Lancing Starting XI :
Taylor Seymour, James Beresford, Dave Sharman, Liam Hendy, George Fenton, Mike Williamson, Tom Caplin, Mitch Hewens, Brad Santos, Lew Finney, Kane Louis,
Conrad Honoure,Mo Juwara, Alex Fair.
After the demands of extra time in the Peter Bentley cup on Tuesday and the disappointment of being knocked out , there was no time for Lancing to dwell on matters arising in that game as they faced the daunting challenge of trying to halt Eastbourne Town’s excellent run of form, which saw them well out in front as Premier leaders with an unbeaten league record.
Naim was forced to make a late change from his original line up with James Rhodes succumbing to a calf problem in the warm up, a hangover from Tuesday, when he was forced to leave the field late on with this injury. James would be missed but with Mitch Hewens stepping in to replace him there was no fear about the side being weakened.
Eastbourne looked a strong and powerful outfit and that was evident from the kick off with two players breaking forward and forcing an early block by the alert Taylor Seymour. Lancing were eager to show that they could get forward at pace as Lew Finney set the lightning quick Brad Santos on a strong run.He laid on a good pass to Mitch Hewens whose well struck shot was diverted for a corner.
It looked ominous for Lancing going behind after just 10 minutes. Daniel Parry received the ball on the edge of the Lancing penalty area and, using his upper body strength was able to shield the ball from the close marking Dave Sharman ,turn sharply and drive the ball into the bottom corner just out of reach of the diving Taylor Seymour .The first 15 minutes showed why Eastbourne were top of the table as they drove the ball forward at every opportunity finding the target men up front who used pace and power to threaten the Lancing goal.
Gradually Lancing began to show their strengths. .James Beresford oozing with confidence used his speed and close control to leave two players in his wake before his progress was halted illegally by Dan Rogers .Referee Adrian Harris stamped his authority on the game with the immediate award of a yellow card.
Brad Santos, who was well marshalled by tall powerful left back Sam Cole, switched flanks early on with Mitch Hewens. This soon paid dividends after Brad was put through by Kane Louis and fired in a shot which keeper Daniel Bolwell got a hand to and pushed onto the upright.
At the other end there was a momentary lapse by Taylor Seymour who, in delaying his clearance, allowed himself to be closed down losing possession. Fortunately, Dave Sharman was able to shepherd the ball out of play for a corner.
There followed a series of yellow cards. Thomas Vickers,Marcus Goldsmith for felling Brad Santos. Liam Hendy had won the ball well and set Brad goal wards. A second yellow followed by a red for centre back Dan Rogers who cynically tripped James Beresford when about to race clear of the Eastbourne defensive line. Tom Caplin also received a yellow for a mistimed tackle.
Lancing were showing that they were not going to roll over and their passing game was beginning to cause concern for the visitors. .Kane Louis worked himself into a shooting position at the edge of the box but had his legs taken away as he was about to strike for goal. The resultant free kick from Lew flew inched over the cross bar. James Beresford was undeterred by fouls against him and continued to run at defenders using his pace and close control.
Three minutes into the second half Lancing showed what a threat James’s runs were as he broke forward and laid a superb pass to Lew Finney who kept his cool to finish with deadly accuracy. There was a good ebb and flow to the game with both sides providing good entertainment for the bumper crowd of 259.Dave Sharman proved yet again what reliable defender he is making a solid tackle to halt full back Marcus Goldsmith who had run with the ball from deep inside his own half and threatened to continue all the way.
Tom Caplin and Mike Williamson were beavering away in midfield, preventing Eastbourne from making any headway and were making the extra man count. Brad Santos and Mitch Hewens had the pace to trouble the Eastbourne back line and these two combined after 56 minutes. Brad won possession and fed Mitch who created space for himself in the penalty area for curling a fierce left foot shot into the far corner to put his side 2-1 up.
Lancing were forced to make two substitutions in quick succession on 68 and 69 minutes. Firstly James Beresford received a damaged ankle when being tackled and the hard running George Fenton pulled up sharply after breaking forward from the half way line .Mo Juwara and Conrad Honoure were the replacements .Mo soon showed the opposition that he, too had pace, and made good headway along the left wing .Conrad soon found himself having to defend in the right back position and showed his versatility and composure.
Lancing were then presented with an opportunity to put even more daylight between themselves and the visitors when Brad Santos was brought down in the box. Lew stepped up for the spot kick and, although firmly struck it was too close to keeper Bolwell who was able push the ball away to safety.
Alex Fair replaced Brad Santos on 84 minutes and was almost immediately in a position from which he would have a goalscoring opportunity having been fed with a square pass from Mitch Hewens, who was enjoying great success along the right flank. The offside flag was raised much to the surprise of those of us close to the action
With minutes to go Dan Parry was sent to the sin bin. Eastbourne were now down to 9 men. Mitch kept up his attacking momentum and, after another fine run, found Al Fair in the box, who picked his spot to put the result beyond doubt in added time.
Lancing had their biggest gate of the season and rewarded their supporters with a superb all round team performance .From Taylor Seymour in goal right through the team to young wide men Brad Santos and Mitch Hewens the whole team played the sort of football which has been earning them plaudits from fans and opponents all season. Despite a difficult opening spell, when Eastbourne showed why they were top of the table and undefeated, Lancing refused to be hustled out of their game .They showed great discipline and teamwork, especially after suffering a couple of late injury setbacks .This where it is essential to have players on the bench who can step up to the mark and respond to the demands of the moment
Again difficult to select MOM after a fine team performance but Tom Caplin has been playing consistently well and links play so well with those sound him. Retains composure under pressure and like Mike Williamson covers so much ground. Mitch Hewens showed so much pace and cool headedness under pressure for one so young. Scored the goal to put Lancing in front and laid on the chance for big Al to seal victory .So Tom and Mitch shared the honours.
A difficult spell lies ahead with injuries and suspensions to contend with providing one more management test for Naim, David and co.
Men of the Match: Tom Caplin & Mitch Hewens
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