Fishbourne 3 Lavant 1
Two goals in one minute of the second half by promotion chasing, Fishbourne gave them the 3 points they deserved from this Div 2 battle for second place.
All started well for the visitors as they absorbed early Fishbourne pressure and struck from counter-attacks. One of these led to Lavant striker, Stuart Loversidge being upended in the box and midfielder, Ben Evans coolly converted the spot kick with 16 mins on the clock.
Evans fired over the bar 5 mins late. But Fishbourne’s Anthony Wills and Andy Hounsome had control of the midfield and the homeside continued to press for an equaliser, which came when Lavant cleared a Fishbourne corner only as far as the edge of the box where, Simon Oakes drove the ball through a crowded area into the net.
The score being level at half-time was a fair reflection of the game but when Lavant returned for the second half ,having been forced to make two changes due to injury, they conceded twice in rapid succession before they appear to have settled.
When Mike Neville fouled Fishbourne’s Mike Green on the edge of the area, Duncan Terry drove the resulting free kick low in the bottom corner to put the homeside in front.
Within a minute Gary Jefkins had added another after keeper, Chris Bowles save was hooked into the net by the central defender.
Lavant never recovered although an attempt to lift their spirits by the coaching staff led to a renewed effort with Evans close range shot being saved by Rochester in the Fishbourne goal.
The truth was that Fishbourne maintained a committed level of play throughout and wanted the victory more than their sporadic rivals. Being a point ahead and a game in hand , they have the strongest chance of the coveted second spot.
Team: C.Bowles, D.Hall, T.Parker, M.Hine, B.Thomas, D.Kennard, B.Evans, M.Neville, S.Gooding, S.Loversidge, D.Knight. Subs: J.Walsh, G.Ockwell.
Ten Men Lavant Win Through
Back Row: Mel Milburn, Jon Strange, Christian Swain, Martin Ayers, Chris Withall, Stuart Eastwood, Alan Sheppard, Guy Pinder, Dave Kent (Manager).
Front Row: Alex Waters, Andy Strange, Paul.Czajka, Adam Yaxley, Pete Czajka, Oli Haggar.
Lavant Reserves 2 Stedham Reserves 1
With nothing hanging on their final game of the season Lavant Reserves looked a different team now that the pressure was off, as they totally dominated the first half. Lavant at times played some delightful controlled passing football, but were unable to make any clear inroads into the final third of the Stedham half and threaten the visitor’s goal.
Andy Strange came closest to scoring as the ball fell kindly to him on the edge of the six yard box, but Stedham keeper Laurence Dixon was well positioned to make the save.
The half finished with a series of corners for Lavant and a free kick on the edge of the box, but Christian Swain’s effort went well over the bar, as both sides went into the break level, 0-0.
Four minutes into the second half the game sprang into life as Stedham’s fullback opened the scoring from a corner, catching Lavant fast asleep as they failed to pick him up as he entered the area and scored unchallenged from close range giving Lavant keeper Paul Czajka no chance, 0-1.
This was a wake up call for Lavant who immediately stepped up the pressure from the restart. With 15 minutes gone the homeside then introduced Alan Sheppard and Alex Waters into the game in an effort to push for the equaliser.
Water’s almost had an immediate effect as his header went agonisingly close going inch’s over the cross bar. Then with 70 minutes gone Sheppard picked the ball up in midfield and ran through the Stedham defence, smashing home the ball past the stranded Dixon levelling the score, 1-1.
The game was now Lavant’s for the taking, but as they piled on the pressure in search of the winner they were dealt an agonising blow as keeper Czajka was adjudged to have handled just outside his area, giving referee Andy Ide no choice but to issue a straight red card.
Stedham sensed an opportunity to win the game with 10 minutes remaining, but Lavant were not having any of it, as Stuart Eastwood went into goal and they chose to play with only 3 at the back. 10 men Lavant continued to push for the winner and with 2 minutes remaining substitute Mel Milburn battled to win the ball in the Stedham box, as the ball spilled free allowing Sheppard to pounce and score from close range, ensuring the homeside’s last game ended with a much cherished win, 2-1.
Team: Paul.Czajka, O.Haggar, M.Ayers, S.Eastwood, J.Strange, Pete Czajka, G.Pinder, C.Swain, A.Strange, C.Withall, A.Yaxley. Subs: A.Waters, A.Sheppard, M.Milburn.