Upper Beeding 2 Lavant 3

Lavant made the long trip to Upper Beeding this Saturday hoping to get something out of the game and bounce back from last week’s disappointing defeat against Bosham.

Both sides started the game lively, with the homeside just having the better of the opening fifteen minutes.

But Lavant worked hard to break down the passing game of Upper Beeding and soon the visitors started to force mistakes from the homeside as they forced their way back into the game.  Their hard work then paid dividends with twenty minutes gone as Ryan Seacombe chased down keeper Ciaran Towse’s attempted clearance, as the ball defected off Seacombe and into the empty goal, 0-1.

The game was now wide open as both teams pushed forward and counterattacked at every opportunity. But it was Lavant who once more took the advantage with Mike Neville breaking free down the right wing and crossing in a delightful ball into the box, for the incoming James Sandford to head home Lavant’s second of the game, 0-2.

The remainder of the first half saw Upper Beeding push forward in an attempt to get back into the game, as Lavant somewhat sat back and decided to defend their lead going into the break.  At times Lavant rode their luck but the homeside were unable penetrate the defence and get close in on goal, so the odd shot from distance was comfortably saved by Lavant keeper Neil Sanson.

In the second half with the wind behind them and a renewed determination the homeside started positively moving the ball quickly and breaking down the flanks, pushing Lavant back to defend their goal.

Lavant soaked up the pressure and looked dangerous once more on the counterattack.  On 65 minutes Sandford was brought down in the box as the referee awarded Lavant a penalty. Mike Bartley stepped up and took the spot kick, but Towse pulled off a great save diving low to his right-hand side and somehow managing to palm the ball wide of the post and out for a corner.

This was a turning point, as it would have been game over for the homeside but it again gave them another chance to stay in the game, which they grasped as five minutes later they scored, as the ball bounced in off the bar reducing the deficit, 1-2.

The game was once more wide open as Upper Beeding pushed forward for the equaliser. But Lavant defended well and when possible counterattacked.

Sandford then took advantage of a mistake by the Upper Beeding full backs to run though and round the keeper and slot home Lavant’s third restoring their two nil buffer, 1-3.

The homeside once more fought back and took advantage of a rare Lavant defensive mix-up, to stab home the ball past the coming Sanson, 2-3.

The remaining 15 minutes of this hard fought game was eventful, with both teams having opportunities to score, but it was the visitor’s hard work and staunch defending which eventually paid off, as they ran down the clock, to bag three precious league points.

Lavant: N.Sanson, C.Coe, J.Wright, T.Parker, M.Lyttle, M.Neville, M.Bartley, M.Stevens, L.Weller, R.Seacombe, J.Sandford. Subs: R.Gabb, A.Holmes.

Upper Beeding: C.Towse, R.Hare, L.Mitchell, S.Hind, J.Petchley, L.Trower, T.Lovett, S.Pickup, S.Alexander, J.Knowles, M.Rowland. Subs: N.Morris, J.Rowland, B.Hatchett, C.Towse.