Lancing Starting XI
Matt Evans, Brad Santos, Dan Mobsby, Dave Sharman, Lewis Broughton, Mike Williamson, Andrew Briggs, James Rhodes, Tom Caplin, Lewis Finney (Capt.), Ben Connolly
Kane Louis, Alex Fair, Josh Coupar, Mitch Hewens.
Lancing travelled to the Saffrons for the replay of the game, which had to be abandoned the first time the teams met for this semi-final, following a serious injury to Liam Hendy, which threatens to rule him out for the rest of the season. With Mitch Bromage and Will Berry cup tied, manager Naim called upon the experience of Dave Sharman as centre back and Matt Evans in goal. Tom Caplin, who missed the Loxwood game through illness had recovered.
Eastbourne started with a high tempo and as early as the third minute, Matt Evans was in action bringing off a good save. Seven minutes later Eastbourne Town broke clear and, with only Matt to beat, put a shot wide of the upright. James Rhodes picked up an injury in the fifteenth minute, requiring treatment from physio Georgie. Eastbourne were causing Lancing problems with their direct approach but Lancing were able to weather the storm and produce some good approach work giving Lew Finney a shooting opportunity on 21 minutes, which Keeper Chris Winterton was equal to. Shortly afterwards, Tom Caplin forced a save. Lancing maintained their momentum with a strong surge to the bye line from Brad Santos. His cross was too high to allow for a header on goal but the ball dropped to Ben Connolly who managed to hit the ball goal wards but it was blocked by a defender.
James Rhodes, who had not looked comfortable since receiving treatment earlier, was forced to leave the field on 36 minutes, to be replaced by Josh Coupar. He took up Brad Santos’ full back position, Brad now playing further forward. The loss of an important play maker was a handicap to Lancing. A couple of minutes later, Matt Evans miss-hit a pass, trying to play out from the back. This was seized on by Town but the goal attempt was deflected for a corner. The ball was swung in towards the goal from the corner, and seemed to be caught by the swirling wind, such that Matt Evans could only help it into his own net to put Town 1 up on 38 minutes.
Town began the second half strongly and it took all the experience of Dave Sharman and Dan Mobsby to repel a series of dangerous attacks, particularly from the forceful no.7, Aaron Capon. Dave Sharman was guilty of a late tackle on Capon and received a yellow card. With approximately 30 minutes left, Kane Louis and Al Fair came on for Brad Santos and Ben Connolly.
Eastbourne were on top at this stage and Dave Sharman was at full stretch but defending soundly as Capon continued to run at the Lancing defence. It was then Capon’s turn to go into the referee’s notebook for what looked like retribution, bringing down Sharman.
Lancing were struggling to make any major impact as Town were quicker to the ball and too many Lancing passes were going astray. But they did not give up the fight and, whilst the lead was a slim one, there was still hope. But this was dashed not long before the end of the game when Capon struck the Lancing upright, the ball rebounding to Zac Atwood who volleyed the ball home.
So, Lancing exit the competition. In fairness, Eastbourne Town were deserved winners on the night. All attention must now be paid to the remaining league games. Did not have the opportunity to discuss MOM but this can be announced later. For myself, I was impressed with how well Dave Sharman played, especially considering his lack of first team game time.
Report by: Dave Wilmott
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