Graffham 1 Lavant 11
Centenary Cup

Due to a mix-up with their home pitch availability Lavant had to play this home cup fixture away at Graffham.

Graffham recently promoted to Division II started the game brightly matching Lavant in the early stages of the game and with only 3 minutes gone they took the lead. A long clearance straight down the middle of the pitch was met by their striker, who lobbed the ball over the out-coming stranded keeper Rob Baylis, 1-0.

Stunned Lavant exerted pressure on the home side right from the restart and within 7 minutes had drawn level after a lovely through ball from Mike Bartley put James Sandford through, to drill the ball past the keeper, 1-1.

Four minutes later some good work from Sandford in the box saw his shot rebound off the post as Lavant upped the pressure in an attempt to take the lead.

Lavant now were dominating the game, but Graffham were still causing problems on the counterattack and again using their route one approach down the middle of the pitch they almost regained the lead but their final shot just went wide of the post.

But it was eventually the visitors who broke the deadlock on 22 minutes as a delightful cross field ball from Mike Neville, was skilfully controlled by Ryan Seacombe, who flicked the ball on for Sandford to run through and score his second of the game, 1-2.

This was the turning point of the game as Lavant now had the upper hand and were determined and immediately pressurized Graffham’s goal from the re-start and nine minutes later Matt Lyttle fed the ball to Seacombe in the box who scored from close range, 1-3.

Two minutes later more pressure from the visitors paid off as Bartley won the ball in the visitors box and riffled home his first goal of the match and Lavant’s fourth, 1-4.

Five minutes later a sequence of shots from Seacombe and Sandford rebounding off the keeper fell to Richard Tagg on the left hand side who scored at Lavant’s third attempt, 1-5.

Just on half time a Seacombe latched on to a great cross field pass before  back-flicking the ball into the path of fellow striker Sandford who ran on to score his hat-trick, 1-6.

The second half began at a more sedate pace compared to the first, perhaps partly due somewhat to the score-line, but also due to the blistering hot weather.

Lavant forged some early chances to extend their lead further with Seacombe only being denied by the keeper and minutes later a Lyttle corner was just headed over by Matt Stevens.

With 60 minutes gone another Lyttle corner was headed towards goal by Bartley before getting a final touch on from Steven’s as the ball hit the top corner of the net, further extending Lavant’s lead, 1-7.

This was follow quickly by Seacombe scoring his second goal of the game,
1-8.

With 25 minutes remaining Lavant made changes bringing on Tom Parker and Dave Payne, allowing Bartley to push forward on the left wing.  Minutes later the change paid off as Bartley broke down the left flank before turning towards goal, then unselfishly pulling the ball back to the waiting Seacombe on the edge of the box, who drilled the ball home for his hat-trick, 1-9.

Graffham never gave up and almost pulled one back from a free kick just outside the box. But Baylis was on hand to palm the ball over the bar to safety.

Bartley again was causing havoc down the left hand flank and another dazzling run was rewarded with his second goal of the game, putting the visitors into double figures with nine minutes remaining, 1-10.

The goals were not quite finished for the visitors, as they completed the match with a great team move involving Chris Coe, Bartley and Sandford, allowing Sandford to score his fourth of the match and Lavant’s eleventh, capping a great team performance overall, 1-11.

Lavant: R.Baylis, C.Coe, J.Wright, B.Purgavie, M.Lyttle, M.Neville, M.Bartley, M.Stevens, R.Tagg, J.Sandford, R.Seacombe. Subs: T.Parker, D.Payne