Lavant secured their first Division II league win of the season in this thriller at Lavant green. Striker Chris Bowles came close twice within the opening minutes of the game with a right foot shot and then a header following some excellent build up play orchestrated by Dave Kent and Andy Strange in midfield. The home sides early ascendancy was rewarded by two goals from Stuart Loversidge in the 9th and 18th minutes on his debut match for Lavant, 2-0.
Shortly afterwards Lavant winger Mark Richardson almost added another but his shot rebounded off the bar. Rustington however were a talented side and executed several good passing moves especially featuring Matt Woodward and Dave Grover who persistently worked the ball forward challenging the Lavant defence. However, Lavant went off at half time maintaining their 2-0 lead.
The opening 25 minutes of the second half saw Lavant soaking up the Rustington pressure and the visitors were denied a reward for their sustained work when Ross Adams fired against the post.
Lavant weathered the storm and slowly edged back into the game, with substitute Mike Martin hitting the Rustington post from 25 yards. With 5 minutes remaining Lavant added a third when Matt Hine curled an exquisitely taken free kick, taken on the edge of the box, into the top corner of the goal giving the keeper no chance.
Rustington to their credit never gave up and deserved their 89th minute consolation goal, fired home by the ebullient Simon Finch.
Next week Lavant are at home to Seebrook Rovers in the Sussex Junior Cup. Kick-Off 3.00pm.
Team: Martin Pullen, Jon Strange, Martin Ayers, Simon Blackman, Daryl Hall, Matt Hine, Dave Kent, Andy Strange, Mark Richardson, Chris Bowles, Stuart Loversidge. Subs: Mike Martin, Ben Thomas, Mel Milburn. Manager: Dave Parker.