Christmas came early for Middleton in this Div 2 league game, when the Bognor side took a two goal lead within 4 minutes of the start. Lavant sweeper Matt Court had drifted forward out of position and ‘keeper, Chris Bowles, came far out of goal but failed to claim the ball, leaving Paul Ramsay to hit an unguarded net.

Then, Bowles slipped as he moved to save a Nathan Sadler free kick and could only deflect the ball into the net.

But, whilst the visitors were strong up front, their back four looked vulnerable. Wing backs, Haggar and Price came close as Lavant opened up the visitors’ defence and Stuart Loversidge shot over from 6 yds with the goal at his mercy. But the Chichester striker made no mistake when he broke through on 25 mins to put Lavant back in the game. Fellow striker Tom Parker forced a save from ‘keeper, Gareth Lloyd, before later being chopped down in the penalty area. He converted the spot-kick to send Lavant in level at half-time.

Lavant’s Man-of-the-Match, Mike Neville, tormented the Middleton defence in the early minutes of the second half but had little or no support in the box from colleagues.

Whilst the homeside failed to continue the style of play they had showed in their first half recovery, Middleton continued to push forward and were rewarded on 52 mins when Daniel Benfield struck the winner from the edge of the area.

The game was put beyond Lavant’s reach 13 mins later when the Chichester ‘keeper scuffed his clearance to leave Will Andrews the easiest of goals.

Team: C.Bowles, D.Hall, M.Court, J.Strange, O.Haggar, M.Neville, D.Kennard, M.Hine, M.Price, T.Parker, S.Loversidge. Subs: B.Thomas, C.Drinkwater, J.Walsh.