Rhodes & Louis secured their first victory since taking over as co-managers in Saturday afternoon's friendly against Montpelier Villa.
Lancing Starting XI
Mitch Bromage, Dave Sharman, Liam Hendy, Harrison Parker, Josh Coupar, Ebou Jallow, Conrad Honore, Darius Goldsmith, James Waters, Matt Daniel, Ben Connolly
Almost 5 months to the day since Lancing’s last appearance at Culver Road, when they secured a 6-0 win in a friendly against Worthing Utd. it was a new look management team in charge as Lancing returned to their home ground for their first competitive pre-season friendly against Montpelier Villa, who were looking strong favourites to win promotion as Champions of SCFL Div. 2 until Covid 19 intervened.
As we all know, only too well, this pandemic dealt a devastating blow to Lancing’s hopes of promotion to the Isthmian League. Naim Rouane and David Altendorff,, who had done so well in bringing Lancing to the brink of Premier League Championship, stood down following the decision to nullify the season’s results, to be replaced by their trusty on field lieutenants, James Rhodes, Kane Louis, and Matt Evans. The new management team had shown great enterprise in finding venues to work on players fitness during lockdown and had recruited some exciting new talent, as well as retaining a solid core of last season’s team, who had remained loyal to Lancing.
It was also good to see Liam Hendy back in Lancing colours after a nasty injury in the RUR semi-final at Eastbourne Town on 28th January, which ended his season.
Lancing began brightly with Ben Connolly and James Waters forcing good saves from the Montpelier keeper. Conrad Honore and Matt Daniel were looking creative and it was Matt who saw an opening to put Ebou Jallow through to fire Lancing ahead with a cool finish on 13 minutes. Matt then got himself on the scoresheet finishing off a good move by side-footing the ball home on 20 minutes. The visiting keeper was kept busy as he denied, firstly Ebou, then Matt Daniel with good saves. But he could do nothing to stop Ben Connolly putting Lancing three up as he finished off some neat football in the penalty box.
When Montpelier were able to get into a dangerous position, Dave Sharman was quick to win the ball and clear the threat. The Montpelier No. 7 was lively and quick and attempting to get forward on their wide right. Josh Coupar was in fine form and kept him under tight control.
Conrad Honore delivered the pass of the game hitting a 40-yard cross field ball from wide on Lancing’s left to find James Waters on the right wing. James fed a good ball to Ben Connolly, whose shot was blocked. Ebou then exploited some space and time to set up Ben Connolly who drove the ball firmly past the keeper for his second and Lancing’s fourth just before half time.
Keeper Mitch Bromage had not been tested so far and although Montpelier enjoyed a good spell late in the first half, there was no end product. Indeed, it was Lancing who came closest to scoring before the half time whistle when Ben Connolly was put clear by Ebou, but Ben was unable to get the ball over the keeper who had advanced quickly from his goal line.
The second half saw the introduction of Finn Daniels-Yeoman, Mitch Hewens, Mo Juwara, Josh Gould, George Mitchell-Phillips, Joe Kennard and Ben Whitmore.
Montpelier, clearly boosted by their half-time team talk, raised their game and got an early reward. Mitch Bromage looked to have prevented a certain goal, but the ball rebounded from him to hit the opposing striker, and from him, into the empty net.
Marcel Powell, a promising 16-year-old, was brought on at half time by Montpelier, and was looking to be an exciting prospect. Montpelier were pressing higher and making some progress on their right flank. A cross from the right created a heading opportunity for Montpelier from close range but the effort flew over the bar.
Lancing regained their rhythm and restored their superiority with Mo Juwara, Mitch Hewens and Ben Connolly linking well with Ben bringing another good save from the keeper, Mitch having a close-range header cleared from the line, and Mo having a fierce drive to the rear post well saved.
George Mitchell-Phillips hit the goal of the game with a superb dipping drive from over 35 yards which flew over the keeper into the roof of the net. George then did well to hit a dangerous cross from the right and the ball rebounded from the keeper to Mitch Hewens, who slammed the ball home to give Lancing a 6-1 lead. With minutes to go, Mitch Bromage was called into action with a smart save with his feet.
So, Lancing ran out 6-1 winners in he heat and the strange atmosphere at Culver Road where strict Covid 19 regulations were observed, which meant, amongst other things, that no spectators were allowed.
Lancing now look forward to hosting Mile Oak for a friendly on Tuesday, 11th August.
Report by: Dave Wilmott
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