As it is.

Mel Milburn’s first full report of Saturday’s Reserve game (slightly edited by the Director of Football).

Lavant Reserves 5 Coal Exchange 1

From the start of the game, with the crowd roaring “We are Lavant, say we are Lavant”, the yellow and blues played some good controlled football all over the pitch, pressing the opposition’s goal at every opportunity.

This was a game the homeside really wanted to win as they were up against ex Lavant popular stalwart Simon Blackman’s new team and they want desperately to make a good impression.

So with only three minutes gone Lavant were delighted to be one nil up thanks to Ryan Seacombe. A clever through ball from midfield saw Seacombe beat the offside trap to slide the ball home past the keeper, 1-0.

Lavant from the restart continued to play good link up football, passing with accuracy and menace and the rewards soon came as the impressive Dave Maclean picked up the ball on the left hand side, beat two players and smashed the ball home at the near post, 2-0.

Not bad from the man with no smile. Only eight minutes into the game and the Lavant boys were showing some great composure, not allowing the opposition any time on the ball to settle. From defence through to the strikers the passing game was on show in all its glory, as Seacombe received a pass on the edge of the box, held up the defender and then neatly laid off the ball into the path of the incoming Maclean running in on goal from the left, who shot first time smashing the ball home past the keeper, scoring his second of the match and giving Lavant a commanding lead so early in the game, all of which this time did bring a wry smile to Maclean’s face, 3-0.

The Coal Exchange still smarting from being three goals down so early on struggled to get a foothold as Lavant continued to press again in search of another goal.

With 30 minutes gone Sean Massey received the ball in midfield, played a one two with defender Martin Smith before picking out Dan Mortimer with a inch perfect through ball, who ran into the box before shooting across goal, where Seacombe quickest to react, beat off a challenge from the defender and neatly chipping the ball over the out-coming keeper and into the back of the net, 4-0.

Approaching half time the visitors were waning from the onslaught and desperate to get to the interval. But Lavant were still not finished as they added another to their tally as they scored what was most probably the best goal of the match, as Massey, Philips and Smith combined working the ball through the middle of the park before picking Shay Wiggins out on the flank, who’s inch perfect cross picked out the incoming Dan Mortimer, who headed home the fifth goal, 5-0.

The second half saw the Coal Exchange come out fighting determined to make amends for their poor first half performance and on 50 minutes they managed to pulled one goal back, after breaking clear of the defence to score past keeper Tom Turner, 5-1.

Lavant made wholesale changes bring on Eastwood, Clarke and Swain as the remaining forty minutes of the game were much more evenly contested. Adam Clarke should have made it six for the homeside as his he beat two players in the box, before shooting past the keeper, but the strength of his final shot was unfortunatley not sufficient to cross the line.

The final whistle saw Lavant bag all three league points to the delight of the mangement team of Massey and Milburn. The team had put in a solid all round performance in which all the players fought hard and played with a smile and in effect ensured the game was all over within the first 30 minutes.

Team: T. Turner, M.Smith, J.Strange, S.Gooding, D.Hall, J.Phillips, D.Maclean, S.Massey, S.Wiggins, R.Seacombe, D.Mortimer. Subs: C.Swain, S.Eastwood, A.Clarke.

Partridge Green 2 Lavant 1

Manager, David Parker’s, frustrations glided into another week of the season as he struggled again to assemble a team for what could easily be a relegation decider.

Lewis Partridge’s 25 min goal proved to be the homeside’s winner in this battle on a mud churned Ashurst pitch.

Lavant started brightly enough, dominating the first quarter hour. Matt Price’s persistence provided a delightful swivel and shot from Alan Sheppard, but the striker’s effort shaved the bar in the first minute.

Despite rehearsals on defending corners, Ben Gammon was allowed a free header on 20 minutes to put The Green ahead against the run of play.

The homeside grew in confidence whilst Lavant pathetically wilted. Then came Lewis Partridge’s lobbed cross which dipped under the bar with ‘keeper Bowles grasping thin air, to double the homeside’s lead.

Lavant’s Ross Lines forced a fine save from ‘keeper, Dave Angell, on the half-hour but otherwise the visitors were drear.

A rollicking at half-time brought Lavant out as a changed side and Kennard’s long throw, topped on by Sheppard, fell to Lines who coolly put the visitor’s back in contention on 50 minutes.

But try as they might, Lavant could not secure the equaliser. David Parker paid tribute to the homeside: “We were rubbish in the first half and much better in the second but Partridge Green stoutly defended their lead and deserved their win.”

Lavant: C.Bowles, N.Watts, M.Court, D.Kennard, C.Coe, M.Price, M.Neville, B.Evans, R.Lines, A.Sheppard, C.Withall. Subs: J.Walsh, L.Hayward.

Saturday’s Results

5th December

Division Four Cup: Second round:
Yapton II 1, West Chiltington II 2.

Bareham Trophy: Second round:
Selsey FC A 3, Newtown Villa III 0.

Division 1:
Henfield 2, Faygate Utd 4.
Partridge Green 2, Lavant 1.
Watersfield 1, Ashington Rovers 3.

Division 4 South:
Lavant II 5, Coal Exchange 1.