Predators 4 Lavant 1
Centenary Cup Semi Final
Lavant made the journey to Bognor side Predators for their second semi final of the season and a much welcomed break from league duty following the midweek defeat to table toppers Ockley.
Lavant started the slightly better side, with Caveney working the left hand side with good effect and with the extra man in midfield saw that battle being won too. However, as the half wore on, despite having the lion’s share of possession, Lavant were unable to fashion any clear cut chances with lone front man Baker finding himself isolated.
Lavant decided to change shape and move Sandford up alongside Baker but with an injury coming shortly after the change to the Predators centre half and forcing the home side to a back 3, it was now Predators with the extra man in midfield and very much in the ascendancy.
Lavant struggled cope with the Predators shape and with 10 minutes of the half left to play they broke the deadlock, somehow their striker found in acres of space and calmly finished across the stranded Sanson. It was Predators first clear chance and credit to them, they took it.
Halftime came and Lavant decided to revert to their starting shape on 4-3-3 with a view of going man for man on the Predators back 3. This seemed to work but left Lavant open to the counter with the Predators wing backs having the freedom of the park, it was important that Lavant were next to score.
20 minutes into the half and Lavant found the back of the net, a deep corner by Hancock found Wright at the back post who unleashed a vicious volley into the net, his first of the season and now 1-1.
Lavant were buzzing and went in hunt of the second but it was Predators who struck just minutes later. Both Lavant centre backs were found pressing the same player with the Predators front man still getting the better of them to get his shot away and into the back of the net by a deflection in a cruel fashion, but none the less it was poor defending.
As Lavant pressed for an equaliser and found them being caught twice on the break resulting in the 4-1 score line and yet another semi-final defeat. The cup exit was further marred but the news that captain and top scorer James Sandford will now miss the last 6 games of the season with a torn calf.
Team: Neil Sanson, Richard Gabb, Ben Purgavie, Matt Lyttle, Jon Wright, James Brooks, Dave Knight, Aaron Hancock, Pete Caveney, Dan Baker, James Sandford (c). Subs: Matt Grace, Alex Holmes, Mike Neville