Mid table Lavant entertained bottom of table Yapton Reserves at the Lavant Green. With their track record this could easily have been a banana skin for the homeside but it turned out not to be the case on this occasion.
Lavant began the game well overrunning the visitors for the first 20 minutes. Stuart Loversidge forced a great fingertip save from the Yapton keeper Jake Dean after only 2 minutes. Midfielder Daryl Hall brought another top class stop from Dean after a Parker, Loversidge exchange. From the corner the woodwork was hit twice and the ball blocked on the line three times until eventually crossing over, only to be overruled for handball by Loversidge.
The inevitable happened on 6 minutes when split runs by the Lavant strikers opened up space for Lavant midfielder Simon Watling to burst through and strike the ball goal bound. His initial shot was saved by the keepers legs rebounding out, giving Watling a second chance which he duly buried in the back of the Yapton goal, giving Lavant an early lead, 1-0.
A free kick from Watling found Tom Parker whose header was again well saved by Dean. Another Hine and Watling combination set Parker free on the left of the penalty area. His cross goal shot shaved the post.
Lavant pressure brought a corner from Hall, which was skillfully flickered on by the head of Jon Strange at the near post allowing Giles Weller to rocket the ball home at close range doubling Lavant’s lead on 21 minutes, 2-0.
Ten minutes later Loversidge had the ball in the back of the Yapton net again only for the goal to be ruled out for narrowly being offside. Hard working midfielder Chris Bowles left the pitch injured shortly afterwards and was replaced by Ben Thomas.
The homeside coasting for a brief moment switched off and were rudely awakened when Yapton’s Hazelgrove hit the post. This wake up call spurned Lavant into action once more. A cute midfield pass from Parker was headed on expertly to fellow striker Loversidge whose run opened up the centre so that his cross was met by Hall’s deep run who sidefooted home on 40 minutes, 3-0.
Following the interval Lavant started the second half with renewed determination. Yapton defender Matt Davies was outstanding and it was a harsh decision when he was penalized for handling in the area. Lavant striker Tom Parker coolly strode up to dispatch his 5th penalty of the season on 62 minutes.
Again Lavant mentally switched off for a period after the fourth goal and following a Yapton freekick 16 year old Lee Woodhouse punished some poor marking to snatch a consolation goal for Yapton on 75 minutes, 4-1.
Straight from kick off Lavant responded positively with Martin Ayers starting a darting run in his own half, the ball then was passed out wide to Hall whose cross was skillfully met and back heeled in the Yapton 6 yard box by Loversidge to Ayers who’s close range shot smashed against the bar and went up and over to safety.
The introduction of Andy Strange revitalized Lavant’s attack ensuring the home side kept Yapton routed in their own half for the remainder of the game and the home side were again unlucky not to increase their lead further on 86th minutes when Strange’s goal was unfortunately ruled out for off side.
On the 18th February Lavant are away to T D Shipley in the quarterfinals of the Div II Chichester Charity cup. Kick-Off 2.00pm.
Team: Martin Pullen, Jon Strange, Martin Ayers, Guy Pinder, Giles Weller, Chris Bowles, Matt Hine, Simon Watling, Daryl Hall, Stuart Loversidge, Tom Parker. Subs: Andy Strange, Ben Thomas, Dave Kent. Manager: Dave Parker.