Lancing Starting XI:
Mitch Bromage, George Fenton, Max Blencowe, Liam Hendy, James Beresford, Lew Finney (Capt.), James Rhodes, Conrad Honoure, Brad Santos, Alex Fair, Mo Juwara.
Mitch Hewens, Kyle Woolven, Will Berry, Ben Connolly.
Lancing were without the midfield dynamo, Mike Williamson, suffering from an illness, but the versatile Conrad Honoure was switched from full back enabling the return of George Fenton. A start for Mo Juwara on the left side of the attack and the first appearance, on the bench, for exciting prospect, Ben Connolly, a striker newly transferred from Lingfield. Langley were forced to draft in some last-minute replacements to cover for unavailable regulars.
Lancing looked to have learned from their opening spell at Crawley Down Gatwick, when they enjoyed almost total possession but without showing a cutting edge. They were soon threatening the visitor’s goal. Al Fair was first to react to an early free kick after a foul on Mo Juwara, making a quick run to the near post and diverting the ball towards the far post but narrowly over the bar. Brad looked to be in the clear but keeper Dan Hutchins just beat him to the through ball. Al Fair had the ball taken from him by a strong tackle as he was about to line up a shot. Liam Hendy, showing perfect timing, broke up a Langley attack and set up a quick counter attack bringing Mo into play on the left. Mo finished a strong run by driving the ball across the six-yard line but there was no one on hand to apply the finishing touch. Shortly afterwards, Mo found himself going into the referee’s book for what hardly seemed to amount to a foul, let alone worthy of a yellow card.
On 25 minutes, James Rhodes, who had earlier been receiving treatment from physio Georgie, limped off with a calf strain, to be replaced by Will Berry. Langley mounted their first dangerous attack with a break down their left but George Fenton was vigilant and able to shield the ball allowing Mitch to gather it.
The breakthrough for Lancing came on 30 minutes when James Beresford made one of his trademark pacy runs to the by-line and his cross to the near post was met by Brad Santos darting forward at speed and planting the ball low into the goal. Langley were a threat at set pieces and their centre forward rose well to get on the end of a free kick to head the ball across the face of goal. Fortunately, James Beresford was alert to the danger and hooked the ball clear. Another free kick was awarded to Langley but to say it was wasted would be an understatement as the ball not only cleared the goal but the fence behind it and out of the ground. Lancing hit back with strong running from George and Brad with Brad getting in a cross which Lew met with a volley which was blocked for a corner.
Lancing started the second half brightly. A lovely touch from Al Fair found Lew Finney who spread the ball wide to Mo but his cross was cleared. George Fenton cutting in from the right was brought down on the edge of the box. Lew and Mo were both lining up to take the free kick. Lew deferred to Mo and he struck a firm left foot shot which got through the defensive wall and hit the upright with the keeper unsighted.
Lancing were well on top at this stage and, firstly George Fenton was felled as he was on a forward run, earning Joe Summerbell a yellow card. A couple of minutes later, on 60 minutes, the same player scythed Brad Santos Down and got his marching orders with a second yellow. Brad only lasted a few more minutes before having to leave the field of play, giving Kyle the opportunity to come on. He was soon on the score sheet. Mo, who had been full of running, picked up a pass inside his own half leaving defenders in his wake before laying on a perfect pass for Kyle to side foot home. Ben Connolly was given his chance to show what he could do and, on 75 minutes, three minutes after replacing Al Fair, he had the crowd on their feet with a screamer from outside the box which flew into the net (I have to confess that I missed this, as, at the crucial moment, I turned round to speak with our man on the tannoy, Barry Sutton. So, Ben Connolly please give me advance notice of any future spectacular goals !!) What a debut for a player with a goal scoring reputation. Lancing came close to increasing their lead but Will Berry was deprived of a good heading opportunity by Dan Hutchins reaching the ball just before Will could make contact.
So Lancing finished with a clean sheet and sit at the top of the table, six points clear of Peacehaven on the same number of games. After a home game against Hassocks, two tough away fixtures are ahead at Newhaven and Horley Town. Some plus points from Tuesday’s game. George Fenton completing 90 minutes and showing he has lost nothing by his injury absence. The loss of midfield dynamo Mike Williamson was mitigated by the versatility shown by young Conrad Honoure and the superb captain ‘s display by Lew Finney. Mo Juwara seizing his opportunity well after being on the side-lines for a few games. Another accomplished performance from the defensive pairing of Liam Hendy and Max Blencowe controlling play from the back and helping to maintain a clean sheet. And a promising debut from Ben Connolly.
MOM goes to Lew Finney for a faultless display. Dropping deep to collect the ball from the back four, linking up well with the attack and covering the ground well to support the forward play at every opportunity.
Report by: Dave Wilmott
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