General Henry 3 Lavant 2

Darren Wedge’s 88min goal secured victory for the homeside in this Div 2 clash.

The Littlehampton hosts got off to a dream start when Cassey Johnson’s innocuous high ball into the Lavant goalmouth floated into the far top corner.

The visitors were lacking their usual zeal and were saved from further embarrassment when ‘keeper Martin Pullen bravely smothered the ball at the feet of midfielder Scott Wilson. But to General Henry’s delight Carl Stocker did fire them further ahead as Lavant stopped for offside. The linesman flagged but referee, Albert Taylor awarded the goal.

After a half-time team talk Lavant emerged a different side and pulled one back when Danny Baker’s cross was headed home by the effervescent Mike Neville on 48mins. Then as the visitors were rampant Ross Lines was red carded and got his marching orders. Ten man Lavant still were in the ascendancy and sweeper, Gooding, headed them level from a Matt Hine corner with 18 mins left to play. Lavant incredibly missed 5 golden chances to win the game before Wedge’s shot was deflected in for the winner off defender Robbie Pinder.

Lavant Captain, Ben Thomas, said” We had a massive injury list but debutants Baker and Jason Houghton aquitted themselves brilliantly. We have no excuse. If we’d played with the same zeal in the first half as the second we’d have gone home the winners instead ”

Team: M.Pullen, R.Pinder, S.Gooding, M.Hine, M.Neville, T.Evans, B.Thomas, C.Swain, R.Lines, D.Baker, C.Withall. Sub: J.Houghton.

All Square after Ninety Minutes

Lavant Reserves 2 Coal Exchange 2

After a week without football Lavant Reserves were back in action at home against Emsworth side Coal Exchange in another crunch game at the foot of Division IV South.

With excellent conditions for playing football, neither teams seemed to be up for the game early on as they both struggled to put two passes together, as the pitch resembled more a pin ball machine than a game of football, as the ball was uncontrollably booted all over the pitch.

As a result of their poor start Lavant were not looking confident in defence and when Stuart Eastwood missed timed his clearance, the Emsworth striker was quickest to react breaking clear, only to be brought down seconds later by a late tackle from Tom Sheppard, which resulted in a booking, but could have been a straight red if the referee Sam Martin had deemed him to be last man.

The resulting free kick was cleared to safety, but minutes later the inevitable happened as the home side failed to push up and play the game in the visitors half.  Poor marking in the area gifted the visitors their first goal, as Geoff Bartlett converted from close range, 0-1.

It took Lavant until the twentieth minute to get their first shot on target and finally wake up to the fact they had a game to win. Alex Waters through ball found Dave Morris who shot just over the bar and shortly afterwards Adam Yaxley went close with his shot on goal.

But it was Chris Bowles who finally evened the score for Lavant, as he raced onto a pass through the middle of the park, hitting his shot first time from just outside the box completely catching the keeper off guard, scoring a fabulous equalizer, to the joy of the manager Dave Kent who had been frustrated by his team’s poor start to the match, 1-1.

This was the catalyst the home side wanted as they then started to pressurize the visitors goal for the remainder of the half and minutes before the break Dave Knight’s strike hit low and hard from the edge of the box went through the crowded defence and past keeper Pete Nugent into the back of the net. But to the disbelief of the spectators the goal was disallowed as Chris Bowles was deemed to be in an offside position and interfering with play.

Lavant started the second half with a much better attitude as they attacked the visitors goal right from the off, but on the sixtieth minute and against the run of play Jamie Laycock put the visitors ahead once more with an unstoppable striker from outside the box, 1-2.

The Coal Exchange were now happy to sit back and defend their lead as Lavant frantically tried to get something out of the game. With half an hour remaining Lavant brought on all three subs, Guy Pinder, Jason Houghton and Jon Strange in an effort to freshen up the attack.

With fifteen minutes remaining a mix up in the visitors box saw Nugent pick up a back pass, which resulted in Martin awarding an indirect free kick in the area.  With the keeper and the whole of the Emsworth team lined up on the line, the ball was rolled forward for Greg Ockwell to strike but his efforts went agonisingly inch’s wide of the post.

It was however man of the match Ockwell’s continued perseverance which eventually paid off, as he earn’t a free kick for Lavant on the edge of the box with just two minutes of the game remaining.  Tom Sheppard then stepped up and drove his shot hard and low through the wall, picking up a small defection on the way and beating the stranded keeper, to ensure Lavant deservedly drew level, 2-2.

The remaining minutes were all Lavant as they tried hard for the winner, but in the end they had to settle for a draw.  Manager Dave Kent commended his team for the fight back, but they were all aware that the result was really two points dropped, not one point gained, as the battle at the foot of the table is set to continue well into the new year.

Team: P.Czajka, S.Blackman, S.Eastwood, T.Sheppard, D.Hall, D.Morris, G.Ockwell, A.Yaxley, D.Knight, C.Bowles, A.Waters. Subs: J.Strange, G.Pinder, J.Perrin.

West Sussex League Results – 20th December

Division 2 South:

Barnham Res 1, Fishbourne 7; General Henry 3, Lavant 2;
Predators Res 1, Hunston CC 1; Selsey Town 2, Yapton 0.

Division 4 South:

Boxgrove 1, Newtown Villa III 2; Lavant Res 2, Coal Exchange 2;
Petworth Res 1, Tangmere 2.