Faygate 2 Lavant 2
With six first team players absent or injured from the side that won last week 6-0 and a Reserve Team to also field, Lavant’s management were somewhat diffident as they travelled to Crawley for this tie.
But the visitors adequately acquitted themselves, taking the lead when Matt Price rose like a salmon to out-jump the Faygate ‘keeper and head Oliver Haggar’s deep cross into the net on 36minutes.
The next 9 minutes provided the turning point of the match. When Chris Coe was upended in the Faygate penalty area, Ross Lines stepped up with a chance to give the visitors a 2-0 lead, but his spot kick hit the post.
Haggar forced a fine save from the home ‘keeper, John Hore minutes later. Then at the other end a bizarre incident when Coe stopped the ball and Neil Sanson picked it up, this was adjudged a pass back.
Phil Williamson took the free kick in the penalty area, drilled it through the wall and under Sanson’s body to level the score right on half-time.
The second half was evenly poised until untypically, Jon Wight under hit a back pass to his ‘keeper and James King took advantage to give the Crawley side a 2-1 lead.
With substitutes providing fresh legs, this spurred Lavant into retaliatory action. When Matt Lyttle went on a dribbling run for Lavant , Mike Neville, who had just completed a 14000 mile bike ride round the world and been dragged from that bike to play, was on hand to hit the equaliser which Faygate’s Josh Trickel could only help into the net.
Lavant: N.Sanson, C.Coe, B.Purgavie, J.Wright, M.Lyttle, M.Price, M.Bartley, A.Holmes, O.Haggar, S.Loversidge, R.Lines. Subs: M.Neville, M.Stevens
Ifield Reserves 5 Lavant Reserves 6 (after extra time)
Sussex Junior Cup
Lavant Reserves kicked started their season with a tough away fixture at Crawley against Ifield’s County Reserve team.
Preparations for the match did not exactly start well as Lavant struggled to locate the ground, only arriving 10 minutes before kick-off, with the home side already on the pitch, warmed up and ready to go.
The game kicked off not surprisingly with Lavant struggling to initially get into the game, but as the half went on they in patches played some good football. But it was the home side who took first blood scoring from one of their only two chances, taking a one goal lead going into half time, 1-0.
The half time talk by manager’s Cliff Massey and Mel Milburn must have worked as Lavant started the second half with renewed vigour, as Sam Cole broke through the Ifield defence to slot the ball past the keeper to draw the game level, 1-1.
Shortly afterwards Shaun Massey’s opportunist long range shot from the half way line semi circle caught the keeper off guard, as the ball ended up in the back of the net, giving the visitors the lead for the first time during the match, 1-2.
Lavant were now starting to take control of the game and second half sub Guy Pinder ran into the box to head home Lavant’s third goal from a lovely flighted cross from Dave Maclean, 1-3.
Cole then made it four-one to the visitors as he once again used his speed to beat the offside trap and run through and score, 1-4.
With fifteen minutes remaining and the game under control, Lavant suddenly went through a crazy period. Firstly Dave Maclean defending a cross smashed the ball into his own net past keeper Tom Turner, 2-4. Then minutes later a soft back pass from Martin Ayers fell short to Turner allowing the Ifield striker to capitalize on the mistake and reduce the deficit, 3-4.
Lavant replied quickly restoring their two goal advantage once more as Massey added his second of the match from a free kick just outside the area, 3-5.
With ten minutes remaining and tempers now running high, the referee was constantly stopping play to caution various players. This along with the support of the homeside somewhat distracted Lavant’s focus and with minutes remaining Ifield had once more reduced the deficit to one goal, 4-5.
With literately seconds remaining on the clock, Ifield again pressed forward and to the disbelief of the visitors they somehow snatched a late equaliser, forcing the cup game to go into extra time, 5-5.
Lavant’s second team talk of the afternoon was harsh, as Cliff Massey made his feelings felt with regard to the team throwing away such a commanding lead in the latter part of the match.
This must have had its effect as within five minutes from the re-start Martin Ayers made up for his earlier mistake. Picking up the ball in his own half he ran through the defence and towards the Ifield goal, before coolly slotting the ball past the out-coming keeper, to once more give the visitors the lead, 5-6.
This time Lavant were resolute in their defence of the lead and held firm. They could have even restored their two goal lead when Mark Figas was abruptly brought down in the area, as referee Graham Miles awarded a penalty, much to the disbelief of the home crowd.
Unfortunately Shaun Massey’s spot kick was well saved by the keeper, ensuring that Lavant were forced to endure a nervy final few minutes of the match. Thankfully however this time they hung on until the full time whistle, winning in the end by the narrowest of margins and booking their place into the next round of the Sussex Junior Cup, where they now have a home tie against Division II South side Wittering Utd.
Lavant: T.Turner, N.Richrds, M.Grace, M.Ayers, A.Berry, D.Maclean, C.Colwell, M.Hine, S.Massey, M.Figas, S.Cole Subs: G.Pinder, G.Ockwell.