With both sides hovering in the Div 2 relegation zone, this was a crucial match.
Lavant started well and edged the early play with Parker forcing a save from Clymping keeper Campbell on 47 seconds. Another link up on 10 minutes between Ayers, Farrer and Gavin saw the latter’s shot go just wide. One minute later Parker put Gavin through but he was ruled offside. A further excellent build up involving Richardson, Parker, Ayers and Farrer saw the wingback’s cross go over the bar.
In reply, the visitors had managed only one shot on 12 minutes which Pullen saved and two great cross field runs by Tony Gallacher on 8 and 14 minutes. On these two occasions Lavant midfield holding player Ayers matched his runs and neutralised him. However, Ayers was committed forward when Gallacher made a third such run. Wing back Farrer tried to get back to cut him out but the Clymping striker bore in well on the left of the penalty area and executed an excellent finish from a narrow angle to put the visitors ahead on 21 minutes.
Lavant then started to defend too deeply. Apart from Lavant’s Pinder coming close on 23 minutes, Clymping had most of the possession. Gallacher again forced a save from Pullen on 26 minutes and a later hopeful lob slid down the Lavant post. Gallacher was close again on 38 minutes. Lavant were too deep and too strung out.
At half-time, Dave Parker the coach, asked for a more compact formation and to play higher up the field. He also demanded more effort which back-fired on 52 minutes when Parker was booked for a third exuberant tackle.
Substitutions of Hine, Maclean and Hall added fresh legs to a more compact Lavant and the home-side gradually began to dominate the game. Apart from Gallacher coming close on 56 minutes, the visitors were penned in their own half. Richardson headed against the bar and Leach and Ayers were denied as their shots were hooked off the line.
Hine was dropping balls into the corners where Parker and Hall had peeled off to collect and more crosses were pouring into Clymping’s penalty area.
Nevertheless, Clymping hung on to take the most valuable three points.
Lavant’s defence is much improved. Thomas, Strange and Blackman were solid. Today they only compressed play for a third of the game. When they did the chances were clear to see. The Law of Averages means if they learn to apply this for 90 minutes their fortunes will improve.
Team: M.Pullen, S.Blackman, B.Thomas, J.Strange, N.Farrer, W.Gavin, M.Ayers, T.Parker, M.Richardson, D.Leach, R.Pinder. Subs: D.Hall, D.McLean, M.Hine.