It was honours even at Walton Lane as the top two in the West Sussex League premier division - Bosham and Hunston Community Club - clashed to try to secure an important advantage in the title race.
Bosham went into it full of confidence after their scorching win against Holbrook last time out and welcomed back Kieran Hartley to the squad.
The Reds had Hunston on the back foot from the off. Joe Hancock looked dangerous and the pace of Hartley was a key early factor in the increasing number of chances created.
Hartley went close with a good drive, just wide, on 20 minutes, but against the run of play, the yellow and blacks stole a lead with a moment of brilliance from Kevin Burnand.
Striker Dave Rough provided a lovely ball into Burnand’s path and the midfielder produced a stunning curling effort, leaving keeper Simon Hasted rooted to the spot as the ball flew into the top corner.
This was a huge setback for the Reds and an instant reply was required.
James Bracher did his best to find it but hit the angle of the bar and post from a tight angle with
keeper James Leahy well beaten.
The chances continued in the second half, but Hunston looked a stronger force after the break and the pace of Rough and the quality of Matt Dingle had the Robins under pressure - but the defence held out to keep Bosham in it.
Chances for Hancock, Bracher and Hartley came and went but, just when the game was slipping away, a lazy challenge in the area brought a penalty for the Reds.
Hancock duly applied the finish from the spot to a great roar from the fans on the sidelines and Bosham surged forward looking for the winner.
TheHunston defence creaked but held out, denying Bosham what would have been a deserved winner.
Bosham manager Tony Hancock said: “We battered them for 90 minutes but were disappointing in not being able to finish them off when the chances came.”
Cowfold visit the lane this week and Bosham will hope to get a win to improve their hopes of glory.
BOSHAM: Hasted, Blanshard, Probee, Docherty, Wilson, Jack Hancock, Joe Hancock, Hartley, Bracher, Evans,
Dowden. Subs: Ash, Maitland, Davies, Desai.
West Chiltington 4 Lavant 2
WSFL premier division
West Chiltington outmuscled their visitors with their physical strength to claim the three points.
Lavant seemed devoid of self-belief in the first quarter-hour, which resulted in Dan Clayton hitting the visitors’ woodwork early and Matt Lyttle turning a deflected cross into his own goal in the 12th minute.
To their credit, Lavant recovered their confidence and the rest of the first half was a thrilling spectacle, with the sides equally balanced.
Mike Bartley forced a fine save from Chiltington keeper Jordan Mitchell while Lavant goalie Neil Sanson made crisp saves from Gary Weedon and Charlie Monaghan at the other end.
In between, James Sandford drilled a Mike Neville corner home on 24 minutes to level the score before half-time.
Lavant made the same error as before in the first quarter-hour of the second half, but this time were punished by Weedon’s 55th-minute header and Craig Dawson’s finish on 65 minutes. Any hopes of a fightback were crushed when Craig Pulling converted a penalty in 69th minute.
The visitors were fighting back and Sandford scored again, from a Matt Lyttle corner in 76th minute. But it was too little, too late.
Despite changing formation for a last-ditch attempt to get back in it, Lavant could not improve the score line.
Manager David Parker said: “We competed in the first half, didn’t turn up for the second and were
overcome by a physically stronger side who deserved their win.”
LAVANT: Sanson; Gabb, Purgavie, Parker, Lyttle; Sandford, Brooks, Knight, Neville; Smith, Bartley. Sub: Price.
Chapel 0 Wheatsheaf 2
Division five south
The visitors had the better of a scrappy first half but led only 1-0 through a seventh-minute goal from Dave Wickenham. This was down to a series of fine saves from Chapel man of the match Chris Pannell.
The second half started in a similar fashion with the visitors presssing and Chapel looking dangerous on the break.
A goal by John Wickenden in the 79th minute put Wheatsheaf further ahead but this prompted a Chapel revival and the last ten minutes were their best of the game - but Wheatsheaf defended stoutly.