Lavant bounced back from last weeks Sussex Junior Cup defeat to win this hard fought, physical local derby.
With Steve Jeffkins and Kevin Fogden orchestrating the visitor’s play from deep, Chi Hospitals held the early initiative. Ironically, it was just as Lavant pieced together several attacks of flowing football in the visitors half that the Chi Hospitals broke away on the right hand side and Rob Butchers subsequent shot could only be palmed into the net by the Lavant keeper on 16 minutes, giving the visitors a surprised lead, 0-1.
Lavant restarted with the same momentum as before and immediately put visitors defence under pressure, resulting with Dan Johnson unleashing an unstoppable shot just outside the box into the very top corner of goal leveling the score on 21 minutes, 1-1.
Two minutes later Lavant midfielder Matt Hine was upended in the area and was awarded a penalty, which Tom Parker coolly converted giving Lavant a 2-1 lead.
From regaining possession from a corner Lavant’s Daryl Hall headed across goal allowing striker Stuart Loversidge to pounced and scored at close range. The goal however was somehow ruled out for offside and in the confusion, Chi Hospitals took full advantage taking a quick free kick catching Lavant out of position with Pat Nagle meeting Butchers cross to give the visitors an equalizer one minute before half time, 2-2.
Chichester Hospitals started the second half with fresh enthusiasm and whereas Lavant had most of the possession in the first half, the visitors dominated the second.
Nagle again scored for Chi Hospitals but this time his goal was also disallowed as the linesman had flagged for the ball going out back on the half way line. Martin Pullen also pulled off two international class reflex saves, one mistakenly from Lavant fullback Martin Ayers to keep the home side in the game.
Lavant managed to hold firm and adsorbed the visitors pressure, counterattacking in the visitor half when possible and with 10 minutes remaining Lavant substitute Robbie Pinder latched onto a perfect cross from Stuart Loversidge to volley the ball up and over the Chi Hospitals keeper and into the back of the net to give Lavant the lead once more, 3-2.
Further substitutes Chris Bowles and Mike Martin brought fresh legs to the home side as Chi Hospitals tried in vein to draw level. Pinder in the closing minutes had two golden chances to wrap up the game but both shots went wide of the mark. However his earlier strike eventually proved enough to secure Lavant all three points.
Next week Lavant are away to Clymping Reserves in the Div II League. Kick-Off 2.00pm.
Team: Martin Pullen, Jon Strange, Martin Ayers, Simon Blackman, Giles Weller, Dan Johnson, Tom Parker, Matt Hine, Daryl Hall, Stuart Loversidge, Simon Watling. Subs: Mike Martin, Chris Bowles, Robbie Pinder. Manager: Dave Parker.