Lavant 0 Watersfield 3
Duncan Terry attacking on the left flank
Lavant’s pre-season enthusiasm came to an abrupt end after the opening game of the new season as Watersfield convincingly bagged all three points.
The opening quarter saw Lavant press the visitor’s goal, playing some good controlled football, however Watersfield defended their goal staunchly and prove a real handful on the counterattack.
With 18 minutes gone a long clearance saw Watersfield centre forward Luke Talbot head down into the path of right winger Richard Franklin, who just beat keep Martin Pullen to the ball to prod home the opener, 0-1.
Two minutes later Watersfield almost scored a copy book goal but this time Pullen pulled off a great save to deny Franklin. Watersfield were now on top as Lavant struggled to deal with the long ball game, with Franklin caused havoc every time he was given the ball.
But Pullen in great form pulled of a number of saves to ensure the visitors were unable to increase their slender lead.
Martin Pullen pulling of a great save to deny the Waterfield striker
With minutes remaining of the half Lavant nearly drew level as Ryan Seacombe’s darting run and close rang strike was somehow saved by keeper Steve Dingle.
Lavant’s half time talk about dealing with the long ball game didn’t seem to work as right from the restart Franklin was again through on goal, but Pullen again pulled off another great save to prevent Watersfield further increasing their lead.
With 25 minutes remaining Sam Cole replaced Chris Coe as Lavant reverted to a 4 4 2 formation in an effort to get something out of the game.
Unfortunately with 15 minutes remaining Lavant conceded a silly free-kick just outside the box and the subsequent free-kick was lofted into the area causing havoc, as Pullen pulled off a great close range save but the loose ball was smashed home by Jack Corbett to give Watersfield now a commanding two goal lead, 0-2.
Sam Cole battling for the ball
The last 15 minutes saw Lavant press forward in an attempt to get back into the game and Cole went agonisingly close as his effort ricochet off the left post and across the goal to safety.
With seconds remaining the visitors were awarded a tame penalty which Pete Bailey converted right on full time. The homeside were left disappointed by the result, but with a new look team and formation it may take a few weeks to settle down and get the most out of what on paper is a very promising team.
Lavant: M.Pullen, G.Ockwell, T.Sheppard, D.Kennard, C.Coe, M.Stevens, D.Terry, B.Evans, D.Knight, R.Seacombe, S.Loversidge. Subs L.Weller, T.Parker, S.Cole.
Lavant Reserves 1 Predators 0
This Saturday’s opening fixture was a real test for the newly promoted Lavant Reserves as they hosted Predators at Raughmere park in front of a good crowd, who had also been watching the earlier first team fixture.
With a few new faces in the starting line up Lavant went about their business right from the start trying to play a passing football as Predators did there best to breakdown down the play.
Martin Ayers first to the ball
As a result the first 20 minutes ended up a bruising encounter, with many niggling free kicks with as the game continually kept stopping and starting.
Eventually however Lavant started to press their game plan, as the new look team started to gel and play some neat attractive football, resulting in a number of great opportunities to take the lead, however these were thawted by the Predators keeper pulling off a number of saves to ensure the score remained goal-less going into half time, 0-0.
The second half inspired by manager Cliff Massey’s team talk saw Lavant take an early lead with a quick fire goal by Shay Wiggins, as Shay rose and headed in from close range from a delightful cross from just outside the box, just minutes after the re-start.
This spurred Lavant on and the team started to play some good attacking football as again they pressed forward in search of another goal. But the visitors keeper again pulled off a number of saves to deny the homeside the opportunity of extending their lead further.
Predators to their credit a man down through injury, produced a late rally which saw them almost grab an equalizer, but thanks to the post, crossbar and a top quality save from rookie keeper Adam Houghton the score remained unchanged as the referee blew the final whistle.
Assistant Manager Mel Milburn said afterwards “with a few new faces playing today they were always going to need time too gel together. But you could see in the second half the lads stood up too the challenge.”
Lavant: A.Houghton, M.Carver, J.Wright, P.Cairns, J.Brooks, S.Wiggins, D.Ranjbar, S.Massey, R.Lines, M.Ayers, D.Maclean. Subs M.Hine, S.Green, R.Pinder.