Dave Wilmott reports on Tuesday night's 2-2 draw against Pagham.
Lancing Starting XI
Mitch Bromage, Darius Goldsmith, Harrison Parker, Will Berry, James Waters, Ebou Jallow, Finn Daniels -Yeoman, Liam Hendy, James Rhodes, Ben Connolly, Mo Juwara.
Matt Daniel, Josh Gould, Dave Sharman, Joe Kennard, Michael McEnery.
Looking to bounce back from the disappointing defeat at the hands of Eastbourne Town, Lancing rang the changes for the visit of Pagham, lying just above them in the table. In came manager James Rhodes for his first Premier start. Ben Connolly was also in the starting line-up and there was a positional change for Liam Hendy, occupying a midfield role. Will Berry was partnered at centre back by Harrison Parker with Darius Goldsmith dropping to right back.
Lancing began brightly with Darius getting in a good cross from the right which Ebou managed to head goalward. After a slight fumble the Pagham keeper was able to gather the ball safely in. Finn was next to fire in a cross after a surging run down the right. Ben met the ball and sent it arrowing towards the far upright only to see it go the wrong side of the upright.
The first yellow card awarded by referee Oliver Westgate went to a Pagham defender for scything James Rhodes legs from under him.
Mo Juwara and James Waters were linking well on Pagham’s left flank and, in one piece of action, both displayed their ability consecutively to pirouette away from defenders and get into an advanced position. Mo was proving a handful using his physical strength to retain possession despite being put under pressure by a couple of defenders.
Pagham ‘s first serious attempt on goal came from their number 9 who showed good pace and control ending with a smart drive which found the side netting via a deflection.
James Waters found himself going into the referee’s notebook for an off the ball contact, which seemed a harsh penalty. The next infringement saw the Pagham number 11 being expelled to the sin bin, on 28 minutes, for speaking out of turn. During his expulsion Lancing took the lead. James Rhodes demonstrated that he could still outpace his challenger and after bursting clear, picked out Will Berry who had ventured up field into the penalty area. Will looked up, took careful aim and hit a well-placed shot out of reach of the visiting keeper. James then tried his luck with a goal attempt, after winning possession just outside the box, only to see his shot fly narrowly wide.
Shortly after completing his sentence on the bench, the Pagham no.11 showed he could finish as well as talk and got his side back on level terms with a low drive which seemed to catch Mitch unsighted, when the ball hit the back of the net, with Mitch rooted to the spot. Mitch was tested again just before half time (which according to my stop watch finished prematurely). He had to react quickly to get his hands to a fierce drive which rebounded away before being hooked clear by James Waters.
Lancing had dream start to the second half. Harrison Parker, under close pressure from two defenders deep into Pagham’s left corner, pirouetted away before driving a cross toward the near post. Ben Connolly anticipated the cross and met it with a bullet of a header into the top corner. Barely two minutes had elapsed.
Pagham made a determined effort to cancel out the lead and their number 7 evaded the close attention of Harrison Parker before unleashing a drive which flew just over the bar.
Matt Daniel came on for James Waters, who was suffering from a slight injury. Mo dropped back to full back.
Harrison was guilty of a follow through after winning the ball with a strong tackle. His momentum caused an injury to Pagham’s No.9, who had to be helped from the pitch taking no further part. His was Lancing’s second yellow card.
James Rhodes, who had displayed all his familiar ball skills and control, made way for Josh Gould with a little over 15 minutes of normal time remaining.
Pagham sensed that they could get back level and raised their game for the last quarter. Their number 8 did well to reach the bye line before firing in a low cross along the face of the goal. A slight deflection put it behind just out of reach of a waiting Pagham player. Pagham then came close with a header from a free kick.
With just over 5 minutes of normal time remaining, things conspired against Lancing. The referee failed to award Lancing a free kick for what seemed to be a foul on Darius. This enabled Pagham to launch a dangerous counter attack. Liam Hendy committed a foul to halt the attack and to his dismay received an instant red card. A yellow was undoubtedly merited but a red card seemed an excessive punishment and, undoubtedly helped to turn the tide in Pagham’s favour.
Matt Daniel came close to settling the result when he chested down a mishit clearance and struck a volley just wide. Josh was working hard but found himself receiving a yellow for an overly aggressive tackle. Michael McEnery replaced Ben Connolly in added time but he had no real opportunity to have an influence before Pagham exploited a gap in the middle of the Pagham defence. There was a swift and direct run on goal. Will Berry was in hot pursuit but could not risk trying to make a tackle from behind. Mitch was rounded and the ball hit home. The game was already in added time but Pagham sensed a winner could be found and exerted pressure for the last couple of minutes without any further success.
The late goal hoodoo struck again. This is not the first time Lancing have lost a winning position very late in the game. On the first half showing, it was difficult to see any other result than a Lancing win. But they seemed to be content to hold on to their slender lead, which served as encouragement to Pagham.
Management MOM (Matt Evans and Lloyd) was awarded to James Rhodes. A fine return to active participation for the manager.
Regular supporter, Ray Purkiss selected Finn Daniels -Yeoman. Finn has been a model of consistency. He covered an amazing amount of ground and was on hand to support both defence and attack. Congratulations to both.
In preparing this report, I have deliberately refrained from commenting on the major issue of behaviour which sullied the game .No Pagham team names available to me at the time of preparing this report.
Report by: Dave Wilmott
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