Finally Three Points in the Bag

Harting 2 Lavant Reserves 8

Lavant still searching for their first points of the season this week travelled to local rivals Harting and on the day the team’s very competitive performance ensured they emphatically bagged all three points.

Lavant’s intent was clear from the kick-off and for the first five minutes they pushed up and attacked Harting’s goal. However against the run of play it was the homeside who actually opened the scoring. Winning a corner from their first real attack, Lavant’s debutant keeper Mark Burnett misjudged the resultant cross leaving the goal wide open as the home side’s striker headed into an empty goal, 1-0.

This setback however did not dampen the visitor’s resolve and from the restart Lavant again pushed up and attacked Harting’s goal.  Robbie Pinder’s shot went agonisingly just wide, then minutes later after continued pressure Alan Sheppard was brought down in the box and he stepped up and despatched the spot kick drawing the teams level on 15 minutes, 1-1.

Eight minutes later Lavant deservedly took the lead as Harting failed to stop Oli Haggar’s darting run into the box, as he then picked out Liam Hayward wide right who’s lofted shot looped over the defence and stranded keeper hitting the far post and bouncing in across the line, to the annoyance of Dave Knight who was waiting to pounce, 1-2.

Lavant were playing some lovely controlled football and Harting were struggling to deal with it and their frustration boiled over as they again brought down Sheppard in the area, winning another penalty, which he again scored, 1-3.

Sheppard three minutes later got his hat-trick as he latched onto Haggar’s free-kick deep into the box, controlling the ball, turning and smashing the ball home through a busy goal mouth, 1-4.

Lavant’s first half was still not over as they continued to attack. Dave Morris’s pass to Hayward opened up the homeside defence again, as he ran through on goal only to be yet again brought down in the area giving referee Mick Briant no option but to award Lavant their third penalty of the game.  This time Hayward stepped up to take the spot kick which he despatched into the top corner further increasing the visitors lead going into the interval, 1-5.

The second half saw Harting up their game in an attempt to reduce the deficit, but all their efforts game to nothing as Jason Houghton further increased the visitors lead with a breathtaking strike 35 yards out into the top corner of the goal giving the keeper no chance, 1-6.

Yet again the referee awarded a penalty, this time to Harting, who scored their second of the match, 2-6.

Lavant responded almost instantly scoring from a free kick just outside the box as Haggar teed up Sheppard to drill home his fourth of the match.

With ten minutes remaining Sheppard put Hayward through once more on the right flank as he then thumped home the ball just outside the box, past the stranded keeper to give him his hat-trick and cap off a great team performance, which hopefully can be built on as they face the key remaining challenge for the season of avoiding relegation from Division IV South.

Team: M.Burnett, O.Haggar, J.Strange, S.Eastwood, L.Hayward, D.Knight, J.Houghton, C.Swain, D.Morris, R.Pinder, A.Sheppard. Subs: A.Yaxley, S.Blackman, M.Martin.