Lavant had to grind out a hard earned result Saturday in order to come away with all three points.

With just over a month without a game Lavant Reserves looked lethargic and rusty in the first half and with a number of players unavailable they had to play certain players in unaccustomed positions, which added to teams apparent lack of cohesion.  There were however the odd glimpse of football being played and when they moved the ball around the pitch and made space for each other, Lavant successfully pressurized the Rustington goal.

In fact one such move resulted in Adam Yaxley open the scoring early in the half, scoring from close range giving Lavant an early advantage unsettling Rustington, 0-1.  Lavant had further chances to increase their lead but were unable to take them and as the half went on this allowed Rustington to gradually come back into the game.

Shortly before half time Matt Carver committed a needless foul on the edge of the box and the resultant free kick was lofted over the stranded stand-in Lavant keeper Dave Kent, who tried in vane to get a hand to the ball as he clashed into his own player Dan Johnson on the far post resulting in the ball hitting Johnson’s shoulder and deflecting in past the post, conceding a sloppy goal which allowed Rustington to get right back into the game, 1-1.

Following a half time wake up call Lavant started the second half a different team.  They had more spirit and determination and were playing together as a team that wanted to take away all three points from the game.  They were now more organised and were retaining their formation well, which started to frustrate Rustington as they were unable to impart pressure on Lavant’s goal.

With 25 minutes remaining Lavant brought on substitute Alan Sheppard who was playing his first game back from injury for almost 7 months and within minutes he made his present felt as he broke down the right flank squaring the ball across to DJ Wright who ran in on goal and the unselfishly squared the ball back across the Yaxley, who momentarily toyed with the Rustington keeper before despatching the ball into the back of the net giving Lavant a deserved lead, 1-2.

Lavant shortly afterwards should have further increased their lead but somehow Chirs Withall clean through on goal blasted his effort high and to the right of goal.

Rustington’s frustrations were now starting to show and following a booking for a lunge on the Lavant keeper, Rustington’s striker was book. Shortly after this he then got involved with another altercation, which saw Lavant’s Johnson booked and the Rustington’s striker sent off.

For the remaining 10 minutes Lavant took advantage of the extra player making it very hard for Rustington to create any further chances, ensuring the game remained 2-1 right up to full time.

Lavant Reserves next game is home to Tangmere on the 10th February 07.

Team: D.Kent, M.Howles, D.Johnson, M.Carver, O.Haggar, C.Bowles, M.Price, DJ.Wright, J.Hird, C.Withall, A.Yaxley. Subs: A.Sheppard.