Despite being short of a number of first team players, Lancing deservedly took all three points from The Oval, against highly fancied Eastbourne United in the opening game of the season.
- Headland (61')
- Finney (69')
- Juwara (71')
Lancing began the game playing possession football with neither side creating any clear chances until the 16th minute when Kane Louis’ pass found the excellent run of Mitch Hewens, who struck the ball well but the United keeper, Jordan Hawkins, equal to it. The resulting corner saw Kane strike brilliantly from the edge of the box only to hit the post and come out. The game settled into a similar pattern with no real chances for either side although Lancing were lucky to get away with a Liam Hendy slip after 25 minutes, which almost saw him lose the ball on the edge of the Lancing box – but he recovered well. Mo Juwara was causing the Eastbourne United defence considerable trouble down the right side and it was good work from him that led to Tom Caplin volleying towards goal, only to see his attempt blocked by an Eastbourne defender. Claims from the Lancing players that the ball had hit the defenders hand were waved away by the referee. Tom had the next chance four minutes later when a Kane Louis pass was touched on by Conrad Honore, which led to Tom shooting just over. Eastbourne were pressurising the Lancing goal but were often caught offside and when they did manage to get the ball into the box Matt Evans was more than equal to it. There was still time for one last chance before half time when Conrad Honore pressurised the Eastbourne defence and gave the ball to Lewis Finney who fired over. At half time the score was 0-0.
Eastbourne came out the stronger in the second half and fired just over shortly after the restart. A quick break a few minutes later saw Liam Hendy entering the referee’s book after pulling back the Eastbourne attacker and the hosts came very close after 57 minutes, when a free kick on the left was whipped in and a diving header at the far post went just wide. Eastbourne eventually took the lead after 61 minutes. A good run from Mo saw Mitch Hewens through on goal only for the Eastbourne keeper to save well. The ball broke quickly and a good cross saw Alfie Headland put the home side 1-0 up. Manager Naim Rouane responded by bringing on the experienced Dave Sharman for Hewens and pushing Mo further forward. The change worked almost immediately when Mike Williamson broke up an attack in midfield and passed the ball out wide to Mo who fed the ball to George Phillips. A fantastic cross from George was met at the back post by Lewis Finney, scoring well with a rare header. Just two minutes later and Lancing took the lead after a great strike from Mo was deflected and wrong footed the Eastbourne keeper, to send the travelling Lancing supporters wild!
Lancing continued to play possession football but Eastbourne still looked dangerous and Matt Evans needed to be alert to clear a quick break after 80 minutes. It was Matt who released Mo with a long kick shortly afterwards and he shot well from the edge of the box only to see the Eastbourne keeper push the ball around the post. With just three minutes to go Mo showed that the Yellows still possessed an attacking threat when he cut in from the right and fired just over. Eastbourne thought they had equalised from their next attack but Lancing were saved by the linesman’s flag and the score remained 2-1. Another good save from the Eastbourne keeper denied Mo again and some excellent defending from Liam Hendy in the last minute prevented a certain goal from a good cross from the left. Lancing had to defend a few late corners but held out for a very deserved win. Despite not reaching the heights of pre-season Lancing had far more chances and could have won more comfortably although the Eastbourne keeper was outstanding and kept our opponents in the match. Man of the Match on his 18th birthday was the excellent Mo Juwara.
Our thanks to Lancing FC committee member, Barry Sutton, for his match report.