Petworth bounced back form last weeks defeat by Lancing to take all three valuable points in this windswept game.
The first 10 minutes of this clash defined the final result. It took 5 minutes before Petworth emerged form their half playing against the wind, during which time Lavant almost took the lead when Tom Parker headed a Daryl Hall corner just wide of the post. But Petworth scored from their first real attack when Robbie Levett seized onto a long ball as Lavant’s back four stepped up for offside and buried the ball into the back of the visitors net past stand in keeper Jon Strange, 1-0.
On only their faint excursion from their half, Petworth scored again on 10 minutes from close range in dubious circumstances, after the ball appeared earlier to have crossed the line for a goal kick. The Lavant defense remonstrated that the ball had clearly crossed the line but their appeals were in vain as referee Martin Hollins decided the goal was to stand, 2-0.
At this stage Petworth seemed to be coasting to victory especially as the visitors midfield were now sitting back far to deep and not pushing up to support Lavant strikers Stuart Loversidge and Tom Parker and therefore forcing the game into the Petworth half.
Lavant manager David Parker shouted instructions from the line to push up and play in the home teams half and this had immediate effect as Loversidge latched onto a half hearted back pass, bursting through running past two defenders and leaving the Petworth keeper stranded 20 yards outside his area to bury the ball in the back of the net and put the visitors well and truly back into the game, with 20 minutes gone, 2-1.
At half time Alan Sheppard came on for Dan Johnson and made an immediate impact for Lavant causing Petworth real problems down the right flank. However after only five minutes he suffered a bad ankle injury, adding to his miserable injury filled season and was subbed and replaced by Chris Bowles.
Lavant continued to have the better of the second half even with the wind against them and they played some flowing football but their final finishing in front of the Petworth goal just let them down. The home side managed to soak up the pressure defending well and they always looked dangerous on the breakaway with Levett and Jones up front, who between them went close on a number of occasions to extending further the lead.
Even so, when Dave Kent appeared for Lavant in midfield with 20 minutes remaining the impetus moved in favour of the visitors again. Lavant now pushed three forward with 10 minutes remaining as they piled on the pressure in an effort to snatch an equalizer, then only to see Murray Jones hit a superb unstoppable strike from 35 yards with 7 minutes remaining sealing the win for Petworth, 3-1.
On the 15th April, Lavant are away to Yapton Reserves in the Div II League. Kick-Off 3.00pm.
Team: Jon Strange, Justin Smith, Martin Ayers, Guy Pinder, Giles Weller, Dan Johnson, Matt Hine, Andy Strange, Daryl Hall, Stuart Loversidge, Tom Parker. Subs: Alan Sheppard, Chris Bowles, Dave Kent. Manager: Dave Parker.