Middleton Utd confirmed their position as second in this Div 2 battle by beating third in the table Lavant and closing the gap on league leaders Clymping.

The homeside’s back four ably led by Daniel Stote pressed high and drove Lavant deep early in the game. But they looked vulnerable to the visitor’s counter attacks with Robbie Pinder breaking through twice in the first 5 mins only to be caught offside. When Pinder did break through clear, he fired over the bar.

The Westergate side’s front men played on the shoulder of their opponent defenders and always looked threatening. When Richard Chandler was pulled down in the box, Aiden Aldrich converted the spot kick to put Middleton ahead.

Lavant raised their game in the secondhalf but still looked poor, compared with the rest of their season. Nevertheless, Pinder pulled his shot wide with only ‘keeper, Gareth Lloyd to beat.

Lavant Coach, David Parker, pushed a midfielder forward in a gamble to equalise and Middleton were driven back. Lavant’s all out attempt to push forward exposed them to counters and Chandler headed home a rebound from a corner with 60 seconds to go.

“We did not play well today”, confessed Parker, “and were too timid at the start.

Even so we had the chances to retrieve the game; I was so disappointed in our attitude but am looking forward to the return game when we’ll make sure things are different”

Team: C.Bowles, B.Thomas, L.Hayward, D.Hall, O.Haggar, M.Ayers, J.Hepworth, D.Maclean, M.Richardson, R.Pinder, R.Lines. Subs: N.Farrer, M.Martin