Ockley 0 Lavant 0
Lavant took the long May Bank Holiday journey to Surrey boarder’s side Ockley knowing that they must win today to keep their slim title hopes alive.
Manager Stuart Eastwood again made wholesale changes to the team that faced Predators on Saturday as more of the regular first players were available for the fixture. However with four of the first team still unavailable this was going to be a challenge to the assembled squad facing the league leaders at their home ground.
The pitch also perhaps the worst in the league was going to make playing football hard due to it being very bumpy and uneven, but both teams had to work around this problem.
The first half started very cautiously as neither side wanted to made a mistake and concede an early goal. Both sides had chances on goal but both Ockley and Lavant’s defensive units were hard to break down. Lavant however slowly got into the game and eventually scored the opener to the delight of their team and spectators. However the joy was short lived as scorer Dan Baker was deemed off-side by the lineman.
Half time came, with the score still nil-nil, but Lavant sensed that they were beginning to get into this match and certainly they still had everything to play for.
The second half saw Lavant immediately take the front foot and press forward as Ockley started to show gaps in their play and produced a below par second half performance, probably brought about by nerves. The chances for Lavant kept coming and going, as Ollie Haggar’s shot goal-bound into the left hand corner of goal was somehow turned-around the post by the Ockley keeper.
Both James Batten and Jason Houghton had great opportunities to score just heading over, as Lavant were well and truly winning the aerial battle.
But the minutes ticked away and it was again just not going to be Lavant’s day, as referee Mark Waller blew the final whistle to the joy of the Ockley players and spectators as the draw and the one point secured them the Premiership title.
Lavant were downhearted, but should be proud as they forced the champions all the way and considering where the team started at the beginning of the season and their expectations of finishing just above the relegation spots, this team has developed and come such a long way to be chasing for the title in the last week of the season.
With two games remaining if they win them they will become runners up in the league, a position anyone at the club would have not expected at the start of this long season.
Team: Neil Sanson, Richard Gabb, Jason Houghton, Matt Lyttle, Jon Wright, Pete Caveney, James Brooks (c), James Batten, Mike Neville, Ollie Haggar, Dan Baker. Subs: Matt Stevens, Adam Yaxley.