Dave Wilmott reports on Saturday's 4-3 first team victory at The Countryside Stadium.
Lancing Starting XI
Mitch Bromage, Darius Goldsmith, Harrison Parker, Will Berry, Mo Juwara, Liam Hendy (Capt.), Ebou Jallow, Finn Daniels-Yeoman, James Rhodes, Ben Connolly, Matt Daniel.
Mitch Hewens, Conrad Honore, Joe Kennard, Bradley Campbell-Fraser.
With James Waters not having recovered from the injury sustained in Tuesday’s match against Pagham, Mo Juwara took on his left back role. Conrad Honore and Mitch Hewens were available again and were back on the bench. There was also a place on the bench for new signing Bradley Campbell-Fraser and Joe Kennard.
This was Lancing’s first visit to the Countryside Stadium, the Bears new stadium, which is certainly an improvement on their rather soulless previous home ground.
Lancing began with a determination to take the game to Heath and, as early as the third minute, Finn Daniels-Yeoman was rattling the cross bar with a good drive from outside the box. Liam Hendy was next to try his luck teeing the ball up twice before volleying goalward but it was well saved by Liam Matthews. A warning shot was then delivered to Lancing when Cameron Watts broke forward at pace down the left wing, firing a dangerous cross which reached the opposite wing. Mitch Bromage was forced into action turning the ball behind at the near upright. Heath broke forward again quickly afterwards but Harrison Parker was able to stretch and win possession.
At the other end, Ben Connolly effected a neat lay off to set Matt Daniel in on goal but an outstretched leg blocked his effort. Play was end to end in the early stages. Heath attacked with confidence which was matched by Lancing with swift counter attacks. One such attack saw James Rhodes putting a cross into the box, where it was flicked on to Matt Daniel coming in at the far post. Matt got his head to the ball but put it over the bar. This was the best chance of the game so far, coming on 16 minutes. Lancing continued to launch attacks. Ebou hit a shot wide of the upright. Mo struck a long-range effort but did not trouble the home keeper and a good cross from Finn caused some discomfort for the Heath defence but they managed to scramble the ball clear.
Heath showed that they could hit on the break. Cameron Watts was left unmarked on Lancing’s right and advanced unchallenged before hitting a low shot underneath Mitch Bromage to give the Bears the lead on 26 minutes. Lancing attempted to hit back as Mo and Matt linked up, with Matt trying to feed the ball to Ben Connolly but the pass was intercepted. Another good chance went begging after Mo had nodded the ball down to Ben. The normally deadly striker got underneath the ball and sent it skywards. Darius and Ben then combined with Ben hitting a cross ball which Liam Matthews managed to intercept to prevent it reaching Matt Daniel. Matt then forced a diving save from Matthews, after a fine spell of interpassing. Mo had been a powerful force getting forward from left back and a determined run by him led to a corner. A quick short corner was taken with Ben creating space and time to hit a fierce shot which found the net via the underside of the cross bar. A great time to equalise with only a couple of minutes left of the half.
The second half began with Ebou Jallow being denied a goal by keeper Matthews at full stretch tipping the ball over the cross bar. Jamie Taylor, who had always looked a danger when breaking forward, had Mitch Bromage palming the ball away for a corner. Heath were soon back in front when No 9 Lewis Croal fired home from a narrow angle on the right. Lancing reacted almost immediately when Ebou Jallow latched on to a superb pass from James Rhodes to turn and hit the target and restore parity on 54 minutes. Heath took advantage of some inattention in the Lancing defence following a free kick but Mitch was on hand to rescue the ball. Harrison Parker received a yellow card and on 60 minutes was replaced by Conrad Honore. Darius switched to right back, with Conrad taking on his midfield position.
James Rhodes showed alertness after being awarded a foul, taking a quick free kick, slipping the ball to Ebou who set Ben Connolly in on goal to give Lancing the lead for the first time, on 63 minutes. Heath ‘s No 6, Craig Goodsir, was next in the referee’s note book for a foul on James Rhodes.
Heath were competing well and it needed Mitch diving low to prevent a certain goal. At the other end, Ben burst through but was quickly closed down by Matthews. The ball rebounded to Ebou whose shot was deflected over the bar. With just under 15 minutes to go Heath got an equaliser when Cameron Watts was quickly on to a pass, which caught the Lancing defence off guard. He found the bottom corner with unerring accuracy.
This gave the home team the lift they needed and twice Mitch was needed to make good saves. The second came from a free kick conceded by Liam Hendy on the edge of the penalty area, which earned him a booking. Cameron Watts was close to his hat trick from the deadball kick but Mitch was equal to the task to palm the ball away as it was heading for the top corner.
Matt Bradley Campbell -Fraser had earlier made his debut, replacing Matt Daniel and was soon showing how well he could cross the ball. Ben was inches away from connecting with his head. Mitch Hewens was also introduced for Ebou with minutes to go, as Lancing strove for the winner. But it was a fine piece of skill from James Rhodes, lifting the ball towards Bradley who kept his cool to fire home from a couple of yards, 3 minutes into added time.
The Bears proved to be tough to beat, despite their lowly position. But Lancing deserved the win which could have been by a greater margin. Chances were created at both ends and both defences showed occasional lapses which could have proved costly, were it not for some fine goalkeeping.
Lancing needed this win to prevent a slide down the table and to provide a boost to team morale for the upcoming FA vase 1st round away fixture at Reading City. Management MOM went to Mo Juwara. Really solid in the tackle and hard to stop when making forward runs. Always a threat. Regular supporter, Eric Woodwards selected Ben Connolly, whose ability to find the net is a priceless asset.
Well done to both and pleasing to see the team spirit which helped to get them across the line.
Time to say farewell to one of my favourite players. Defender Josh Coupar, who has missed some games recently through injury, was present to support the Lancers at the Countryside stadium. He is returning to the USA. I was able to say a personal goodbye, but on behalf of the rest of the Lancing committee and supporters, would like to say a big thankyou to Josh for some excellent performances and for being a really nice, friendly person to have in the team. Wishing you all the best for the future Josh.
Report by: Dave Wilmott
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