The West Sussex Football League is back – and Lavant and Chapel are among the local sides to have kicked off their new campaigns.
The Observer series and this website are looking to step up coverage of the WSFL this seasno, but we need your help. Send your team’s match reports to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5pm Monday.
Lancing 2 Lavant 2
West Sussex Premier
Lavant made the journey to newly-promoted Lancing for their season opener. There were debuts for Bevan in goal and Mclaren in the centre of the park as and Cowell was back at the club and in at left-back.
The opening exchanges well relatively even with both sides still looking a touch rusty despite their pre-season campaigns.
It was Lavant who broke the deadlock on the 25th minute. Lavant won the ball high up the pitch after good pressing from Caveney and he made space to fire a left-footed drive that somehow evaded the keeper’s outstretched left hand to nestle home.
The game deteriorated, a frustrated home side arguing among themselves starting to let challenges fly, with the referee doing little to rein them in; half-time came as a welcome break.
The second half started with the home team keen to get back in the game and with the Lancing No9 looking ever-more dangerous, he had to be carefully marshalled by the Lavant centre halves.
Just when it appeared Lavant had weathered the early storm, Lancing found themselves on level terms after neat build-up play and clinical finish.
Lavant finally got going in the half and started to create opportunities of their own, notably falling to Hancock and Caveney. With little time left to play Lavant thought they had scored the winner, a well-delivered cross found Caveney fee at the back post who found the net with a spectacular bicycle kick, only for it to be ruled out for a reason still unknown.
Minutes later it was Lancing had the ball in the net and this time it stood, another smart finish from just inside the area.
Surely that was the game gone... but credit to the Lavant boys, they weren’t to be beaten. Caveney again was the catalyst, breaking with direct running down the left and crossing for Baker to steer home.
Lavant: Bevan, Spann, Jones, Wright (c), Cowell, Mclaren, Hancock, Holmes, Caveney, Haggar, Baker Subs Brooks.
Whyke 0 Lavant Res 0
Division three south
Lavant reserves started their campaign with a scrappy draw at local rivals Whyke.
A lack of defensive options meant a back 3 for the visitors, with new manager Sanson standing in between the posts for the absent Rob Baylis, and debuts for John Langridge and Mickey Earle.
After a nervy start, the game settled, with Whyke looking for their tall lone striker at every opportunity – but he was superbly marshalled by skipper Chris Coe. However, Lavant were struggling to keep possession on a greasy surface, and a forgettable first half came and went with barely a shot on target from either side.
Lavant improved after the break, with the tigerish Scott Yaxley influencing the midfield, but were still struggling to create clear chances. Langridge’s first-time volley forced a stop from the home keeper, whilst a header just cleared the corner of post and bar, and Adam Yaxley’s free kick was turned over the bar by the Whyke stopper.
With 15 minutes to go an excellent leap from Tom Parker was inexplicably punished by the left touchline, and from the resulting free kick Whyke thought they had scored.
As the defence stood still, the forward chested the ball down and rifled into the net. However the flag was raised and, after consulting the linesman, the goal was chalked off by referee Michelle Watkins.
Lavant looked the only team that would go on and win the game, but just lacked the craft in the final third to match the effort they had shown. As the final whistle sounded, the visitors had to settle for the point, but were satisfied with a strong defensive display and a clean sheet from their first outing.
Lavant: Sanson, Smith, Coe, Parker, Earle, Cieszynski, Weller, Ayling, Yaxley A, Langridge, Cole. Subs: Polack, Yaxley S.
Fittleworth Res 0 Chapel 4
Division four south
There were three new faces in the Chapel side at Fittleworth and the team got off to a flying start with a solid performance for a 4-0 victory. Arron Carver once again found his goal touch with a first-half hat-trick and Tony Scutt added a fourth in the second.
Fittleworth showed little threat in attack.
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