Lavant 2 Newtown Villa 2
Dan Baker in on the Newtown Villa keeper
Saturday saw Lavant host Bognor side Newtown Villa with the home side keen to capitalise on the visitors’ indifferent form and seek revenge on the 5-4 thriller earlier in the season.
Lavant again started in a positive manor, something that has been prominent in performances of recent weeks and it didn’t take long for them to notch yet another early goal. Paul Jones winning the ball on the edge of his own area and stepping out with the ball, then finding Sandford who held the ball up well. Hancock made a good decoy run down the right as Jones continued his run that was found by a neat reverse through ball from Sandford and finished off what was a great flowing move.
The game then got scrapping with Newtown intent on their direct approach to Matt Russell whose dual with Lavant’s Paul Jones was always going to be a clash of titans. Lavant’s build up play became erratic and were more intent on flicking the ball round the corner or hooking overhead rather than their proven passing game. Perhaps the surface which was a little on the bobbley side contributed to this but it certainly made life easy for the Newtown defence.
With halftime approaching Lavant made it two with Sandford beating the off side trap to race clear, beating the keeper to the ball and poke home.
It was a familiar position Lavant found themselves in and an all too familiar second half performance. Expecting Newtown to come at the home side, Lavant changed their tactics to a more direct approach to ensure territory over possession and this stopped an early goal for the visitors. Unfortunately Lavant never got out of this mind set and the football on show was far from pretty from either side.
Newtown eventually got some reward for their perseverance and was awarded a penalty for a contentious handball against Jones. Russell stepped up to take the spot kick and was saved by Sanson.
Shortly after Newtown got themselves on the score sheet, a well delivered corner kick resulted in a game of pinball in the Lavant area, somehow the ball found its way into the back of the net despite 3 players being down with head injuries, 2 of which were Lavants including the keeper, however the goal stood, 2-1.
It was backs to the wall time for Lavant now who were struggling to maintain any form of possession and the ball continuing to rain down on the defence like mortar fire. But it was a catalogue of errors that eventually let Newtown draw level. Wright inexcusably giving the ball away with a wild clearance into the middle of the park allowed a smart through ball from Villa and saw the on running Russell taken clean out by Lyttle in the area, penalty kick number 2. This saw a change in kick taker by Villa but Sanson again saved only for this time the rebound being tucked away 2-2.
Lavant can only look back at this fixture as 2 points lost after taking such a commanding position into the break and with league leaders Cowfold losing for the second successive week only compounds the disappointment further.
Team: Neil Sanson, Richard Gabb, Paul Jones, Matt Lyttle, Jon Wright, Ollie Haggar, James Brooks, James Batten, Aaron Hancock, Dave Knight, James Sandford (c). Subs: Mike Neville, Dan Baker, Ben Purgavie.
James Sandford skips the Newtown Villa tackle