Lancing Starting XI
Mitch Bromage, Darius Goldsmith, Harrison Parker, Liam Hendy (c), Josh Coupar, Ebou Jallow, Finn Daniels-Yeoman, Will Berry, James Waters, Matt Daniel, Ben Connolly.
Mitch Hewens, Adam Hunt, Josh Gould, Dave Sharman, Michael McEnery.
Lancing went into this game brimming with confidence after their fine 6-1 win against Lingfield but found that Hassocks were not over awed by Lancing’s past and current form. It was a shell-shocked group of Lancing supporters who trooped away from the Beacon not quite believing what they had just witnessed. A 3-2 defeat, thanks to an added time winner from the penalty spot converted by Jack Troak.
Lancing looked quite comfortable from the kick off. Liam Hendy and Harrison Parker were directing play from the back and the general approach work was sound. However apart from a couple of threatening runs from Ebou Jallow and James Waters, Lancing were guilty of some loose passing in the final third which gave the Robins possession and the opportunity to counter attack with some searching long balls.
Neither goalkeeper was seriously troubled for over 20 minutes. Brad Bant had the first real shot at goal but wasted a good chance by getting underneath the ball and skying it over the bar. On the 25-minute mark, James Waters switched to the right wing, with Matt Daniel taking up the left side. Hassocks came close to taking the lead shortly afterwards. Lancing gave the ball away in midfield allowing Chris Niederway to fire in a rocket which Mitch Bromage did well to palm away. The ball found a Hassocks player free in the box and it needed some last ditch defending from Harrison Parker to clear the danger. Former Lancing favourite Charlie Pitcher reminded the away fans of his goal scoring prowess with a good drive which flew just wide of the far upright. This was just the hors d’oeuvres as, on 30 minutes, Charlie turned a couple of defenders on the edge of the box and created an opening for himself to hammer the ball past the outstretched arms of Mitch Bromage.
Lancing hit back in an instant. Barely two minutes had elapsed before Ben Connolly was threading a perfect pass splitting the Robins defence and finding Ebou Jallow, who coolly stroked the ball into the empty net. This prompted a chorus of opinion from the group of Lancing supporters in the stand to the effect that it is an old adage but you are always at your most vulnerable just after you have scored.
Lancing stung the home team again on 39 minutes. Quick thinking by Ben Connolly saw him switch the ball to Matt Daniel. Matt was equally quick to slip the ball sideways to Ebou who calmly side footed the ball home from close range.
The second half saw both sides playing an attacking game. Matt Daniel could not quite connect with a nicely lofted ball over the top from Ben Connolly. At the other end, Hassocks fired wide when in a good position. On 55 minutes, Harvey Enticknap left the field to be replaced by Alfie Loversidge. James Waters had worked diligently throughout and was close to increasing Lancing’s lead after cutting inside and curling a goal bound effort towards the far post which had Keeper Dave Carruthers at full stretch to keep out.
It was the Robins turn to test the opposing keeper. A free kick was met with a downward header which Mitch did well to get under and tip over the cross bar. Lancing made changes with just over 30 minutes to go. Mitch Hewens replaced Matt Daniel. James was still looking to score and came close firing narrowly wide from the edge of the penalty area. Charlie Pitcher and another former Lancing favourite Louis Pittock made way on 70 minutes for Joe Bull and Jack Gardner and with 15 minutes to go Adam Hunt came on for Darius Goldsmith. Within minutes of this change The Robins got an equaliser with Joe Bull being quick to turn a cross from the left in at the near post.
The Robins looked content to try and keep the ball in the Lancing half, courtesy of a number of long throw ins from centre back Dan Turner but, although Lancing coped with this well enough, they were still not making the best use of possession. Last throw of the dice was the introduction of tall striker Michael Mc Enery for Will Berry. Ben Connolly underlined what a goal threat he is with a pile driver which was arrowing towards the top corner until well saved by Carruthers.
Lancing continued to press for a winner but were caught out losing the ball. The Robins broke forward at pace and real danger was looming for Lancing with the defence stretched. Ben Connolly reacted to the threat with what people tend to call a “professional foul” on the half way line, which promptly earned him a booking from referee Robert King. The fact that there were still defenders to beat, and the attacker was a long way from goal, probably saved him from a red card.
As the clock ticked it to added time Lancing shot themselves in the foot conceding a penalty with what looked to be a fairly innocuous tackle which turned into a probable trip. Jack Troak stepped up, not phased by the pressure, and found the back of the net to send his team mates into raptures. There was no time for the game to restart.
A rude awakening for Lancing. Not a game they really looked like losing. Liam Hendy was imperious at the back, building a good partnership with Harrison Parker. However, this serves to underline the strength of the Premier League and, although the result seemed somewhat harsh, Hassocks worked hard for each other and, if you are not quite at your best, you can be punished. And in Charlie Pitcher they have someone who will always pose a goal threat.
It is to be hoped that the friendly at Lewes will provide James and Kane the opportunity to work on any perceived flaws and that the boys will be firing on all cylinders for the forthcoming visit of Saltdean Utd.
Report by: Dave Wilmott
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