Coal Exchange 1 Lavant Reserves 2

After three weeks without a game Lavant reserves made the short trip across county to Emsworth to play a much needed league fixture.

Lavant fielded a strong side, however with the players not having played for over three weeks and the pitch looking heavy from the recent rain, getting a result from this match was not going to be easy and as it proved would require a hard working team performance.

Both teams started the game cautiously, but the breakthrough came on 14 minutes for the visitors, as the homeside’s keeper made a mess of clearing a back pass, as the ball fell fortuitously to Lavant striker Adam Yaxley on the edge of the box, who placed the ball past the stranded keeper, taking his goal tally to eight so far this season, 1-0.

Lavant now well into their stride, piled on the pressure, as the Coal Exchange were force to defend for much of the remainder of the half, and rarely threatened Tom Turner in the Lavant goal.

Dave Maclean came close to extending the visitors lead on the half hour, but his effort went agonisingly just over the goal and Alan Sheppard had two gilt edge chances to score as he twice broke clear one on one with the keeper, but each time failed to capitalize.  One effort was tamely hit straight at the keeper and the other going just over the bar. As a result, making him a clear contender for this year’s miss of the season.

The score however remained unchanged going into the break, with the Coal Exchange leaving the pitch with a feeling optimism at still being in contention and Lavant feeling frustrated at not taking their chances and extending their slender lead.

The second half started much the same as the first half ended with Lavant pushing forward and pressurizing the homeside’s goal. But the Coal Exchange were well organised and hard to breakdown.  Then in the 65th minute Scot Yaxley’s corner seemed to be headed across the line by Maclean but neither the referee John Hill or the linesman gave the decision, to the frustration of the Lavant players.

Five minutes later Lavant’s frustrations got worse as they paid the price for not converting their earlier chances, as a quick counterattack saw the Coal Exchange man of the match Patrick Malterson run through and level the score, 1-1.

Lavant then showed their true character, as straight from the restart they continued to press for the winning goal. On 80 minutes Shaun Massey’s long throw into the box was headed goal bound until ex Lavant player Simon Blackman headed off the line to again deny the visitors.

Finally the breakthrough came for the visitors as Maclean won the ball in midfield, passing wide left to substitute Robbie Pinder, who played a delightful ball through the defence, allowing Alan Sheppard to run clear and slot the ball home from an acute angle with just 4 minutes of the game remaining, 1-2.

The Coal Exchange were still not finished and in the dieing minutes of the match their route one approach almost paid off when Lavant were caught napping in the middle of the park, as the homeside’s striker broke free with the ball, one on one with the keeper.  But Turner had other ideas and pulled off a great save deflecting the ball wide of the goal, ensuring Lavant ended the game bagging all three precious points.

Team: T. Turner, D.Hall, S.Gooding, T.Sheppard, J.Strange, D.Maclean, S.Massey, B.Evans, S.Yaxley, A.Yaxley, A.Sheppard. Subs: D.Morris, R.Pinder.