Nyetimber Pirates 1 Lavant 2

Sussex Intermediate Cup

Saturday saw Lavant travel to Division I side Nyetimber Pirates in the Sussex Intermediate Challenge Cup. Conditions weren’t the best following the overnight rainfall and strong winds meant that keeping the ball on the floor was of paramount importance.

Lavant certainly started the brighter, staying nice and compact and nullifying the space of the Pirates extra man in midfield. Early chances fell to Baker who forced a smart stop from the Pirates keeper as well as Sandford and Hancock but neither was able to convert.

As the half wore on the Lavant back four dropped deeper and deeper and with neither of the front two dropping in, the Pirates extra man in the middle started to tell as they gained a foothold in the tie. Lavant managed to see the half out but a change in attitude was required.

Lavant started the second half as they did the first, the back four holding a much better position and the gaps between the lines reduced as a result. The home team had clearly decided to try a use the wind to their advantage and distributing the long ball over the top which generally ran through to keeper Sanson.

15 minutes into the half saw the Pirates take the lead, arguably against the run of play, a free kick defended well but failure to pick up the second ball saw the unsighted Sanson beaten at his near post as it was fired back in.

The Lavant response was a positive one, playing into the wind forced the visitors the play on the floor and good link up play found substitute Neville on the inside left who drove into the box only to be felled, penalty kick. With the absence of Brooks, skipper Sandford stepped up only for the keeper to save low to his right.

Undeterred Lavant continued to hunt for an equaliser and it came from the move of the game, Hancock driving down the right hand side easily beating his man and then laying in Haggar to cheekily flick home to make it one-all.

Lavant now clearly in the ascendancy pushed on for the next which came 15 minutes from time, a great through ball from Knight into Haggar who smartly rounded the keeper and slotted away to put the visitors in front.

As the tie drew out the pirates threw what they could at Lavant but they stood resolute with the home team then turning on each other until the full time whistle was blown.

Lavant now go into the 4th round, with only sixteen teams remaining and will play away to either Pagham Reserves or Montpelier Villa AFC on the 13th December.

Team: Neil Sanson, Richard Gabb, Jon Wright, Ben Purgavie, Matt Lyttle, Aaron Hancock, James Batten, Dave Knight, Ollie Haggar, Dan Baker, James Sandford (c). Subs: Mike Neville, Dave Maclean.