Rouane's side beat Alfold 3-1 at home on Saturday.
- Rhodes (5')
- Fair (30')
- Hewens (85')
- Alfold (60')
Lancing starting XI:
Taylor Seymour, Mo Juwara, James Beresford, Alex Bygraves, Liam Hendy, Tom Caplin, Mike Williamson, Kane Louis, James Rhodes, Alex Fair, Lewis Finney (c).
George Mitchell-Phillips, Jack Baden, Conrad Honore, Mitch Hewens, Matt Evans.
Lancing faced what, on paper, looked to be their toughest league match so far this season. Alfold, newly promoted as Div. 1 champions had made a good start to life in the Premier league and were just 3 points behind Lancing in third spot. A win would take them level on points.
With George Fenton unavailable, Mo Juwara dropped back to left back. Tom Caplin was back after completing his three-match suspension and Al Fair, who had to be helped from the pitch near the end of the game against Worthing Utd., had made a quick recovery.
Lancing could not have wished for a better start as, after barely 5 minutes, Lew Finney threaded a perfect pass for James Rhodes, who kept his cool to finish in the bottom corner. Minutes later Taylor Seymour had to react quickly to punch clear a well struck freekick from the bye line which was arrowing towards his near post. Lancing then had a lucky escape as an Alfold player broke through the heart of Lancing’s defence, but with the goal at his mercy, he only succeeded in blasting his shot at the cross bar. Alfold were showing their attacking intent as twice Taylor Seymour was called upon to make good saves.
At the other end, Al Fair looked to have been put clear in the box but a slight mis control allowed Alfold to close him down before he could get his shot away. James Rhodes and Lew Finney were on target but the visiting keeper was proving difficult to beat. Taylor Seymour had to race from his line to make a long clearance. The ball stayed in play on Lancing’s left touchline and was brought under control by Lew Finney, who was promptly pushed to the ground almost close to the corner. Lew flighted a curling cross to the near post which Al Fair was first to reach and delicately glance the ball into the net to give Lancing a 2-0 lead on 30 minutes. Al is not having the best of luck as, in making his near post run, he sustained an injury and had to be substituted by George Mitchell-Phillips.
James Rhodes was having a major influence linking well with Kane Louis, whose ability to retain possession whilst under pressure was proving to be a real asset and with Lew Finney, Mike Williamson and Tom Caplin dominating the midfield with their energy and creativity, Lancing were looking good for their two-goal advantage. There was a worrying sight just before half time, when Mo Juwara, who had been showing real strength and determination in the tackle, had to receive some lengthy treatment on the Lancing bye line. Fortunately, he made a recovery and was able to re-join the action.
The second half began well for Lancing with James Rhodes at the heart of things for the home side. James was retaining possession well, bringing others into play. He worked an excellent opening for Tom Caplin who forced a good save from the Alfold keeper at his near post. Lancing were opening up the Alfold defence at will as Kane Louis and James Rhodes were giving an exhibition of their skill in possession. But, against the run of play, Alfold took advantage from some hesitancy in the Lancing defence to get a goal from Sam Jobbins, via a deflection and the upright. Lancing set about trying to restore their two-goal advantage and two attempts by Lew Finney from close range were saved by Alfold’s excellent keeper. Alfold were looking to get level and were breaking threateningly down Lancing’s right flank but not able to make the most of their opportunities.
Mo Juwara had to leave with an injury with almost 15 minutes left and on came Jack Baden to add some fresh legs. A great turn by James Rhodes enabled him to set up George Mitchell-Phillips but his shot was hit straight at the keeper. Alfold continued to work hard for an equaliser, and Liam Hendy had to show a cool head to deal with a dangerous cross along the face of the Lancing goal.
Lancing continued to press, with Mitch Hewens on for the last couple of minutes. He found himself in position to get a shot on goal, which the keeper could only parry into the path of Lew Finney who put the result beyond doubt with a cool finish.
An excellent result based on Naim’s well established principles. Team work on display, retaining possession to deny the opposition the opportunity to build up any rhythm and some really creative play in midfield. Backed up by a solid defence with Al Bygraves setting a good example and well supported by Liam Hendy enjoying an excellent season so far. Two full backs, James Beresford and Mo Juwara, with pace and skill to get forward but able to make telling tackles when it mattered. A Lancing supporter of several years standing, who was sat next to me, summed it up by saying that this is the best Lancing team he has seen for some years. Long may it continue. Many stern challenges ahead but there is a good atmosphere at Culver Road, thanks to Naim and his management team.
Always slightly awkward to select a MOM, when there was such a good all- round team display, but committee and management felt that one player stood out and that was James Rhodes, who set the ball rolling with his early goal and contributed so much with his hunger for the ball and clever use of it.
Man of the Match: James Rhodes