Dave Wilmott reports from last week's friendly.
Lancing Starting XI
Mitch Bromage , Mohd Zabadne, Harry Docherty, Tariq Brown, Ashley Wadhams, Ebou Juwalla, Tom Caplin, James Rhodes, Darius Goldsmith, Ben Connolly ,Alberto Lubango.
Kane Louis, Jack Langford, Rabbi Kinkane, Joe Kennard, James Waters,Giannis Boda, Ty- Rhys Paul-jones, Rabbi Kinkane, Harrison Parker,Bradley Campbell-Francis
Despite the absence, for various reasons , of established players, Liam Hendy, Will Berry, Finn Daniels-Yeoman and Matt Daniel, James Rhodes was still able to put together a strong 21 man squad to face Saltdean. Shortly before this fixture the disappointing news broke that ex-skipper and 49 goal hero in the terminated 20/19-20/20 season, Lew Finney had joined one of our rivals for this season, Burgess Hill Town.We are all obviously saddened by this but, nevertheless, wish Lew all the best with our thanks for his superb displays in a Lancing F.C shirt. Also , it looks likely that Mike Williamson’s family commitments will prevent him from returning this season, after all.
Lancing found it hard going to make any real impression as an attacking force in the first half. There was a lot of honest endeavour but Saltdean were closing Lancing down quickly, with some pretty strong tackles which disrupted Lancing’s rhythm. Mitch Bromage was kept busy but could do nothing to prevent Utd. taking the lead with barely 10 minutes gone. Saltdean won a corner on the left and their tall number 5 rose above everyone to plant a firm header out of Mitch’s reach. The goal scorer injured himself in the process , after a heavy fall and needed lengthy treatment before he could return to action.
A second goal looked a certainty a couple of minutes later but Mitch pulled over a smart save to deny Saltdean’s number 26. Much of Lancing’s difficulty was of their own making as there was some careless passing allowing Saltdean to break forward at pace as gaps opened up.
Twice more Mitch kept Lancing in the game with fine saves.The first was from a volley from outside the box, latching on to a headed clearance from Tom Caplin. Mitch was just able to reach the ball and turn it around the post for a corner. A solid punch from Mitch sent the ball clear from the resultant corner.The next was a save from a well struck shot on the turn from Saltdean’s number 11.
There were few attacks of any real promise from Lancing but Alberto Lubango and Ashley Wadhams had combined well on a few occasions.Alberto had moved inside to try and see more of the ball and Ashley was able to make good use of the space on the left wing to take on the Saltdean defence. Lancing did manage to test the home keeper after 25 minutes when Ben Connolly fired in a first time shot after a strong run and cross from Mohd.Zabadne , which was pushed behind for a corner.
Some untidy play in the Lancing box caused Tom Caplin to stretch to try and get the ball under control but, in the process only succeeded in upending Utd.’s number 9. He sent Mitch the wrong way from the resultant penalty giving his side a 2-0 lead on 36 minutes. Shortly afterwards, Saltdean’s number 26 hit a good pass across the face of the goal, which eluded Lancing’s defenders but which reached number 11 who slid the ball home at the far post. As the first half drew to a close Alberto Lubango was able to pose more of a threat, firstly getting in behind the home defence and hitting a dangerous looking cross, but which no Lancing attacker could reach, and then, in the last action of the half, after another jinking run at the defence , setting up Ben Connolly who did well with a shot on the turn, which was just wide.
The second half saw the immediate introduction of Kane Louis,Ty-Rhys-Paul-Jones (I hope I have the name correctly down…….sounds very Welsh to me, being from Wales myself),Joe Kennard , Alfie Loveridge and former Lancing favourite of a few seasons ago, Jack Langford. Whether it was fresh legs in the heat of the afternoon or a management pep talk , but Lancing showed a lot more attacking enterprise in the second half. Mohd and Jack were taking the game to the opposition. Mohd got on the end of a good cross in the box but could only volley it wide. Mohd was then called into action at the other end , with a brave diving header to cut out a dangerous cross.
More changes for Lancing helped to keep up the attacking momentum as Bradley Campbell-Francis replaced Mohd Zabadne and Harrison Parker came on for Ashley Wadhams. An enforced change was made when Ty hobbbled off having been injured in a foul tackle. Ebou came back on and this was followed by Harry Docherty returning in place of Tariq Brown ,James Waters coming on for Darius Goldsmith and Rabbi Kilkane in for Alberto.Mitch Bromage gave way to Giannis Boda.
James was busy immediately showing hunger for the ball. Jack and Alfie combined well to create a good shooting position for Ebou but an unkind bounce of the ball saw the opportunity fall away.James Waters did well to break into the Saltdean box and get a left foot shot away but it lacked the power to trouble the keeper.
So no further goals in a second half , in which Lancing coped well to contain Saltdean and , although Lancing did not do enough to get on the scoresheet, their performance improved to the satisfaction of James Rhodes.
Apologies for the delay in posting this report – this is due to Jack’s error and not that of Dave who sent the report in at the beginning of the week.