Newly promoted Lodsworth weathered an opening half hour onslaught from visitors Lavant in this Division II contest. Playing a high tempo and good passing game Lavant dominated play taking full advantage of the downward slope of the pitch.
Unfortunately Lavant could not however convert their opportunities into goals. Striker Simon Watling blasted over an empty net after rounding two defenders and the Lodsworth keeper. When he eventually converted a cross from Stuart Loversidge, his goal was disallowed for an infringement on the keeper. Then another Loversidge pass across the face of the goal saw Matt Hine come just inches away from opening the scoring.
Graham Wilson tried to relieve the pressure by engineering most of Lodworth’s few excursions from their own half and somehow Lodsworth held on, with the visitors seeing half time arrive goalless despite having had two thirds of the possession and six good scoring opportunities go begging.
Lavant played some good football in the first half however now with an upward slope and determined tackling by the home side to contend with, the match devolved into a hard close battle. Russel Lauman was outstanding for Lodsworth continually trying to thread balls through the visitor’s two banks of defenders, ensuring that Lavant’s attacks were now somewhat more restricted, but Daryl Hall almost managed to opened the scoring however his 30-yard high-level lob rebounded of the Lodsworth bar.
Daryl Hall was pushed forward when Giles Weller took his place as full back and gradually Lavant started getting behind the Lodsworth defence on the left. It was from one such opening that Stuart Loversidge pulled down a cross from the left, span around on a sixpence and rifled the ball into the far corner of the net on 68 minutes breaking the deadlock, 0-1.
Lodsworth never gave up the battle and the ubiquitous Paul White fired just wide in the dying minutes after Lavant had brought on full back Simon Blackman in an attempt to defend their lead.
In the end the amount of energy required to maintain a high tempo pressing game by Lavant could not be maintained against Lodsworth, but the visitors held firm and ground out a deserved win to carry them to mid table.
Next week Lavant are home to Yapton Reserves in the Div II Charity Cup. Kick-Off 3.00pm.
Team: Martin Pullen, Justin Smith, Martin Ayers, Jon Strange, Daryl Hall, Robbie Pinder, Andy Strange, Tom Parker, Matt Hine, Simon Watling, Stuart Loversidge. Subs: Mike Martin, Giles Weller, Simon Blackman. Manager: Dave Parker.