With these Division 2 sides rooted to the bottom of the table this relegation battle was crucial to both.

Lavant looked comfortable in a windswept and rain-drenched battle until sweeper Tom Parker as last man lost the ball to striker James Rennick who took it on with only goalkeeper Pullen to beat to give the home-side the lead on 11 minutes.  Parker nearly deflected an own goal minutes later but Pullen made an excellent save.

It was to the visitors’ credit and Parker himself that they recovered to press through driving rain and level the score on 31 minutes.  Matt Hine, a joy to watch on the ball, tiptoed through three defenders, worked a one-two off Loversidge to set up Thomas whose shot rebounded to Pinder who pounced.

Loversidge speed was always a trouble to Lodsworth and he came close to scoring on 38 minutes.  But he outpaced the home-side’s two central defenders to bury the ball two minutes later and give Lavant the lead at half-time.

Dave Parker was dissatisfied with his team’s performance at half-time and the visitors came out with more fight but still had a difficult early 10 minutes.  Rennick again forced two great stops from Pullen.  Gradually the visitors began to win the midfield battle and central midfielder Ayers worked an excellent series of return balls off Hine and wing-back Hall to set up Pinder’s second goal on 53 minutes.

Again, Lodsworth kept battling and pushed three up front.  Ayers joined Parker, Blackman and Smith to counter this and Lavant played some excellent possession football taking advantage of their extra player in midfield.  This took the sting out of the game and was in fact the turning point of the game.

Martin replaced the injured Thomas for the visitors on 63 minutes and Keane replaced the intelligent Hall as left wingback.  The home-side worked hard to try and win possession but the clinging mud was taking its toll despite Rennick, Roberts and Craig’s efforts for Lodsworth.

An interplay between Richardson and Pinder set Loversidge free 45 yards out.  The striker outpaced the two central defenders but with 35 yards still to go before goal, he still had a lot to do but took the ball on to sink Lodsworth’s hopes on 83 minutes.  Four minutes later Pinder completed his hat-trick to give Lavant a possible escape route from relegation.

Team: M.Pullen, J.Smith, T.Parker, S.Blackman, M.Richardson, B.Thomas, M.Ayers, M.Hine, D.Hall, SLoversidge, R.Pinder.  Subs: M.Keane, M.Martin.