A sole goal from Ben Connolly secured a victory against Lingfield on Wednesday evening. Here is Dave Wilmott's report.
- Connolly (73')
Lancing Starting XI
Mitch Bromage, Darius Goldsmith, Liam Hendy (Capt.), Will Berry, Mo Juwara, Ebou Jallow, Finn Daniels-Yeoman, Darren Budd, Matt Daniel, Tom Caplin, Bradley Campbell-Francis.
Substitutes: Ben Connolly, Joe Kennard, Josh Gould, Mitch Hewens, Dave Sharman
This semi-final provided both teams with the opportunity of extending their season with a final to be played on 22nd May against Loxwood at Steyning’s Ground, The Shooting Field. No spectators allowed but thanks to sponsors, Avolon, PAYPR, former Lancing Chairman, John Rea and local butcher Mick Maginness, this semi-final could be viewed live, freely, courtesy of YIR (Your Instant Replay) with commentary provided by Lancing player Drew Matthews.
A last-minute change of colours saw Lancing having to swap their yellow shirts for blue to avoid a clash with Lingfield’s yellow and red.
Lingfield and Lancing were mirror images of themselves in the opening stages making good use of goalkeepers Johnny Thurbin and Mitch Bromage both comfortable on the ball, playing out from the back and aiming to retain possession with their back four looking to provide their midfield with the opportunity to make progress towards the opposition final third.
Lancing were making good use of the pace on the flanks of Mo Juwara and Bradley Campbell-Francis and Lingfield had Steve Hodge, an attacking right back and Albert Lubango, backed up by Tyler Cox, providing width on the left.
Neither side was able to apply a clinical finish, despite getting into good positions. Lingfield’s No.9 James Allen managed to force his way past Liam Hendy but found Will Berry blocking his attempt on goal. At the other end, Bradley Campbell-Francis was quickly on to a fine lofted pass from Matt Daniel. His pace took him to the bye line but good defending closed him down forcing the ball out for a throw in. No.2 Steve Hodge breached the Lancing left flank but his cross was wasted, falling nicely to Will Berry who was able to clear under no pressure. Bradley outpaced the visitor’s defence again but pulled his shot wide of the far upright. James Allen was again a threat in the Lancing box, but his final pass across the six-yard box failed to reach a team mate.
The pace of the game was quite frantic. Lingfield were closing down Lancing midfield, disrupting their rhythm, and it needed the composure and experience of Darren Budd to bring some order to the midfield as Finn Daniels -Yeoman and Tom Caplin provided the drive and energy to keep Lingfield at bay .One moment of class from Darren saw him skilfully “nutmeg” an opponent.
Mo Juwara was gradually exerting his attacking impetus along Lancing’s left. A swift move initiated by Darren Budd and continued by Matt Daniel gave Mo the space in behind the defence to deliver a cross but it cleared everyone. On 32 minutes Lancing had the ball in the net. Liam Hendy broke from the back, picking out Mo who switched the ball to Matt Daniel. Matt squared the ball into the path of Ebou Jallow who side footed the ball home at the far post. All to no avail, as the flag was raised for an offside.
Mo continued to power forward and another run to the bye line brought a save from Thurbin at his near post to prevent a corner as Mo’s cross was deflected. Lancing had their best goal scoring chance on 38 minutes. Bradley Campbell-Francis broke forward and found the unmarked Tom Caplin. Tom was able to get his shot away but keeper Thurbin was quick to close him down and get his body in the way.
Lancing finished the half looking the most likely to score. Mo, Brad and Darius Goldsmith were pressing forward. A cross from Mo flew just wide of the far upright. Brad latched on to a fine through ball from Darren Budd but was given offside and Darius finished off a spell of quick and precise inter passing with a shot which drifted just wide.
Lancing looked to have nullified the Lingfield threat as the first half ended but Lingfield had other ideas and came out strongly in the second half to reassert themselves. An early break down the right produced a difficult cross which Mitch initially spilled but no one was able to take advantage and the danger was cleared. Brad still showed plenty of determination forcing his way past his marker, finding Ebou with a pass in the box but his attempt on goal came back to him off a defender. He quickly switched the ball to Matt Daniel but it was too high for Matt to get in a clear strike. Alberto Lubango still had plenty to offer, bursting past Mo Juwara but could not pick out a yellow shirt with his cross.
Play continued to flow from end to end and Lancing hit back with a volley from Matt Daniel which led to a Lancing corner as it deflected via a defender. A second corner followed immediately which Thurbin palmed away forcefully. Centre back Johnson seized on the clearance but was impeded by Liam Hendy as he threatened to open up Lancing’s defence with a pacy run. This resulted in a yellow card for Hendy.
Tom Caplin was full of energy and latched on to a quick pass from Darren Budd but was crudely upended on the edge of the Lingfield box by Scott Johnson which earned him a yellow card. The wall did its job to prevent Darren Budd’s dead ball kick from reaching its target. Lingfield made their first substitution with Josh Biddecombe replacing James Allen. Shortly afterwards, on 58 minutes, Mitch Hewens came on for Brad Campbell-Francis, who had worked tirelessly on the right wing.
Mitch posed a different problem for Lingfield with his close control and pace, cutting in from the right with the ball glued to his favoured left foot. Mitch was soon testing Thurbin with a well struck left foot drive which had the keeper at full stretch to his right to keep it out. Lingfield’s Connor Leach came on for David Heaton.
Soon afterwards, Darren Budd and Matt Daniel stood down for Ben Connolly and Josh Gould. Scott Johnson was fractionally short of connecting with a header to Lingfield free kick. Lingfield replaced Jake Horn with Sammy Clements but the Lancing substitutions had greater impact and helped to increase the pressure on the Lingfield defence.
Joe Kennard added his defensive strength with Will Berry taking the place in midfield of Tom Caplin who had run himself into the ground. The decisive breakthrough came on 77 minutes. Darius Goldsmith floated a superb pass over the top of the Lingfield back line. Ben Connolly timed his run perfectly to avoid being given offside. He drew the keeper off his line before curling the ball around him into the left of the goal.
Josh Gould was working hard on the left and was brought down, an offence for which Jamie Bakhit might have been given a yellow. Mo shrugged off a foul and, with the referee waving on advantage, Mo raced forward before feeding the ball to Mitch Hewens whose careful curling drive flew narrowly wide of the keeper’s right upright.
Mo continued to motor along the left and after a determined run found Ben in the box but the ball ran away from Ben as he was about to line up a shot. There was still time for Lingfield to threaten the Lancing goal. The referee halted play for a head injury to a Lingfield player. He restarted with a drop ball to Lingfield which was instantly fired into the Lancing six-yard box. Scott Johnson got on the end of it but could only send it well wide. Lingfield continued to battle until the end but Lancing held firm.
Those present witnessed a well contested game with little to choose between the sides. There was a good atmosphere created by the vociferous Lancing committee members led by Terry Cartwright backed by the young supporters who were able to view from outside the ground behind the goal. Spare a thought and some sympathy for manager James Rhodes suffering some pain with some broken ribs. Unable to physically celebrate the Lancing win and join in the post-match embraces.
Lancing supporters were grateful for the opportunity to view the live game at home, and they would have appreciated the excellent commentary from Drew Matthews
So, to the final when spectators will be allowed so we hope to see a good crowd of Lancing followers.
Several good candidates for MOM, Mo Juwara, Tom Caplin, to name but two. However, I invited Chairman Steve Taylor to make the choice, which went to Finn Daniels-Yeoman. Finn covered so much ground, linked the play very well, was active in both penalty areas, non-stop motion.
Match Reporter: Dave Wilmott
Our thanks to Lancing FC Committee Member Dave for his report.