Petworth 1 Lavant 2

After last week’s disappointment, Lavant returned to winning ways with a restoration of the disciplined system of play that has recently stood them in good stead.

Petworth applied most of the early pressure with John Parford and Rob Levett being the main architects. But, ten minutes in the Chichester side crept gradually into the game and produced several chances before going ahead through Darren Cox on 19 minutes converting a sweet Cowell-Brooks-Knight build up.

Web Pic Darren Cox & Dave Knight behind PetworthvsLFC 050311

Darren Cox battling to win the ball
Photograph by Chichester Observer

Cox came close to doubling the lead 2 minutes later before Lavant ‘keeper, Ash Rochester, saved brilliantly at the feet of Levett, 6 minutes from half-time to retain their narrow lead.

At the restart, the homeside again took the game to Lavant in an endeavour to level the score and when Levett was brought down in the “D”, the visitors’ wall did its job blocking the Petworth striker’s free kick.

Lavant were counter-attacking with delightful football and Ryan Seacombe came close again on 61 minutes and Cowell hit the bar 8 minutes later.

Web Pic Ryan Seacombe battling for the ball PetworthvsLFC 050311

Ryan Seacombe sliding in for the tackling

Eventually, the Chichester side went further ahead when Seacombe converted from the penalty spot after he was upended in the box in the 70th minute.  Levett again gained a free-kick just outside the box 4 minutes later.

The Lavant wall again did its job but Dan Warren stabbed the ball home from 2 yards from the resulting hectic series of rebounds in the goalmouth.   Petworth’ keeper, Ian Fumacali pulled off a great save to deny Cox 14 minutes later but Lavant saw the game out.

Lavant manager, David Parker, commented: “It was important to bounce back after last week’s defeat. I always felt we were in control of the game with a re-found discipline”.

Lavant: A. Rochester, S.Green, J.Wright, C.Coe, D.Cowell, D.Knight, J.Brooks, M.Stevens, S.Loversidge, R.Seacombe, D.Cox. Subs: N.Watts, P.Cairns.

Tangmere 1 Lavant Reserves 3

This game proved to be was a very edgy derby for Lavant playing local rivals Tangmere, who in previous encounters seemed to have the knack of scoring late on to grab the points.

So caution, concentration and discipline were the order of the day for the visitors.  Lavant in fact got off to a great start taking an early lead with only 5 minutes on the clock, as Rhys Watling who was constantly causing problems for the Tangmere defence, was taken down in the box by a rash tackle.

Referee Chris White awarded a penalty and up stepped Ross Lines to bury the ball in the back of the net, 0-1.

Tangmere from the restart pressed Lavant back into their own half in an attempt to get an equaliser as the matched took the shape of a real local derby game, with tackles flying in with full blooded commitment from both sides.

Lavant however remained robust at the back as the homeside failed to really threatened stand-in keeper Simon Watling. The homeside were however quick on the counterattack and created their second goal on 20 minutes.  Youngster Rhys Watling broke into the box, beating a couple of defenders before unselfishly squaring the ball to his strike partner Ross Lines who was in acres of space and was only left with the simplest of tap ins in order to double the visitors lead, 0-2.

This was definitely a body blow to Tangmere who now found themselves two down at home, but to their credit they never gave up as the game continued to swing either way with the homeside chasing every ball putting Lavant under immense pressure.

The rear guard of Lavant again stood firm and even when their defences were breached Tangmere strikers, who had seemed to have left their shooting boots at home, were unable to capitalise due to some poor finishing.

Half time came as a welcome break for the visitors, but a heated team talk to the Lavant players left them under no illusions that there was still much to do in this game, even with a two goal cushion.

True to the warnings, Tangmere on 55 minutes managed to reduce the deficit pulling a goal back from a free kick which produced a goal mouth scramble before the shot was played though the crowded box past a number of players and keeper Watling, 1-2.

This didn’t help Lavant’s cause as the edginess of the derby game resurfaced as players sensed a feeling of déjà vu again. Tangmere were now chasing every ball making it difficult for Lavant to take control of the game.

Chances then fell to both teams, but a combination of poor finishing and good goal keeping denied both teams. At this stage it was Tangmere who looked most likely to draw level, so sensing this manager Cliff Massey set about the with changes bringing on fresh legs introducing Robbie Pinder, Matt Carver and Joe Green.

The effects were instant with Lavant now taking the game to Tangmere.

Chances were now being created by the visitors as the Tangmere keeper was forced to make two fine saves from close range. Lavant still needed the third goal buffer in order to put this match to bed and calm the nerves of the management team of Massey and Milburn who were frantically pacing up and down the touch line.

Then in the closing stages of the game, Lavant left back Daryl Hall picked up the ball on the half way line ran towards the goal before curling the ball round the defender towards the incoming Joe Green, who got his shot away first time, catching the keeper off guard as he could only parry the ball to the floor.

Green quickest to react and first to the ball made no mistake with his second effort drilling the ball home past the stranded keeper ensuring Lavant this time bagged all three points in this hard fought derby, 1-3.

A jubilant Cliff Massey said after the game “This was a close match. Tangmere don’t give you any time on the ball, putting pressure on you very quickly.  That’s why we opted for fresh legs and this worked as we then exerted pressure back onto Tangmere which culminated in a great winning goal from young Joe Green”.

Lavant: S.Watling, D.Hall, D.Morris, M.Ayers, B.Evans, L.Weller, S.Massey, D.Maclean, L.Cook-Jones, R.Watling, R.Lines.  Subs: R.Pinder, M.Carver, J.Green.