Lancing Starting XI
Matt Evans, George Fenton, Mo Juwara, Mike Williamson, Alex Bygraves, Omar Bukleb, Mitch Hewens, Kane Louis, James Rhodes, Tom Caplin, Lewis Finney (c).
Jack Baden, Liam Hendy, Dave Sharman, George Mitchell-Phillips, James Beresford.
Lancing Manager, Naim Rouane will have looked forward to Lancing’s Peter Bentley Cup match against Newhaven with special relish as he was the captain of the Lancing team which beat Newhaven in the final of this competition in 2016.
After an intense FA vase victory at the weekend, Naim made a few changes to his starting line-up bringing in Matt Evans in goal for Taylor Seymour, absent for family reasons, Mitch Hewens and Omar Bukleb and switching Mo Juwara to left back. Alex Fair picked up a recurrence of a hamstring strain against Chessington, so was unavailable.
Newhaven included former Lancing striker, Jack Langford, in their team but prolific goal scorer Lee Robinson was only on the bench as he was recovering from an ankle injury.
Lancing were stung within a couple of minutes. Alex Bygraves attempted a pass from the edge of his penalty area which was blocked by what looked suspiciously like handball. Newhaven were in the clear and a quick pass found the unmarked Jack Langford who fired home despite a good attempt by Matt Evans to keep the ball out. Lancing were then on the backfoot as Newhaven took control.
Matt Evans’ attempt to gather a bouncing ball at the edge of his penalty area was hindered by an illegal challenge. The ball ran free to Langford whose goal bound shot was diverted for a corner. This led to another goal bound effort from a header which was cleared behind for another corner. Newhaven won possession as the ball was crossed and Matt Evans had to react smartly to bring off a save. Newhaven continued to pose a threat and came close with a shot into the side netting. It took Lancing a good 30 minutes before they could establish some sort of foothold in the game. But gradually they started to impose themselves with good combination between George Fenton and Mitch Hewens on the right and some strong and forceful attacking runs from Mo Juwara on the left. Tom Caplin came close with a good shot on the turn and Lew Finney found the back of the net with a firm header only to see the offside flag raised.
Lancing finished the half strongly, firstly with a well struck free kick from James Rhodes bringing a good save from James Buss, a shot from Mike Williamson being deflected for a corner, and a good effort from Lew Finney forcing Buss to make a save at full stretch.
The second half began with a lucky escape for Lancing with another goal bound effort being blocked on the line. This spurred Lancing into action and a determined run from Mitch Hewens ended with him being brought down at the edge of the box by left back Ian Robinson. Robinson received his second yellow followed by a red card. Lew met James Rhodes’ well flighted free kick with a powerful header which was narrowly too high. Shortly afterwards, George Mitchell-Phillips came on for Mitch. Mo was next into action leaving his markers for dead and putting in a left foot drive which the keeper did well to save with his feet. On 60 minutes, James Beresford replaced George Fenton. His attacking runs down the right and Mo’s constant harrying of the Newhaven defenders seemed certain to produce a goal but Newhaven were getting bodies in the way and defending desperately. With 5 minutes of normal time remaining Liam Hendy came on for Omar Bukleb. Mo continued to pose a real threat, turning on a sixpence and losing his markers at will. He came close to an equaliser with a fierce left foot which the keeper pushed over for a corner and followed this with another great run which helped to create the opportunity for Lew Finney to hammer the ball home in the third minute of added time to take the tie into Extra Time.
This was an unusual experience for Lancing this season. They have usually been the team in front suffering late come backs from the opposition.
Lee Robinson had been brought on by Newhaven and was almost instrumental in Newhaven regaining the lead in the first half of Extra Time, when his low driven cross reached Jack Langford at the far post, almost on the goal line but he was unable to apply the finishing touch. Lancing refused to panic and continued to play a measured game, following instructions from Naim on the touchline. This paid off in the second period, with a fine move initiated by Tom Caplin, who fed the ball to James Rhodes. James fired in a low cross which George Mitchell met at the far post, keeping his composure to give Lancing a 2-1 lead. Lancing kept their heads by keeping possession, forcing the tired legs of 10-man Newhaven to chase around trying to win the ball back. Some patient approach play by Lancing saw Tom Caplin making inroads into the penalty area. Tom was tripped as he was looking to advance towards the goal. He tried to maintain his balance but went down. The referee was right on the spot to signal for a penalty. This led to a melee of Newhaven players pushing and jostling Tom. When he attempted to defend himself, the referee deemed this to be worthy of a red card. After some delay, with the referee appearing to consult his colleagues, he pointed to the penalty spot. Up stepped skipper Lew Finney who made no mistake with an unstoppable drive to make the result look safe at 3-1.
There was still time for Newhaven to cause some mayhem in the Lancing penalty area but Matt Evans was able to make a good save. From the resultant corner the ball seemed to ricochet from player to player before reaching safety.
Naim must have been well pleased with the character shown by all his players. They did not resort to aimless long balls but kept their shape and discipline. Some important tackles were made by Alex Bygraves, George Fenton and Mike Williamson. Tom Caplin was again involved in much of Lancing’s forward play and it was pleasing to see James Rhodes overcoming the pain barrier to give his all for the whole 120 minutes. The young players, Mitch Hewens, George Mitchell-Phillips gave a good account of themselves in taking the game to Newhaven. Matt Evans was quickly back to give the defence confidence after missing a few games. However, the stand-out performance, as perceived by those committee members present, came from Mo Juwara, operating from the left back position. Newhaven simply could not handle his trickery and pace. Allied to this, Mo showed strength and determination in the tackle and refused to be intimidated.
Lancing now look forward to meeting Crawley Down Gatwick in the next round. Their next game will mean them facing Newhaven for a second time, but in the league at Culver Road, this coming Saturday.
Man of the Match: Mo Juwara
Our thanks to Lancing FC committee member, Dave Wilmott, for his match report.