Chichester University ended a run of six games without a win in a dramatic encounter with Upper Beeding in the West Sussex League premier division.
After starting the season in sparkling form, a slump in form has seen the university side embroiled in a battle to avoid the drop.
The university began on top and were rewarded with two early goals. Dan Baker glanced a Will Holmes cross into the top corner and Holmes himself driving a well-directed shot to the keeper’s right. The visitors pulled one back after the Uni failed to clear a cross.
The hosts were able to play a counter-attacking game in the second half and they were further in front when captain Kenneth Hagan found Declan Hartigan who coolly finished.
Hagan missed a penalty and Beeding pulled one back through a guided header. Further chances for the University went begging, James Sandford was the guilty party, but the strugglers held on.
UNIVERSITY: Evans, C Baker, Dye, Gardner, Tapper, Hartigan, Smith, Holmes, Hagan, Sandford, D Baker. Subs: Lee, Bourne.
Hunston 0 Lavant 2
Two free-kicks by Matt Lyttle (pictured above) gave league leaders Lavant the three points from a scrappy game.
Hunston worked hard, keeping constant pressure on the ball. A bumpy surface meant players needed several touches to control the ball and this worked in the hosts’ favour.
But apart from Andy Claxton heading an Ami Rosario cross over the visitors’ bar under pressure from Ben Pugavie, the home side posed no scoring threat.
Rosario claimed a penalty under a Chris Coe tackle in the box but referee Martin Smith waved play on. In the 31st minute, when Mike Neville was fouled on the right wing, the Lavant left-back’s inswinging free-kick dipped under the bar to put them 1-0 in front.
The second half saw Ryan Seacombe hit the Hunston net on 53 minutes but his goal was disallowed for a foul on Jon Brewster.
Hunston began to control the midfield and on the hour Lavant manager David Parker changed the visitors’ formation to play three in the middle.
James Brooks’ cross beat Hunston keeper Dan Heard but, sliding in, Mike Bartley couldn’t get the finishing touch.
Lyttle skimmed the crossbar on 70 minutess after Coe, Dave Knight and Neville combined. But when Rosario was booked on 83 minutes for a foul on Matt Stevens, Lyttle fired the 28-yard free-kick past the Hunston wall and Heard to give Lavant their 2-0 win.
Lavant captain Stevens said: “This wasn’t our best display and we were relieved to grind out the win.”
LAVANT: Sanson; Coe, Purgavie, Wright, Lyttle; Neville, Brooks, Stevens, Knight; Seacombe, Bartley. Subs: Cole, Walder.
Wittering Utd 4 Barnham III 2
Div two south
Wittering made it 19 wins on the trot to edge closer to the league title.
They started slowly and Barnham nearly took the lead when they crashed a header against the bar from a corner.
That shook the Reds into action and it wasn’t long before they took the lead. Tom Kelly danced his way through the defence and lifted it over the keeper, only to hit the bar, but Hugh Howden tapped it in.
Soon a delightful through-ball from Tom Jefkins sent Howden away. He rounded the keeper and slotted the ball into the empty net for his second. Howden was forced off by a calf injury and Joe Jefkins replaced him.
The Warriors took control of the second half and were denied a perfectly-good goal for offside when Kelly broke the offside trap and lobbed the keeper.
Two minutes later Kelly released Darran Cox who, scored his 20th of the season, chipping the keeper.
Wittering introduced Jamie Smith and Jason Houghton and Houghton added to the scoreline, neatly finishing off a pass from Baz McCoy to make it 4-0.
With five minutes to go Wittering took their foot off the gas and Barnham made them pay with two quick goals. Rochester made a string of good saves to ensure there was no unlikely giving-up of the three points.
Wittering are seven points from the title and travel this week to Ovingdean in the semi-finals of the Sussex Junior Cup. Man of the match was Rochester.