A freezing cold day and a swirling wind greeted these two combatants in this hard fought local Division II derby.
Lavant overcame their lack luster performance of the previous week and it became quickly evident that both teams were mentally focused on the match in hand. The majority of the first half was therefore generally battled out in the midfield zone as each team defended their goals well. Lavant had a number of good chances from a succession of corners but were unable to make them count and take advantage of the prevailing wind in the first half.
Holden was excellent for the homeside. Acting as target man he held the ball well and brought the midfield into the game. His efforts eventually manufactured a move that almost gave Chi Hospitals the lead, when the Hospitals winger broke free on the left hand side, however his final shot was palmed onto the cross bar and to safety by Lavant’s stand-in keeper Dave Kent ensuring that the tie remained goalless at half time.
The visitors started the second half well working as a much more compact unit and forcing Chichester Hospitals to continually play the ball across the field and in front of the defence, not allowing them to be able to take full advantage of the strong wind.
Lavant’s Mike Martin had been brought forward from his role as full back in the first half into central midfield and just before the hour Martin latched onto a great Lavant move initiated by Stuart Loversidge and turned into the box by ex-Chi Hospitals player Daryl Hall. Parker’s run pulled a defender wide and as third man running Martin burst through into the spare space collected the ball, ran around the outcoming keeper and side footed the ball into the net giving Lavant the lead, 0-1.
Veteran Steve Jeffkins orchestrated Hospital’s continued attempts to get on equal terms, putting the Lavant defense of Jon Strange, Martin Ayers, Guy Pinder and Daryl Hall under periods of continued pressure and forcing Dave Kent in the Lavant goal to pull of a number of breathtaking saves.
With the introduction of the experienced Lavant substitute Simon Watling who with immediate effect started controlling the pace of the game in midfield and Martin’s replacement Andy Strange shoring up the defence, Lavant held on to the end, maintaining their slender lead and ensuring they took all three valuable points.
On the 4th February Lavant are home to Yapton Reserves in the Div II League. Kick-Off 2.00pm.
Team: Dave Kent, Mike Martin, Martin Ayers, Jon Strange, Giles Weller, Dan Johnson, Chris Bowles, Matt Hine, Daryl Hall, Stuart Loversidge, Tom Parker. Subs: Andy Strange, Simon Watling, Guy Pinder. Manager: Dave Parker.