Dave Wilmott reports on Tuesday's friendly at Culver Road.
Lancing Starting XI:
Mitch Bromage, Mohd Zabadne, Joe Rye, Will Berry, Harrison Parker, Finn Daniels-Yeoman, Darius Goldsmith, Kane Louis, Ben Connolly, Alberto Lubango, Matt Daniel.
Christian Amankwah, Liam Hendy, James Waters, Ebou Jallow, Charlie Gibson, Ollie Read.
After their heavy, but rather unjust, 6-1 defeat away to Horsham of the Isthmian Premier, it was out of the frying pan into the fire as Lancing faced another strong outfit in Sutton Common Rovers. These two sides last clashed in 2019, in the F A Vase. After a 3-3 draw at Culver Road, Sutton came out on top by 1-0 at Gander Green Lane.
Lancing began playing the ball around well, showing no signs of a lack of confidence. It was soon apparent that they were up against a side full of pace and one which would quickly expose any indecision and punish any errors. It took Sutton barely 7 minutes to find the net. A rasping drive from their right back cannoned back off the cross bar only to fall invitingly at the feet of centre forward Tyrell Butler, who responded by firing into the gaping net, with Mitch on the ground after his attempt to save the first shot.
Sutton’s tricky right winger was causing problems for the Lancing defence and it needed Will Berry to get his body in the way and block a goal bound effort after the number 7 had cut inside creating the opening. Darius Goldsmith was next to be in the right place to defend the Lancing goal, after some more tricky play from the number 7, and was fouled in the process.
Lancing were competing well and working hard to try and retain possession. Kane and Finn were covering a lot of ground as Lancing tried to get a foothold in the game. Will and Joe Rye were looking assured and Will was marshalling things at the back, prompting and directing play. With only 22 minutes gone, Lancing suffered a blow, losing Harrison Parker to an injury. He was replaced by newcomer Ollie Read. Ollie quickly settled into the left back slot and, after some good build up play, he was found in space wide on the left. He was able to put in a superb left foot cross, which seemed to be destined for Ben Connolly but which by passed Ben to reach Matt Daniel who coolly found the net to bring the sides level on 33 minutes. Ollie Read continued to impress with some steady play on the left.
Lancing were gaining in confidence the longer they kept the visitors from restoring their lead and reached half time looking more comfortable. Immediate half time changes introduced striker Christian Amankwah, for Ben Connolly and Ebou Jallow in midfield, for Kane Louis.
It was a much-improved performance right from the start of the second half for Lancing who were moving the ball much quicker and there was a greater intensity to their game. Darius, Finn and Matt all showed good skill on the ball. There was a lot more pressure from Lancing further up the field and they were keeping the Rovers penned in their own half. More changes were made 22 minutes into the half, with Darius, Matt, and Alberto making way for Liam Hendy, Charlie Gibson and James Waters. Lancing maintained their forward momentum, with Liam slotting in at centre back, alongside the impressive Joe Rye and Will adding his strength in midfield. Lancing threatened along both flanks with Ebou giving good support to Ollie and James linking well with Mohd.
Despite gaining the upper hand in the second half, Lancing were unable to seriously test the visiting keeper and so the game ended in stalemate. A competitive encounter played in a good spirit, and both sides tested each other well.
There were encouraging signs in the second half, and even the visiting Chairman, sat immediately in front of me, was quite complementary about Lancing’s display. Preparations for life in the fast lane continue with away fixtures against Rising Ballers and Isthmian Premier side Worthing F.C. Some familiar faces have moved on but new ones are coming in to back up the established players and fight for places in the team.