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Crowborough Athletic U21 0 Lavant 4
(Sussex Intermediate Cup)

Saturday saw Lavant make the journey across Sussex to face Crowborough Athletic U21’s from the Suburban Football League.

With the home side being the much younger it was important that Lavant used their experience and were happy to be patient ensuring that men were behind the ball and pressing as a unit to break down the Crowborough passing game. This meant in the opening exchanges Crowborough had the better of the possession but due to a good compact shape from the Chichester side, they did little with it.

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Lavant corner, with James Sandford’s diving header just going wide of the Crowborough goal

Lavant gradually started to grow into the game with Hancock being a constant and useful outlet on the right hand side. Lavant had to still be on their toes as the Crowborough winger on the opposite flank, Theo Cunningham, was equally as dangerous and Lavant full back Jon Wright done well to marshal the continuous threat.

The remainder of the half was played out as a scrappy affair with the referee stopping play for any minor indiscretion.

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Lavant’s Arron Hancock skips past the Crowborough tackle

The second half saw Lavant set about their task as they did the 1st with a couple of minor tactical changes which included a swap in flanks between Hancock and Neville. This was to prove pivotal 5 minutes in, Hancock drove inside to let fly with a ferocious right footed strike from 25 yards leaving the Crowborough keeper with no chance as it sailed into the top corner.

This was a massive turning point in the game, the visitors buoyed by such a goal continued to press and bully their opposition and 10 minutes later they made it 2. Sandford managed to beat the last defender and then calmly slotted past the oncoming keeper to open his account for the season.

Credit to Crowborough they didn’t lay down at this point, the continued threat of Theo Cunningham oh so nearly got them back in the game after finally breaking through the Lavant line only to shoot wide. This was a let off and promptly Lavant altered their shape withdrawing Neville and bringing on Holmes to shore up the midfield.

However, this didn’t stop Lavant creating chances and their 3rd came 5 minutes from time. A direct free kick dispatched by Lyttle with the Crowborough wall all at sea.

The 4th came only minutes later following some neat footwork in the area by Haggar and hammered home to ensure it was Lavant who carried on into the next round in what was a very assured and effective performance.

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

Lavant Reserves 3 Chapel 2
Division IV South

Recently promoted Chapel came to Raughmere Park off the back of a previous weeks 6-6 draw,

Lavant started clearly the better side as Chapel slowly settled into the game. On 10 minutes striker Pete Caveney opened the scoring with a majestic cross goal shot from an acute angle, 1-0. After this Chapel settled further into their game, although Lavant should have extended their lead with a series of headers from corners and crosses going agonisingly close. First half ended 1-0.

With slight doubts creeping into the minds of the Lavant side the second half began, Lavant not so dominant now with Chapel’s long ball tactics unsettling the Lavant defenders at times. A 55th minute Matt Stevens goal started to settle nerves giving Lavant a two goal cushion but shortly after that Chapel were awarded a somewhat soft penalty given away by Tom Parker. They scored the pen and now nerves returned during a dominant spell for the visitors and it wasn’t too long before they score the equalizer, had the wheels fallen off Lavants good start to the season?

Lavant re grouped and with a slight shuffle of the midfield and a introduction of substitutes Craig Spann and Leon Mears and Lavant regained a foothold in the game, threatening the Chapel goal once more and on one attack the Chapel defender lunged in catching Caveney, conceding a penalty. Greg Ayling scored the penalty confidently giving Lavant a narrow 3-2 lead

It was now time for the home side to shore up the midfield and protect their slim lead.  Don Polack was dispatched to midfield from the bench at the cost of a striker and Lavant saw out the final minutes with possession football and resolute pressure to break up any Chapel hopes of another equilizer.

Man of the match Matt Stevens.

Team: Rob Baylis, Martin Smith, Neil Latham, Ben Thomas (c), Tom parker, Louis Weller, Adam Yaxley, Lee Smith, Pete Caveney, Greg Ayling.  Subs: Craig Spann, Leon Mears, Don Polack