidge, Tom Parker. Subs: Andy Strange, Robbie Pinder, Chris Bowles. Manager: Dave Parker.