Stedham broke the deadlock 6 minutes from half time when Bertram drilled home a chance, which fell from an individual Lavant error.

Stedham assistant manager Malcolm Knight declared the secret of the league leaders success was “fitness, working for each other, and defending high up in the opponents half”.

He could have added breaking out with passing skills in numbers.

Nevertheless, Lavant, who seemed certain for the drop to Div 3 after a disastrous start to the season were worthy opponents. The Chi Chester side started brightly in the first quarter of an hour but lacked penetration with the final ball in the attacking third. The away team has vastly improved in the last third of the season and though Stedham edged the half with the opening goal, it was a tight game.

In the second half, Lavant hooked two Stedham efforts off the line but were unlucky to concede a second when a Stedham free kick was caught by the vicious wind and floated over the head of the otherwise sound goalkeeper Martin Pullen on 49 minutes.

The relegation candidates otherwise played a spirited game and were denied a consolation goal 5 minutes from time then Stedham keeper Knight saved from Stuart Loversidge’s header.

Lavant’s near rivals must win two of their remaining three games, or they will go down instead of Lavant.

Dave Parker, the Lavant coach, paid tribute to Stedham and his own team when he said “In the last seven games, I have been proud of our boys. Stedham deserve to be promoted to Div 1. They break in numbers. I am determined to emulate and learn from their style of play for next season. I only hope we have done enough this year to stay in Div 2”.

Team: M.Pullen, J.Strange, T.Parker, S.Blackman, M.Richardson, B.Thomas, M.Ayers, M.Hine, D.Hall, S.Loversidge, R.Pinder.  Subs: J.Hepworth, A.Sheppard, M Price.