With Lavant and Stedham both hovering above the relegation zone in West Sussex league division one, this was a must-win game for each of them – and it showed in a hard, competitive match.
Lavant were to run out 3-2 winners and had a dream start when Darren Cox’s left wing cross was driven home by Brooks in the opening minute.
The hosts were put under the cosh but defended resolutely with the visitors’ Nick Plater being the main threat.
Lavant’s counter-attacks were swift and lethal and from one such assault, striker Stuart Loversidge nipped in to put the home side 2-0 in front on 22 minutes.
Four minutes later, Plater challenged for the ball in the Lavant area and Steve Lintott fired home from the knockdown.
Lavant, however, restored their two-goal lead within 50 seconds through Cox to give the Chichester side a 3-1 lead at half-time.
Stedham began the second period with long balls backed by a general cavalry charge which proved very effective until the Lavant midfield were withdrawn to provide a protection to their back four.
In the meantime Tom Parker’s underhit back pass on 55 minutes sold Lavant keeper Ash Rochester short and Stedham stole a comeback goal as a result.
But after their reorganisation, the home side looked more comfortable and should have gone further ahead when first Loversidge and then Chris Coe missed the target.
Man-of-the-match midfielder James Brooks said: “We had to grind this result out but in the past, under this pressure, we’d have lost the game. This was a resolute performance and a vital three points.”
LAVANT: Rochester, Coe, Parker, Wright, Fogden, Cole, Brooks, Stevens, Cowell, Cox, Loversidge. Subs: Walsh, Evans, Hall.
STEDHAM: Dixon, Sleight, Riding, White, Shotty, Stevens, Thorpe, Jones, Plater, Lintott, Casselton. Subs: Idris, Young, Heighes.