Lavant 2 Newtown Villa 2
Lavant managed to beat the weather and get their game on against Bognor side Newtown Villa. Villa is historically a bit of a bogie side for Lavant but after a 2-0 victory over the visitors earlier in the season, it was hoped that this would be a thing of the past.
Sadly there were to be no league double for the home side as both teams left with a share of the spoils but the result does not tell the whole story of the fixture.
Lavant had to shuffle the pack with front man Baker missing along with centre half Augustus but based on the opening exchanges this was not to be an issue. Caveney deployed up front found himself clear on a number of occasions but failed to convert whilst broke clear from the right only to fire wide.
Lavant were very much on top but on the half hour they had their wobble. A purposeful break down the right by Villa with the resulting cross finding Russell to convert from 10 yards out.
Minutes later, a Villa corner found the back of the net, Lavant appeared to of dealt with the threat but with the ball seemingly sailing out of play was hooked back into the box by a Lavant player for Russell again to convert. Halftime came and Lavant were left wondering how they were two down.
Lavant came out for the second half and pretty much enjoyed complete domination. The play was neat, tidy and full of purpose. Villa found themselves playing deeper and deeper but still Lavant failed to find that illusive goal.
Villa had virtually no outlet and Court found himself player as a sweeper keeper as Lavant popped the ball around looking for an opening despite the deteriorating surface.
With 10 to play finally Lavant netted, after some good build-up a Caveney knock down found Brooks to sweep home and give the home side a lifeline.
5 minutes later Lavant were level, a Haggar corner found substitute Stevens whose header hit the post and skewed along the goal line for Sandford to poke in.
Sadly time ran out for Lavant in a fixture that must be viewed as 2 points dropped rather than 1 point gained after the 2 goal deficit at half time.
Lavant: Ahley Court, Oli Haggar, James Batten, Matt Lyttle, Jon Wright, Charlie McLaren, James Brooks, aaron Hancock, Ashley Hawkes, James Sandford, Pete Caveney Subs: Matt Stevens
Ambassadors 0 Lavant Reserves 7
Lavant Reserves stormed back to the top of the league as they blew away Ambassadors at a wind-swept Avisford Park.
In their first game for 2 months, the visitors dominated from start to finish, with two goals for Greg Ayling, one each for Lee Smith and debutant John Price and a hat-trick for man-of-the-match John Langridge.
Even a late penalty couldn’t yield a consolation for the hosts, Rob Baylis diving to his left to push the spot-kick away and keep the clean sheet intact.
Manager Neil Sanson demanded a fast tempo start and Lavant didn’t disappoint, despite playing into the wind. With the Ambassador’s back line in disarray, Lavant broke the deadlock on 12 minutes as Langridge beat the off-side trap to bear down on goal before lifting over the advancing ‘keeper.
However, shortly after they were indebted to Baylis for maintaining the lead. Making his first start since breaking a finger in October, the ‘keeper dived full length to his right to superbly push away a fierce drive that came through a crowded area. Despite this, the visitors continued to threaten, Langridge having a shot well saved and Smith blazing over.
Lavant were 2-0 ahead on 26 minutes, Smith breaking quickly down the left before calmly slotting under the ‘keeper, and Langridge made it three 8 minutes later, again breaking free from a static defence before selling the ‘keeper a dummy with some cute footwork and tapping home.
The second half was even more one-sided, with Langridge completing his hat-trick after 53 minutes, lashing in a loose ball from 12 yards. Amabassadors literally gave Lavant a helping hand on the hour, as an attempted clearance hit a teammate’s arm from 3 yards away, and the ref harshly pointed to the spot. Ayling tucked the ball in the corner, but was made to retake the kick due to encroachment; it made no difference as he calmly put it in the opposite corner as the visitors began to run riot.
Ayling made it 6 five minutes later, sliding in at the back post to steer home Smith’s ball in, and Price stroked home a half volley from Adam Yaxley’s corner with 17 minutes to go.
A lovely piece of interchange between Langridge and Smith saw them play three one-twos before Smith’s scuffed shot dribbled wide, and Mickey Earle shot over from close range moments after coming on.
Amabassadors kept probing and were rewarded with 5 minutes to go as Earle’s high challenge resulted in a penalty, but Baylis guessed right to round off an excellent performance from the men in yellow.
Lavant: Rob Baylis, Matt Grace, Neil Latham (c), John Price, Mike Sleet, Scott Yaxley, Tom Parker, Paul Taylor, Greg Ayling, Lee Smith, John Langridge. Subs: Adam Yaxley, Mickey Earle.