Fittleworth 2 Lavant Reserves 3
Two goals from man of the match John Langridge helped Lavant return to winning ways at Fittleworth.
The Lavant striker, back in the side after a two game absence, scored either side of the break to help claim all three points and move Lavant up to 2nd in Div 3 South.
After last week’s disappointing performance several changes were made to the starting line-up, with Paul Taylor and Greg Ayling coming back into the side in midfield, and Mike Sleet making his first start at left back.
Fittleworth started brightly but Lavant soon took a hold of the contest, their pass-and-move game too much for the hosts. Ayling and Taylor were dictating the play and with Langridge dominating the centre halves, a goal seemed inevitable. It looked to have come on 20 minutes when good link up play put Langridge in down the left channel and the striker drove the ball into the bottom corner, only to see the flag raised for offside.
The visitors didn’t have to wait too long to take the lead though. A quick throw out by Neil Sanson started a devastating counter attack as Tom Parker, Sleet and Adam Yaxley’s slick interchange fed Ayling down the left. His low cross evaded Langridge but was slammed into the top corner by Taylor sliding in at the back post.
Fittleworth had a chance to equalise immediately but Sanson was out quickly to close the angle and parry as the defence looked for a flag that was not forthcoming. Lavant made them pay on 39 minutes as another well-worked attack was well finished by Langridge.
But with 30 seconds left the visitors lost possession in a dangerous area and conceded a free kick on the edge of the box. The ball curled over the wall but came crashing down off the bar, only to be met by the onrushing striker to give the home side hope going into the break.
The second half was a more even affair; Fittleworth committed men forward but in turn left gaps at the back. Yaxley missed the target with his weaker foot from a good position and the home ‘keeper saved Langridge’s downward header. Fittleworth’s direct approach was causing some problems as they began to gamble, but the Lavant defence marshalled by skipper Chris Coe held firm, and increased their lead on 70 minutes. Another attack was broken up and the excellent Taylor’s pinpoint 40 yard pass saw Langridge out-muscle his marker and hammer into the top corner.
With 5 minutes to go a hopeful punt into the box was headed home despite Sanson getting a hand to it, but Lavant saw out the remaining minutes comfortably to keep up the pressure on the leaders before entering a run of 3 cup games.
Lavant: Neil Sanson, Martin Smith, Chris Coe (c) Neil Latham, Mike Sleet, Scott Yaxley, Tom Parker, Greg Ayling, Paul Taylor, Adam Yaxley, John Langridge. Subs: Will Cieszynski, Louis Weller, Dave McLean, Callum Spaul, Leon Mears