Fabulous fightback can’t save Lavant’s cup hopes at Billingshurst

Billingshurst 2 Lavant 1 (aet)

Centenary Cup

This clash between premier-division outit Billingshurst and Lavant of division one produced a stunning game.

Thanks to information picked up the previous week from chief scout and ex-Lavant player John Squires, the visitors set out their stall perfectly to combat the home side’s 4-3-3 formation.

Billingshurst played some delightful football and pressed in the early stages but Lavant looked comfortable in defence, with man of the match Tom Parker and co-defender Jon Wright shining.

They were troubled only once when Ashley Rochester made a fine save from Matt Balmer.

Lavant produced equally-delightful passing moves in their counter-attacks and Dave Knight went close on 14 minutes.

Stuart Loversidge opened the scoring on 43 minutes and give the visitors a 1-0 lead at half-time.

The second half was a replica of the first until the 73rd minute when the ball stuck in the mud between Rochester and his defence, allowing Paul Elliott to stab home the equaliser from six yards.

From a corner, Chris Coe headed off the line two minutes from full-time to deny the hosts the winner.

Extra-time saw a Billingshurst counter attack earn them the winner as Elliott squared to the unmarked Balmer, who stuck home from the six-yard box on 99 minutes.

In the second period of extra-time, Lavant changed to three up front to try to equalise. They almost did it.

A Loversidge and Cox combination set up the hard-working Seacombe but he fired wide.

A minute from the end, it looked as if Seacombe had done it when his effort seemed destined to roll into the empty net, but the ball stopped in the mud and was cleared.

Lavant visit Holbrook in the league on Saturday.

LAVANT: Rochester, Walsh, Parker, Wright, Coe, Loversidge, Brooks, Knight, Cowell, Seacombe, Cox. Subs: Evans, Watts, Eastwood.