Lavant lost to the odd goal in five when unbeaten table toppers Lancing came to Pook Lane for a keenly-fought affair in the premier division of the West Sussex League and won 3-2.
A 2-2 draw in the first game of the season suggested the sides were well matched despite the home side failing to really kick on this season.
Sticking with the system that managed to beat Nyetimber Pirates before the Christmas break, Lavant were hoping to start a run to set up an exciting second half of the season.
The open exchanges were even but the visitors were happy to appeal for every decision to gain any advantage they could get from the referee. Frustrations were growing in both ranks and eventually Lancing’s persistence paid off and they got something off the ref. Lancings busy No9 drove into the box while tussling with Lavant’s Augustus and with no obvious challenge the frontman appealed and got a soft spot kick which was comfortably converted.
However, this was a good catalyst for the home side who started to find some rhythm. Although clear-cut chances were few and far between, the build-up was neat and tidy and with purpose.
Lavant’s best chance fell to James Sandford, a long clearance from keeper Court clearing the Lancing centre-half and setting Sandford free – but he fired agonisingly wide.
After the break Lavant felt they were in with a shout but minutes after the restart Lancing doubled their lead with a superb flowing move through the centre of the park which was well finished again by their No9.
Five minutes later came another cruel blow for the home side.
Lancing cleared their lines and formed a counter attack. When the ball was played into the area between the back line and the keeper indecision between the defence and the goalie caused by another player calling ‘keeper’ allowed Lancing to slot into an empty net.
The Lavant fightback came but was too late.
Lavant finally utilised Peter Caveney on their left as he drove at his full-back and flashed a cross to the back post for substitute Smith to slide home.
It wasn’t long before Lavant had their second. Caveney drove into the box from the left and clipped the ball over the onrushing Lancing stopper.
This forced Lancing into some changes to stop the rot and to good effect as the game basically descended into handbags from both teams, which went some way to spoiling a good game.
LAVANT: Court, Haggar, Augustus, Lyttle, Wright, Stevens, Mclaren, Brooks, Hancock, Caveney, Sandford. Subs – L.Smith, Cieszynski, Woodhouse, Coe.
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