East Dean 0 Lavant 2

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Aerial battle in the East Dean goal, with Matt Steven jumping highest 

On the run in to this Derby match, Manager, David Parker admitted. “I am anxious about this game. Any complacency and East Dean are a banana skin waiting for us to slip on”. Add to this the absence of two regular players and the caution was understandable.

Despite Lavant outplaying their opponents, Parker’s fears seemed justifiable when East Dean ‘keeper, Dave Hunter, pulled of a series of terrific saves from Lavant’s Mike Bartley, Dave Knight and Louis Weller. In addition, Knight twice hit the post and Lavant were denied a penalty despite a handling offence by the homeside.

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Stewart Loversidge pressing to score in the heavily defended East Dean goal 

Just to emphasise the danger, on one isolated breakaway, Louis Manchip clipped the visitors’ crossbar and then Lee Bessey headed close from a corner.

After the restart, East Dean made the running in the first quarter hour but as Lavant settled back into their passing game, the deadlock was broken when Knight’s deep cross was headed home by Bartley at the far post on 65 minutes.

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Mike Bartley heading in Lavant’s second goal at the far post

Two minutes later, Bartley was the supplier from the left as Weller volleyed home the cross in majestic style.

Substitute, Mike Neville hit the post for the visitors within minutes of coming on, Lavant then kept possession of the ball to see out the game and secure the 3 points.

Lavant: N.Sanson, J.Wright, M.Lyttlle, M.Hine, C.Coe, L.Weller, M.Stevens, J.Brooks, M.Bartley, D.Knight, S.Loversidge. Subs: M.Grace, M.Neville.

Lavant Reserves 2 Predators 0

A bruising encounter was expected in this Division II south fixture between Lavant and Predators as both sides desperately needed a win to move up the lower half of the table.

True to predictions the game went as expected as early on both teams battled to get the upper hand, with hard tackling and early bookings being given out by referee Roy Johnson to players on both sides.

It was Predators that broke the deadlock taking advantage of Lavant’s sloppy play going one nil up with 15 minutes gone on the clock, as stand in keeper Dave Mclean was caught to far off his goal line as the Predators forward took full advantage neatly chipping the ball over Maclean into the empty net, 0-1.

Lavant were however soon level following a flare-up involving captain Greg Ockwell and the Predators midfielder.  Ockwell still fired up then won the ball, ran 60 yards towards goal before unleashing a furious shot, which the keeper could only parry away from goal and into the path of Lavant’s top scorer Mark Fegus who made no mistake scoring from close range, 1-1.

The game now opened up as both teams pressed forward in search of the next goal.  Lavant should have gone in the lead if it were not for two great saves from the Predators keeper.  The homeside were then made to pay for not taking their chances as visitors capitalized from a free-kick.  The ball was lofted into the goal mouth followed, a mad scramble ensued before the visitors got the final touch prodded the ball over the line, 1-2.

Predators now had the upper hand and as Lavant hastily made changes to plug the holes appearing in defence, the visitors stuck again, taking a commanding three one lead into half time, 1-3.

Manager Cliff Massey gave his team a stern talking to during the break and that seemed to do the trick as within 5 minutes from the re-start Lavant had reduced the deficit as Fegus was once again on hand as he went on a darting run down the by line, past 3 players before scoring from a tight angle, neatly lofting the ball over the keeper into the far corner, 2-3.

The fight back was now on, but although Lavant created numerous chances they just could frustratingly never apply the finishing touch. With the Predator’s keeper in such good form, plus when he was did beaten the bar and post came to the visitors rescue, the equaliser seemed to be eluding Lavant as the remaining minutes ticked away.

Stand in keeper Mclean redeemed his earlier mistake as late on he pulled off two great one verses one saves to keep Lavant in the game.  But it was a case of déjà vu as Lavant yet again finally succumbed to another agonising three two defeat.

Assistant Manager Mel Milburn said of the game “we were rocked this week by the loss of our keeper late Saturday morning, but we rearranged the squad and gave it one hundred and twenty percent, but the simple things let us down today. Passing and tackling is the cornerstone of any football match.”

Lavant: D.Maclean, G.Ockwell, M.Ayers, S.Wiggins, A.Berry, S.Massey, A.Holmes, G.Bell, R.Lines, S.Cole, M.Fegus. Subs: J.Green, M.Milburn.

Saturdays League Results

Division ONE
Barns Green 2 East Dean 1
Faygate Utd 2 Cowfold Reserves 0
Holbrook FC v Newtown Villa Reserves
Hunston CC Reserves 0 Southwater 3
Lavant 4 Barnham Reserves 1
Petworth 2 Yapton 1

Division TWO SOUTH
Fernhurst 3 Lodsworth 3
Fittleworth 5 Lavant Reserves 4
Predators 1 Boxgrove 2
Selsey FC ‘A’ v Barnham 3rd
Stedham Utd 1 Wittering Utd 4