Lancing Starting XI
Matt Evans, James Beresford, Mo Juwara, Dave Sharman, Liam Hendy, Mike Williamson, James Rhodes, Tom Caplin, Lew Finney, Kyle Woolven, Alex Fair.
Conrad Honoure, Josh Coupar, George Mitchell-Phillips, Mitch Hewens, Taylor Seymour.
For the fourth time this season Lancing had victory snatched away from them by conceding a goal in added time. Away cup matches against Egham, Littlehampton, and Peacehaven all featured very late goals to frustrate The Lancers.
Lancing soon got into their rhythm with James Beresford attacking from the right and Mo Juwara and Kyle Woolven combining to good effect on the Lancing left wing. Lew Finney was the first to have an effort on goal but his header flew over the bar. Rovers replied with a quick break forward which ended with a shot wide of the upright. James Beresford continued to make good inroads into the Rovers penalty area and he came close with a fine left foot strike which grazed the outside of the far upright. He soon followed this with another penetrating run laying the ball back for Al Fair who turned away from his marker and managed to get a slightly scuffed left foot shot heading towards goal before being cleared by a defender heading the ball from low down on the goal line. The ball fell invitingly to the feet of James Beresford but before he could send it back goalward he was brought down. The referee had no hesitation in indicating a penalty award. Lew Finney added to his impressive goal tally by converting from the spot.
Lancing were looking good for their lead but Rovers were a threat when they broke forward and Liam Hendy and Dave Sharman had to be alert to snuff out any danger.
Some great work by Tom Caplin getting to the opposition bye line ended with the ball reaching the supporting James Beresford. James took a touch before laying the ball into the path of Al Fair. Al looked up and curled the ball into the top corner out of reach of keeper Michael Eacott.
A two-goal lead was just reward for some fine football. But it needed some solid tackling from Mike Williamson, operating just in front of the back four, and Liam Hendy to contain Rovers who were quick to seize upon any mistakes. Twice Lancing conceded possession in their half. On the first occasion, Matt Evans saved a certain goal with a leap at full stretch to put the ball over for a corner. Lancing cleared the resultant corner and as the ball was played wide to Kyle Woolven, he was hacked down with a vicious tackle as he passed to the unmarked Al Fair. The referee did well to allow advantage as Lancing advanced towards the Rovers goal. When play broke down the referee dealt with the offender with the award of a yellow card.
Lancing committed another rare error by giving the ball away deep in their half but Rovers wasted a good chance to pull one back just before half time by drilling the ball wide of the upright.
Rovers came out for the second half fired up and were putting Lancing under greater pressure and with less than 10 minutes gone their No.4 Brendan Murphy-McKey saw Matt Evans having advanced from his line, and, from a good 35 yards, drove the ball over Matt Evans into the top corner as Matt made a desperate attempt to reach the ball.
This was the spur Rovers needed. Josh Coupar came on for Mo Juwara with 35 minutes to go. James Beresford switched flank as Josh took up the left back berth. Rovers missed a good opportunity to draw level when a free header was put over the bar from 6 yards.
Some clever play by Al Fair looked to provide the opening for Lancing to restore their two-goal advantage. Al weaved his way forward, played a neat one two with Lew Finney but with only the keeper to beat narrowly missed the target. Rovers were knocking on the door with another miss from a close-range header and twice in quick succession Matt Evans prevented them drawing level with great saves.
George Mitchell-Phillips replaced Al Fair with just under 10 minutes of normal time remaining. Rovers looked to have equalised as the ball looked to be heading into the net but it struck the upright before rebounding into the grateful arms of Matt Evans. As the game stretched into added time Lancing conceded a free kick 30 yards from goal. This was the cue for Rovers giant keeper Eacott to add his presence in the Lancing six yard box and he certainly contributed to some defensive uncertainty which enabled Rovers to get a head on the ball at the far post and to cross the goal line via Liam Hendy who could do nothing to prevent an equaliser 3 minutes into added time.
How would Lancing respond to such a blow? They lost the dynamic James Beresford with an ankle injury early into extra time and Conrad Honoure came on in the right back slot. Shortly afterwards a Lancing defender and a Rovers forward both competed for the ball and came together in mid-air. The collision resulted in both players hitting the ground. It seemed difficult to apportion blame to any single player but the referee saw it as an infringement by Lancing and awarded a penalty. This was successfully converted to put Rovers in front for the first time.
Lancing hit back immediately with Kyle Woolven providing a perfect cross to the far post picking out George Mitchell -Phillips. George was unable to keep his header low enough to hit the target. Josh Coupar then finished off a determined run with a low cross across the face of the goal which was met by a Rovers defender sliding in to put the ball behind for a corner.
The second period of extra time belonged to Lancing. Rovers were penned back and were forced to hack the ball upfield but no red shirt was available. The ball was being collected either by Matt Evans, Dave Sharman or Liam Hendy. They fed the ball back enabling Lancing to mount a series of raids on the Rovers goal. This eventually paid off with Conrad feeding the ball wide to George who was able to pick out Liam Hendy with a pin point cross. Liam got his head to the ball and steered it low into the corner beneath the diving Eacott. Lancing were still looking for the winner and Kyle came close bringing a good save from Eacott before time ran out.
Lancing showed great character by not caving in after the disappointment of conceding an equaliser so late. Looking at the opportunities missed by Rovers it would be hard to argue that a draw was not a fair result. Once Rovers worked out Lancing’s style of play, they re-adjusted in the second half of normal time and applied greater pressure further forward. But Lancing were able to respond and finished the game well using width to take the game to Rovers.
James Beresford and Mo Juwara were a real threat with their pace in the first half and there were plenty of outstanding performances in the yellow and blue of Lancing. However, a commanding defensive performance from Liam Hendy and a goal to bring Lancing back on level terms, earned him the MOM award. A terrific work rate and a never say die attitude saw Lancing recover from 3-2 down, and keep their hopes of progressing further in this competition when they make the trip to Gander Green Lane for the replay.
Man of the Match: Liam Hendy
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(Photo Credit: Kyle Hemsley)
A big shout-out to Liam Hendy who made his 200th appearance on Saturday, and was presented with his certificate after the game, and to George Fenton who celebrated his 252nd appearance for the Lancers last week.