Lancing picked up the necessary points to aid their challenge for promotion from Division II on Saturday in the mud and rain at the Crowshaw Ground.
Now that Lavant were likely to end up in a comfortable mid table position, manager Dave Parker decided to take this opportunity and try out a new team formation and so asked the squad to rise to the challenge of playing an ambitious three, four, three system against a skillful Lancing side that favoured playing at home on a wide pitch.
Lavant started well and almost opened the scoring in the first 10 minutes when Jon Strange flicked a Daryl Hall corner across the face of the Lancing goal past three Lavant strikers, unfortunately none of whom managed to connect.
The first 30 minutes the match remained very evenly balanced. But just as the visitors began to control the game, Lancing capitalized on a misunderstanding between Ben Thomas and Stuart Loversidge to break clear down the left hand side and put in a lovely waited cross, which was met by the incoming striker who was gifted with a free header between two Lavant defenders, which he buried into the back of the net giving Lavant keeper Martin Pullen no chance on 35 minutes, 1-0.
Within 60 seconds of the restart Lavant nearly equalized as Alan Sheppard shaved the post. Lavant played some good football in the last 10 minutes of the half, however they were unable to capitalize on several good chances and Lancing went in at half time maintaining their one goal lead.
Lavant made three substitutions after the break bring Mark Richardson, Giles Weller and Chris Bowles into the fray. The second half again saw Lavant easing into the game until central defender Martin Ayers failed to intercept a skidding ball in the mud which allowed Lancing to steal through and score, going further ahead on 53 minutes, 2-0.
The home side’s third goal on 80 minutes could not be blamed on any defensive error whatever, with the Lancing striker hitting an unstoppable shot from 25 yards, again just as Lavant were reasserting themselves and pressurizing the Lancing goal, 3-0.
Lavant still did not give up and continued battling on and for much of the remainder of the game entrenching themselves in the Lancing half, attempting to get some consolation from all their efforts in what were miserable rainy conditions. Andy Strange came close with an effort and then Chris Bowles finally pulled one back for the visitors in the final minute of the game, when he got the slightest of touches from a lovely Matt Hine cross which left the Lancing keeper stranded as to ball sailed into the back of the net, 3-1.
On the 8th April, Lavant are away to Petworth in the Div II League. Kick-Off 3.00pm.
Team: Martin Pullen, Justin Smith, Martin Ayers, Jon Strange, Ben Thomas, Matt Hine, Andy Strange, Daryl Hall, Stuart Loversidge, Tom Parker, Alan Sheppard. Subs: Giles Weller, Mark Richardson, Chris Bowles. Manager: Dave Parker.