Newtown Villa 5 Lavant 4
Lavant made the trip down the A259 to local rivals Newtown Villa resulting in 2 hat-tricks, 3 penalties and a 9 goal thriller.
The opening exchanges saw Newtown boss the game, their extra man in the midfield was telling and the physical presence of Russell up front was effective as ever. However, Lavant began to settle but soon calamity struck, a long ball sent into the area by Newtown and with neither keeper Sanson nor defender Batten taking control of the situation saw Russell collect the ball and pass into the empty net. Shortly after Lavant had a further blow losing the in-form Knight from the centre of midfield who had been suffering from illness prior to the fixture.
Aaron Hancock on the ball (picture provided by kind permission of the Chichester Observer)
The change allowed Lavant the opportunity to change their system and counter the Newtown 3-5-2 formation by bringing on a third striker to replace Knight and play the 3 up against the Newtown back line. This positive change paid dividends, the high pressing and movement of Haggar, Sandford and Baker caused the defence all sorts of issues. It wasn’t long until Lavant were back on level terms, Haggar managing to weave his way into the opposition area only to be hacked from behind and winning a penalty kick which was confidently converted by Brooks.
James Batten challenges for the ball, as James Sandford look on (picture provided by kind permission of the Chichester Observer)
Lavant continued to enjoy a dominant spell of the game and soon took the lead, a cute through ball into Brooks who calmly rounded the keeper to slot home his second.
Lavant looked set to reach the break deservedly in front until Newtown won their own penalty kick after Neville was adjudged to of fouled Russell as he broke into the area which he dispatched past Sanson – 2-2 at halftime.
The second half saw Lavant continue to press the Newtown back line, hunting the ball down high up the pitch. Although this approach was creating opportunities the Lavant backline was left exposed at times and this eventually led to Newtown retaking the lead, a good delivery in from the right saw Russell head home his and third and complete his hat-trick.
The lead saw Newtown change their formation and revert to a back four and take the space away from the Lavant front men. Lavant continued to push on to get back on level terms but in their quest to do so Newtown put Lavant to the sword and further extended their lead on two occasions to stretch their lead to 5-2. Surely the Chichester side was dead and buried.
Credit to Lavant, they persevered and continued press and with 5 minutes to play substitute Holmes was played in by Brooks to fire home past the Newtown stopper. There was an air of optimism through the Lavant ranks and Newtown looked all the nervier, was there enough time to salvage anything. As the game entered stoppage time Haggar was again felled in the area and again Brooks stepped up and converted to seal his hat-trick.
Ollie Haggar beats the tackle to be through on goal (picture provided by kind permission of the Chichester Observer)
A dramatic finish looked on the cards back sadly the visitors came away with nothing when perhaps a share of the spoils would’ve been a fair result.
Team: Neil Sanson, James Batten, Matt Lyttle, Ben Purgavie, Jon Wright, Aaron Hancock, Mike Neville, James Brooks, Dave Knight, Ollie Haggar, James Sandford (c). Subs: Alex Holmes, Ross Longland, Dan Baker