Lancing starting XI
Taylor Seymour, James Beresford, Alex Bygraves, Liam Hendy, George Fenton, Mike Williamson, Kane Louis, Mo Juwara, Lewis Finney (Captain), James Rhodes, Tom Caplin.
Omar Bukleb, George Mitchell-Phillips, Josh Clayman, Conrad Honore, Dave Sharman.
With East Preston looking to pick up the first points of the season and Lancing determined to shrug off their mid-week FA cup disappointment, and maintain their unbeaten league record, there was a lot at stake as the sides met at Lashmar Road. Alex Bygraves, making his first start since completing his suspension, was back together with George Fenton and James Rhodes, both having recovered from injury. There was also a debut in goal for Taylor Seymour, with Jack Gunn injured.
There was a dream start for the visitors who took the lead with the game barely two minutes old.
A sustained spell of passing was halted by a foul on Kane Louis. His quickly taken free-kick found Tom Caplin, whose clever pass was met by James Rhodes. His good close control enabled him to turn and score from close range. This led to a spell of domination by Lancing, who were enjoying the lion’s share of possession, prompted by Mike Williamson who was at the heart of the midfield winning tackles and getting the ball forward.
George Fenton was quickly back into his stride after an absence of several games and showed all his energy and commitment getting to the by-line. A deep cross from him was deflected en route and fell to Mo Juwara, whose quick shot hit the side netting. This was to be the first of several good passages of play with the ball being moved quickly and accurately between Tom Caplin, Lewis Finney, Kane Louis, James Rhodes and Mo Juwara. East Preston were forced to defend in numbers which frustrated Lancing’s attempt to have clear shots at goal.
At the other end, it needed a great tackle by George Fenton to prevent a threat on the Lancing goal. Fortunately for Lancing the follow-up shot hit the top of the crossbar. George was quickly back on the attack supported by Lewis Finney. Finney moved the ball on to Kane Louis, who slipped it back to George who had continued his run and managed to put in a powerful shot which flew just over the bar. Lancing maintained the attacking momentum. Firstly, Kane Louis put Lewis Finney clear through the middle but with a keeper advancing off his line, Lewis struck the ball early but straight at the keeper. Mo was then showing his trickery getting to the by-line and crossing to the far post where Liam Hendy‘s goal bound shot was blocked. Mo continued to harass the home defence getting into some promising positions but his final pass was being picked off by the East Preston defence. At the other end East Preston came close to an equaliser but a diving save from Taylor Seymour kept the ball out.
Another good break into the box by George Fenton, after good work by James Rhodes, was halted by what appeared to be a push on George from behind. Nothing was given by the referee and as George managed to regain possession he was again brought down deep in East Preston’s right corner. This time a free-kick was awarded, taken by Lewis Finney, but his dangerous cross was headed clear.
Shortly before half-time Mo found himself being shown the yellow card for an innocuous looking foul.
The second-half saw James Beresford and George Fenton switching full back positions, and James Rhodes dropping deeper with Kane Louis in a more advanced position. It began promisingly for Lancing with Kane Louis’ pass giving Lewis Finney the chance to test the keeper who did well to push the ball wide for a corner. James Beresford was now more of an attacking threat cutting inside and running at the East Preston defence. Mo was getting to the by-line and cutting back into good shooting positions, but, to his frustration, putting a number of shots to the right of the upright. With 60 minutes gone Conrad Honore replaced James Rhodes who had competed well on his first game back after injury. Conrad was soon into the action with a good pass to Kane Louis who laid the ball across the centre of the goal to Lewis Finney, whose clever dummy allowed the ball to run to Mo, but, with the goal at his mercy, Mo sliced the ball wide.
East Preston seemed to be given a lift by the failure of Lancing to take advantage of several good scoring opportunities. They were able to turn the tide and it was Lancing’s turn to defend with Mike Williamson making a number of important tackles. A timely interception by Alex Bygraves gave him the chance to break forward with the ball before being crudely brought down right in front of the referee at the edge of the East Preston penalty area. A baffled Alex limped back into position, wondering how the referee failed to spot a clear and obvious foul. George Mitchell-Phillips replaced Tom Caplin with 15 minutes to go. Lancing now had to make some desperate tackles as the game reached the final stages with East Preston earning a number of free kicks, which Lancing successfully repelled. A late injury to Kane Louis gave Omar Bukleb the opportunity to come on to help Lancing see the game out.
In the end it was a hard won three points after what, on the basis of the numerous chances created and the quality of the football played, should have been a comfortable victory for Lancing. Nevertheless, the players could be happy to have secured another three points and with a clean sheet.
MOM selected by Manager and coaches, endorsed by the small committee contingent: Mike Williamson.
Our thanks to Lancing FC committee member, Dave Wilmott, for his match report.