LAVANT Youth were one of the only sides to beat the weather last weekend as they played host to County League side Pagham, who emerged the victors to book themselves a place in the last eight of the County Cup.
The fixture was in doubt right up until kick off and only went ahead due to the tireless efforts of Geoff Creswell and his small band of helpers.
The early exchanges did run true to form, with Pagham dominating, but despite enjoying most of the possession they failed to pose any real threat.
When they did manage to penetrate the defence after 20 minutes Tom Cowell was on hand to save bravely at the feet of an onrushing forward.
After twenty five minutes of constant pressure Pagham made the breakthrough.
An intercepted pass was moved to Tyler Hope, who hit an unstoppable shot across the face of goal and into the far corner.
Recognizing the fact that something had to change, Manager, Karl Gaffney altered the formation of the team.
The effect was immediate as Lavant began to dominate the midfield exchanges and pushed forward in search of an equalizer.
On the half hour mark Lavant were rewarded for their efforts. A superb long ball from Kieron Gilbert saw Chris Webb nod the ball on, and Rob Speed pounced on the opportunity to poke home.
Webb’s shot was then too strong for the Pagham goalkeeper to hold and Speed pounced to give Lavant a 2-1 half-time lead.
Ryan Champion levelled for Pagham on 50 minutes, while five minutes later Champion struck again to put the ahead.
Then on the hour mark, after some intial fine play by the Lavant midfield, Webb got them back into the game, levelling the score at 3-3.
Both sides went close to a winner, Speed actually managing to hit wide with the goal at his mercy with five minutes left.
With three minutes left on the clock, Champion rose above the Lavant defence to send a looping header over the stranded keeper from a free kick to complete his hat-trick and secure a place in the next round.
Lavant threw everyone forward in search of a well-deserved equalizer, but the Pagham rearguard stood firm to book their place in the quarter final.
Lavant: T.Cowell, L.Finch, K.Gilbert, L.Cotton, N.House, R.Parfoot, L Cook-Jones, R.Hanson, R.Speed, C.Webb, C.Collwell. Subs: J.White, C.Young, J.Brockhurst.