Petworth 1 Lavant 3
With a full month having past without a game and a number of key players marooned abroad, an air of anxiety pervaded the visitors in this hastily rearranged fixture.
But, despite playing into a horrendous wind at Petworth Park, the Chichester side looked comfortable and played some confident football. Lavant’s Ryan Seacombe was through on goal until Darren Hotson chopped him down with 4 minutes on the clock.
Petworth, assisted by the wind, maintained pressure on a resolute Lavant defence. When they were breached, 17 year old ‘keeper, Rob Baylis, on his debut was more than up to the task, pulling off a fine save from Martin Dillion’s strike on 26 minutes. At the other end Alex Wadey matched his opposite number with a fine stop from James Brooks’s drive a minute later and at the feet of Mike Bartley in the 40th minute.
In between, Baylis parried Hotson’s shot but Dillion was first to the rebound and set John Pafford up to put Petworth ahead in 35 minutes.
The turning point of the game came 2 minutes from half-time, when Rob Levett fired his penalty shot wide after being fouled in the box by Matt Lyttle.
Lavant’s management were confident of winning the game in the second half abetted by that wind, provided they kept their build up passes short.
This paid off when Dave Knight hit a screamer into the net from 28 yards on 56 minutes; a feat repeated by Brooks 13 minutes later to put Lavant 2-1 up.
The game was sealed in the 73rd minute when Mike Neville, who managed to get back from Italy only hours before the match, scored off the post after lofting the ball in from far out on the right wing. He celebrated in a true Mario Balotelli style lifting his Lavant shirt to reveal a tee shirt with ‘Why Always Me’.
What a fitting end to a great wind swept performance.
Lavant: R.Baylis, C.Coe, J.Wright, M.Hine, M.Lyttle, M.Neville, J.Brooks, M.Stevens, D.Knight, R.Seacombe, M.Bartley. Subs: N.Latham
Lavant Reserves 2 Boxgrove 1
Match report to follow.