Lavant continued their 100% league form for 2006 by inflicting only the second league Div II defeat this season on the high flying Lancing Utd.
The homeside were first out of the blocks and dominated the first 20 minutes of this enthralling match on the green and Lavant’s early pressure was soon rewarded when the homeside were awarded a freekick in the opponents ‘d’ on the edge of the area. Leading goalscorer Tom Parker stepped up and confidently bent the ball low around the Lancing wall into the bottom corner of the net on 5 minutes, 1-0.
Parker was there again to end a great Lavant move with a stinging 16 yard shot which produced a great save from the Lancing keeper Dale Jones. From the ensuing corner the ball bobbled about in the Lancing penalty area before Parker scored from a stunning overhead kick to put Lavant 2-0 ahead on 20 minutes.
Lancing however is a team of great class and worked hard to get back into the game. Minutes later Andrew Bartlett collect the ball out wide on the right for the visitors then skipped past the fullback Giles Weller and crossed to the incoming Chris Lawrence at the near post who side footed the ball into the back of the net on 27 minutes, 2-1.
The visitors showed great character and worked hard in their fight back and forced a corner 6 minutes before half time. The resulting in swinger was beaten down by the Lavant keeper Martin Pullen at the near post but the ball fell loose and into the path of Chris Mahony who drilled the ball into the back of the net putting the visitors on level terms, 2-2. Lavant soaked up the pressure for the remainder of the half but relied on Pullen pulling off a great save to keep the homeside on level terms going into the break.
The second half was a delight to watch. Pullen made two more fine saves as Lancing continued to pile on the pressure. Lavant then made some key substitutions in an effort to inject palpable energy into the homeside, with Robbie Pinder, Mike Martin and Chris Bowles all entering the fray. This seemed to work and the game was now evenly balanced and wide open as both teams failed to take chances to take the lead. However with a quarter of an hour remaining and with no one breaking the deadlock it look that the game was heading for a draw.
As observed in previous matches, Lavant have tended to defend too deep in the last 15 minutes of the game. However on this occasion they seemed to have learnt their lesson and continued to press Lancing back into their own half. The result was that this time the late goal fell to Lavant when Stuart Loversidge was released on 83 minutes by a penetrating pass from Matt Hine. The Lavant striker held off a strong challenge from Lancing’s central defender to fire the ball under the body of the advancing keeper and secure all three points, capping a great performance from the whole Lavant squad.
On the 21st January Lavant are home to Lodsworth in the Div II League. Kick-Off 2.00pm.
Team: Martin Pullen, Justin Smith, Jon Strange, Martin Ayers, Giles Weller, Ben Thomas, Andy Strange, Matt Hine, Daryl Hall, Stuart Loversidge, Tom Parker. Subs: Robbie Pinder, Chris Bowles, Mike Martin. Manager: Dave Parker.