Barnham Reserves 3 Lavant 2
Lavant had domination of this game for an hour and looked destined to take 3 points.
Striker, Sam Cole hit the frame of the goal after 16 minutes and co-striker, Ryan Seacombe, opened the scoring 10 minutes later, converting a Ross Lines cross after the winger had beaten two Barnham players.
Despite a sloppy midfield pass letting Brad Nixon in to draw Barnham level on 32 minutes, Lavant looked comfortable. They deservedly took the lead again as Seacombe this time converted a right wing cross from Alan Sheppard 6 minutes from half-time.
James Brooks could have buried the game seconds later but shot over. Lavant continued in the same vein in the second half with Lines hitting the cross bar after a delightful move by the visitors.
Then Lavant failed to get behind the ball when out of possession and the game opened up as a result, playing into Barnham’s hands. Substitute, Damon Beasley produced a beautiful finish to put the homeside level on 70 minutes and when Tom Parker gave away a penalty, Harry Abraham converted the winner with 8 minutes to go.
Manager, David Parker lamented “The best team lost. We had it in the bag and unprofessionally let the game open out. Another lesson to learn: but these lessons are becoming very expensive”.
Lavant: A. Rochester, N. Watts, T. Parker, D. Kennard, M. Price, A. Sheppard, J. Brooks, M. Stevens, R. Lines, R. Seacombe, S. Cole. Subs: J. Walsh, M. Carver, S. Eastwood.
Lavant Reserves 0 AFC Brighton & Hove 3
Sussex Junior Cup
It was time to take the players minds of their recent poor league form and concentrate on putting in a positive performance against visitors AFC Brighton and Hove in this Sussex Junior Cup fixture.
This match would therefore prove a good test for the homeside as AFC were a division above them in their respective league and were currently second in Div II of the Brighton & Hove District Football League.
It was Lavant who started the better of the two teams, a familiar story with good possession football, working the ball through the tight AFC midfield and creating chances with Dan Cowell going close on two occasions with well taken strikes.
With recalled striker Robbie Pinder also winning the aerial battle up front, the players were rising to the challenge and looked to be on top. Then on forty minutes an AFC corner was headed clear only to fall into the path of an AFC player on the edge of the box, who struck it on the volley and straight into the back of the net, giving keeper Tom Turner no chance and putting the visitors into a shock lead minutes before half time, 0-1.
Words at the interval by manager Cliff Massey brought the players out fighting for the second half and Lavant once more forced the play, pushing AFC to defend their slender lead.
Again Lavant forged out a number of chances with Cowell, Darren Cox and Shaun Massey going close, but with a combination of the post, good goalkeeping and fortunate defending Lavant were unable to capitalize.
As the minutes ticked by Lavant left themselves more exposed to the counter attack as they desperately pushed forward in search of an equalizer and AFC eventually capitalized on the situation as they quickly broke away down the right flank before putting in a sublime cross, picking out their unmarked striker, who brought the ball under control and calmly slotted home their second of the game, 0-2.
Lavant brought on striker Louis Weller and changed formation playing with three at the back to try and rescue the game and this once more kept AFC on the back foot. But there was no way back and lady luck was not shining on Lavant this week as another counter attack saw AFC with a man over and spoilt for choice on who to pass to, as they made it three nil on 85 minutes and game over.
Assistant Manager Mel Milburn commented ” Good luck to AFC Brighton & Hove in the next round of the cup, we now have to prepare for next week and the lads can take many positives from this match, especially as we matched the higher opposition for much of the game and the final score perhaps somewhat flattered the visitors victory”.
Lavant: T. Turner, D. Ranjbar, M. Ayers, J. Wright, P. Cairns, D. Maclean, D. Page, S. Massey, D.Cowell, D.Cox, R. Pinder. Subs: M.Hine, L. Weller, S. Green.