Lancing Starting XI:
Matt Evans, Brad Santos, Dave Sharman, Mike Williamson, Liam Hendy, Josh Coupar, Mitch Hewens, James Rhodes, Lew Finney (Capt.), Tom Caplin, Kane Louis.
George Mitchell-Phillips, Kyle Woolven, Omar Bukleb, Mo Juwara, David Altendorff.
Lancing had no time to lick their wounds after the disappointment of exiting the FA vase at the hands of Sutton Common Rovers. Straight back in the saddle with a home tie against Steyning and their final opportunity to pick up some cup silverware. If Lady Luck had shined on Lancing, they could easily have progressed further in all their cup competitions, with the exception of the Sussex Senior Cup. In all the other games Lancing had victory snatched from their grasp in the dying minutes of the game.
No James Beresford for this game as he had a trial with League side Colchester earlier in the day. Al Fair also a spectator. Brad Santos occupied the right full back berth and Mitch Hewens was a starter.
A gale force wind and heavy rain, at times, made playing conditions difficult but this did not affect the energy levels shown by Lancing with Tom Caplin, Kane Louis, James Rhodes and Lew Finney buzzing around in midfield interchanging positions and switching the ball from player to player to make progress towards the opposition box. James Rhodes was enjoying himself pulling the strings from deep on the right and working with Brad Santos. But it was not until over midway through the first half that Lancing were able to test the opposition keeper. James Rhodes finished a great run with a firm shot which the keeper was able to hold and Mitch Hewens forced the keeper to get down to his left and prevent the ball reaching the far corner of the net.
Steyning had not troubled Matt Evans and it was somewhat against the run of play when, on 44 minutes, Scott Faber had the ball teed for him and he fired it over the outstretched arms of Matt Evans into the roof of the net. Steyning’s lead was short lived as, 3 minutes into added time, Liam Hendy put the ball over the top of the defence picking out the run of Josh Coupar. Josh cut in towards the goal and drove the ball, with his left foot, into the far corner.
The sides came out to driving rain and a typically driving run took Tom Caplin to the bye line and his near post effort was fumbled by the keeper before he could get it under control. Lancing’s domination of the early stages of the second half bore fruit as, on 52 minutes, good interplay between Mitch Hewens and Kane Louis gave Josh Coupar the space to get to the bye line and put in a hard low cross which the keeper spilled enabling Lew Finney to apply the finishing touch from a couple of yards. Barely three minutes later Brad Santos intercepted the ball as Steyning mounted an attack. Brad counter attacked at pace, the ball finding its way to Lew Finney on the edge of the penalty area. Lew cleverly nutmegged a defender before picking his spot in the keeper’s bottom right corner.
Subs George Mitchell-Phillips, Kyle Woolven and Omar Bukleb were introduced for Tom Caplin, Mitch Hewens and James Rhodes. But not before the latter executed a sublime pass to put Lew in the clear just outside the six-yard box. Lew almost had too much time to make a decision and his hesitancy allowed the keeper to position himself to close down the angle and smother his shot.
Kyle Woolven looked determined to get on the score sheet. Using his pace to get into advanced positions he produced two excellent long-range efforts cutting in from the left wing. The first was well saved and the second flew dangerously close to the far side of the goal.
As the game entered the final stages Steyning decided to throw more men forward and it needed some fine defensive work, particularly by Mike Williamson, Liam Hendy and ever youthful Dave Sharman to frustrate their attacks. Steyning came close to scoring with a header against the cross bar which Liam Hendy was quick to react to and clear for a corner. In the final minute of normal time, Steyning got a late consolation goal with a well-placed header from Alex Gathern.
This gave a score line which rather flattered the visitors. On the night Lancing looked comfortable and, by equalising so soon after Steyning had taken the lead, gave themselves a half time boost which gave them the impetus to carry them forward into the second half and take them into the semi-finals.
MOM for the second consecutive game was awarded to Josh Coupar. A fine goal on the stroke of half time and an assist for the second goal, coupled with a good all-round defensive performance. Always willing and eager to get forward.
More goals for skipper Lew Finney. I have lost count!! He is probably pondering about the one that got away and prevented yet another hat trick. Just goes to show he is human after all.
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