Caveney Strike Seals Victory
West Chiltington 0 Lavant 1
Lavant faced their third game in just five days away to West Chiltington tonight in a game they had to win if they were to at least come runners up spot in the Premier League, after narrowly losing out on the league title challenge on Monday to Ockley.
The team before kick-off were joined by Richard Sims, now a Lavant spectator, who watches most games, but once was part of the most successful Lavant team ever in the hundred and five year history of the club, in the seventies.
He told the team that thirty-eight years ago in the 1977-78 Season, Lavant came runners up in the Premier League, the highest position to date for any Lavant team, and he hoped that this team would at least this season match that feat and perhaps next season go even one better and win the West Sussex Premier league.
The team in good spirits went about the game with the purpose of securing another three league points. But this game was going to prove harder work for the visitors than expected, as West Chiltington although fielding a slightly weaker side than the previous weeks encounter, they were still determined to make amends for the league defeat.
The game started well for the visitors as they pegged the homeside back into their half and so were rewarded for their efforts with fifteen minutes gone as Pete Caveney drove home a low shot from the left flank to give Lavant a one-nil lead.
At that point you would have thought Lavant would have kicked on and made it two. Unfortunately the reverse happened as West Chiltington started to get back into the game and during the remaining thirty minutes of the half they forged out a number of really good opportunities to draw level. Then a nasty injury to their striker forced the home side to make a change and this allowed Lavant to settle and see out the final minutes of the half, holding onto their slim one-nil lead.
For the second half Lavant knew they had to up their game and they started better for a time, but there were lots of uncharacteristic mistakes which constantly forced them on the back-foot as they had to robustly defend their goal on numerous occasions, as once more West Chiltington using the high crosses for left and right flanks forced Lavant back.
The three games in five days were taking its toll on the team, but this group of players dug in and fought all the way. At times the football was not pretty, but minute by minute Lavant held on to their lead and eventually were grateful to hear referee’s Chris Stubbs final whistle, as they bagged another precious three league points and as a result moved into second place in the league for the first time this season.
Now it is all in Lavant’s hands as they are home this Saturday to Faygate in the last game of the season. A win would ensure that unless Cowfold could beat West Chiltington by more than thirteen goals, Lavant would be runners up in the league.
Team: Neil Sanson, Richard Gabb, Jason Houghton, Matt Lyttle, Jon Wright, Pete Caveney, James Brooks (c), James Batten, Mike Neville, Aaron Hancock, Dan Baker. Subs: Adam Yaxley, Alan Sheppard, Ben Purgavie.