Lavant Reserves 1 Liss Reserves 3

Lavant this week hosted bottom of the league Liss Reserves in the first of three crucial league games in January.

With the visitor’s first team game called off, Liss were able to field a strong side and the team warming up on the pitch before the game hardly resembled the team Lavant played away from home five weeks earlier.

The game kicked off with Liss immediately pressurizing Lavant’s goal and for the first ten minutes Lavant had to work hard to ward off the visitors.

Lavant then started to come back into the game, pushing up at every opportunity and Jon Strange almost opened the scoring, somewhat against the run of play, but his lofted shot bounced off the cross bar.

Five minutes later Lavant keeper Paul Czajka pulled off a great save to deny the visitors the lead, as Lavant once again were forced to defend, but with the back four of Simon Blackman, Robbie Pinder, Stuart Eastwood and Jon Strange maintaining their shape, they made it hard for Liss to make any inroads at all.

So it was disappointing after twenty one minutes when Dave Morris failed to prevent Ben McGuillan’s header from a Liss corner, which bounced of the knee of Christian Swain standing on the near post and went spinning agonisingly back up into the top corner of the goal, ensuring the visitors went into half time with the a one gaol lead, 0-1.

Lavant started the second half in a determined fashion and it was Liss who were now forced to work hard to defend their lead, as the work rate and battling by the home side made it very hard for the visitors to make much headway.

Then with 60 minutes gone, the home side were dealt a harsh blow as referee Ray Baxter awarded Liss a controversial penalty after adjudging Jason Houghton to have handled the ball in the box.  Therefore giving the visitors the opportunity to increase their lead and relieve some of the homeside’s pressure. Ryan Gordon coolly dispatched the spot kick sending Czajka the wrong way as the ball smashed into the back of the net, 0-2.

Lavant reacted almost immediately, as two minutes later they pulled a goal back.  Christian Swain’s first corner was palmed onto the bar and over for a second corner by the Liss keeper.  The next corner was then wiped in again by Swain and was met by the incoming Dave Knight who headed into the top left hand corner of the goal, giving the keeper not chance, 1-2.

With 30 minutes remaining Lavant sensed they had the opportunity to get something out of the game as they pushed up in an effort to draw level.

Ten minutes later however with Lavant striker Alex Water’s off the pitch receiving treatment for cramp, Liss were able take advantage of ten man Lavant as they quickly counterattacked and Danny Barlett rounded the keeper, scoring into an empty goal, 1-3.

Chris Bowles almost reduced the deficit again ten minutes later as he latched onto Knight’s diagonal pass and rifled a shot in from outside the box, which was tipped over the bar by the outstretched keeper.

The remainder of the game was seen out by Liss as they continued to defend their goal and at the final whistle they went away with all three precious points.

Lavant deserved something out of this game, but as in many occasions this season they have just not had the rub of the green at crucial times, but they can take heart from their hard working team performance, which if they take into next weeks game against Stedham Reserves, they will surely get a result.

Team: P.Czajka, S.Blackman, S.Eastwood, R.Pinder, J.Strange, D.Morris, J.Houghton, C.Swain, D.Knight, C.Bowles, A.Waters. Subs: G.Pinder, A.Strange, A.Yaxley.

West Sussex League Results – 3rd January

Division 2 South:

General Henry 0, Selsey Town 3; Hunston CC 1, Barnham Res 4; Yapton 2, Predators Res 2.

Division 4 South:

Coal Exchange 4, Boxgrove 2; Harting 6, Petworth Res 6; Lavant Res 1, Liss Ath III 3; Newtown Villa III 2, Rustington Park Snrs 2; Tangmere 5, Stedham Utd Res 6.