With no first team game, Eastergate were able to strengthen their reserve side with several first team players and came close early on when a Simon Blackman’s
misclearance was intercepted by the homeside and only the great goalkeeping exploits of Martin Pullen prevented Eastergate taking the lead.
After that the visitors produced a really mean defence that seldom looked like conceding. A great Lavant move involving the whole left wing chain was only thwarted when Wayne Gavin was adjudged offside. But Lavant’s Jon Strange kept a muzzle on county striker Johnson throughout the game and was only turned by him once on 16 minutes and never again. With Blackman playing a similar role on Andi Weir and Tom Parker sweeping everything that spilled through, the Lavant errors of the last two matches were finally put to bed.
Weir tested Pullen again on 20 minutes but Lavant went close in superb 5 men moves on 21, 24 and 32 minutes as Stuart Loversidge and Damien Leach led the attack.
Johnson, always two and half feet higher than anyone else, headed a good knock down from an Eastergate free kick but it bounced tamely away. Other than this the home side never threatened a cast iron defence where wingbacks Nick Farrer and Mark Richardson tracked back and shone.
Gavin won an aerial duel on 36 minutes and Leach headed the spinning ball just wide of an open goal, to Eastergate’s relief.
At half time the game was goalless, but coach Dave Parker gave instructions and more compactness and orders to attack the wings rather than central positions which the visitors duly employed in the second half.
Loversidge was first to capitalise on the left wing channel and forced a corner on 48 minutes. He was ruled offside 3 minutes later.
Eastergate managed a spell of pressure on 66 minutes forcing two corners but the visitors went ahead when Loversidge had the first clear cut chance on the left of the penalty area and put Lavant ahead on 71 minutes.
Substitutes Mike Keane, Dave McLean and Mike Martin were necessary to keep up the visitors energy but Lavant were hanging on through lack of fitness in the last 10 minutes. They nearly took all three points but Eastergate dug deep and in the 91st minute scored through Scholes after a goalmouth scramble.
Nevertheless despite the disappointment of the late goal, Lavant can take the positive view from the game that if the continue in such a mean defensive manner they will dig themselves out of the relegation zone.
Team: M.Pullen, S.Blackman, T.Parker, J.Strange, N.Farrer, W.Gavin, M.Ayers, R.Pinder, M.Richardson, S.Loversidge, D.Leach. Subs: M.Keane, D.McLean, M.Martin.