This Division II Cup Quarter Final had everything; courage, commitment, skill, dramatic sendings off and a nail biting finish.
The visitors forced a fine save from Shipley keeper Dan Have early on in the game when Lavant striker Tom Parker tried a long range shot 10 minutes into the game. The visitors came close again 2 minutes later as Stuart Loversidge broke clear on the right and Parker touched his cross into the path of Ben Thomas, whose shot 10 yards out was blocked. Within seconds Lavant’s keeper Martin Pullen was in action as he saved heroically at the feet of Jason Edridge.
The visitors responded with a well worked move involving one touch play by Justin Smith, Thomas and Parker ending with Mark Richardson’s shot being hooked off the line, only for the ball to fall to Matt Hine who’s goal bound shot was again superbly saved by Have.
Play then swung to the Lavant goal as Shipley applied 10 minutes of increasing pressure, including 4 corner kicks which required good defending by Lavant captain Martin Ayers and full back Guy Pinder and four more fine saves from Pullen to ensure the score remained goalless.
Again Lavant responded as Loversidge came close on 41 minutes and then Parker was set free only to have his shot saved by the legs of the keeper and the ball run out to safety 60 seconds before half time, 0-0.
The second half was just as furious with the visitors coming close with a shot from Hine and then Shipley coming equally as close at the other end only again to be thwarted by Pullen in the Lavant goal. Shipley were awarded a free kick which was struck goal bound until Pullen yet again pulled off a breathtaking one handed save from the ubiquitous Edridge. The Lavant keeper won the man of the match award when he pulled off two further great saves, as the visitors again survived Shipley’s onslaught and then emerge again to mount another offensive. A magical spate of one touch football from Daryl Hall, Hine and Richardson put Loversidge clear on the left, whose deep cross was met by Parker who took it on to beat Have and break the deadlock, putting Lavant into the lead on 58 minutes, 0-1.
The game now raged from end to end with Powell orchestrating Shipley’s efforts and Lavant central defender Guy Pinder marshalling the Lavant defense. With Lavant trying to hang on to the lead Shipley started to press the Lavant goal and their relentless effort was rewarded as the visitors failed to defend a corner when Ross Widows fired into the roof of the net on 75 minutes, 1-1.
Minutes later referee Andrew Webb then sent off a Shipley player for his second bookable offense. With only ten minutes of the game remaining, both sides committed every drop of energy and stretched every sinew as they battled to end the game in normal time and with seconds remaining Lavant’s Matt Hine found himself clear in the box one on one with the keeper but yet again his shot was skillfully saved by Have, there ending the game all even at 1-1 after 90 minutes and requiring both teams to have to play out extra time.
Five minutes into the first period of extra time Lavant were also reduced to 10 men when keeper Pullen was to adjudged to have handled the ball inches outside the area as he dive to prevent the Shipley striker scoring.
Sixty seconds into the second period of extra time Stuart Loversidge skipped past his marker on the left, beat off a tackle from a second defender and then bore in on goal drilling the ball home and scoring what proved to be the winner, 1-2. Shortly afterwards Shipley were reduced to 9 men as the frustration of Lavant’s second goal spilled over a Shipley player attempted to stamp on Hine laying on the floor directly in front of the referee.
Shipley still valiantly tried to equalize but Lavant again having an extra man advantage were able to keep possession of the ball and see out the remaining 10 minutes of extra time.
At the final whistle both teams were absolutely exhausted. It was impossible not to feel sympathy for TD Shipley who suffered only their second defeat of the season, but Lavant march onto the semi-finals.
Lavant next week are now at home to Pulborough in the semi-finals of the Div II Chichester Charity cup. Kick-Off 3.00pm.
Team: Martin Pullen, Justin Smith, Martin Ayers, Guy Pinder, Daryl Hall, Ben Thomas, Matt Hine, Mike Martin, Mark Richardson, Stuart Loversidge, Tom Parker. Subs: Jon Strange, Andy Strange, Giles Weller. Manager: Dave Parker.