Dramatic End to a Great Cup Run

James Sandford on the ball LFC vs Arundel Reserves 21-02-15

James Sandford attacking Arundel’s goal

Lavant 2 Arundel Reserves 2 AET

Sussex Intermediate Cup – Semi Final

This was a game where Lavant found themselves wondering how on earth they’re not through to the final. Two hours of football were displayed showing the very best and the very worst of a much improved Lavant side from 12 months ago.

Many a match report has been written saying Lavant again started slow and conceded yet another early goal, but this is now a thing of the past. From the off Lavant were at their opponents and could have been 1-0 up in the opening minute but the woodwork saved Arundel’s blushes from Sandfords effort.

Lavants build up play continued to be neat and purposeful and on the 24th minute were given a golden opportunity to take the lead after a Knight cross was handled in the box, however Brook’s penalty was well saved by the Arundel keeper.

Further chances fell to Lavant before the break with Brooks in the thick of it but halftime came and you couldn’t help but think that Lavant really should have been out of sight.

The second half started and Arundel were much improved, switching the ball well and using their wide men to good effect.

Ten minutes into the half Arundel were awarded a penalty of their own with their forward beating Sanson to the ball and being clipped in the process. Sanson was sent the wrong way from the resulting spot kick, 1-0 Arundel.

The lead didn’t last long, 6 minutes later Lavant levelled after the impressive James Batten headed home a Sandford free-kick. The remainder of the half was played out and extra time was needed to split the two sides.

Lavant started the extra time period with some good passing moves, again it was Brooks getting on the end of many a move but it really wasn’t his day in front of goal. But it wasn’t until the 2nd half of extra time and the 116th minute where the drama truly unfolded, Knight with the ball on the dead ball line managed to find the back of the net curling the ball in at the back post.

This was it, 4 minutes and Lavant were into the Intermediate Cup final.

Aaron Hancock on the ball LFC vs Arundel Reserves 21-02-15

Aaron Hancock on the ball

As said at the start, we’ve seen the best and now it was time for the worst of this Lavant side. It was stoppage time in extra time, a long hopeful ball from Arundel seemed to be carrying through to the Lavant keeper who called for the covering Jones to head home despite being far too close to each other, the end result is the ball looping over Sanson, it seemed as if it would just trickle wide but credit to the Arundel forward who made the ground up to poke into the empty net.

So the game looked destined for penalties, well you’d think. Lavant were wounded and Arundel took full advantage and looked for the winner. School boy defending saw the Arundel forward again felled in the box when all that was needed was to stay on your feet, take no chances as there was no real goal-scoring opportunity. The forward then got up to dispatch the resulting penalty kick.

So there you have it, Arundel went through with the last kick of the game, to the total dismay of all the players and spectators of Lavant FC.  The game was won and lost in just a matter of minutes.

We would just like to thank everyone from the village and afar who turned out to support the football team on the day. Defeat is a hard pill to swallow especially the way in which the cup game dramatically ended.  But from a neutral spectators point of view the game had everything.  A lovely location.  Pitch in great condition considering the weather (thanks Derek).  Great support on the day (thanks villagers). The Lavant team gave everything and actually out-performed our Sussex County League hosts on the day, the match itself was eventful, went to the wire and in all proved a great advertisement for true grass roots football and Lavant FC did the West Sussex Football League proud.

All that remains now is to wish our victors, Arundel Reserves all the best in their forthcoming Sussex Intermediate Cup Final.

Team from – Neil Sanson, Richard Gabb, Paul Jones, Matt Lyttle, Jon Wright, James Batten, James Brooks, Dave Knight, Aaron Hancock, Ollie Haggar, James Sandford (c). Subs: Dave Maclean, Mike Neville, Stuart Loversidge