The game ended with Bridges holding on to their lead, thus denying Lancing what looked for much of the game as their first opportunity to gain at least a point.
- O'Neill (72')
Lancing Starting XI :
Mitch Bromage, Steven Metcalf, Mohamed Joumaa Zabadne, Finn Daniels-Yeoman, Clayton Garner, Conrad Honore, Matt Daniel, Tyrese Mthunzi, Kane Louis, Ansu Janneh, Mark Goldson.
Ahmed Kamil Hassan, Liam Hendy, Will Berry, Bradley Campbell- Francis, Harrison Parker.
In the absence of James Rhodes, Kane Louis took charge of Lancing, assisted by Matt Evans, Mark Stuart and Wayne Poulter. Team changes saw Kane in the starting line-up, Mohamed back at left back, a new centre back pairing of Clayton and Conrad and a debut for new signing Tyrese Mthunzi. Also new comer Ahmed Kamil Hassan was on the bench. Ansu occupied a midfield role, after previously playing as a central striker.
Of particular interest was the fact that two brothers faced each other. Tad Bromage for Bridges and Mitch for Lancing. The last time they faced each other on opposing sides was in the SCFL Supplementary Shield Final. Tad was in the Loxwood side which lost on penalties to Lancing on 22 May this year. Tad converted his pen via Mitch but Mitch had the last laugh, saving two pens and scoring the winner.
It was a pretty even first half with neither side in the ascendency. Kane Louis showed his value to the team with his excellent ball control and ability to help Lancing retain possession. First shot on target came from ex-Bridges player Matt Daniel, low down at the keeper’s near upright. On 19 minutes, Brannon O’Neill, found himself receiving a yellow card for a foul on Conrad Honore.Bridges came close with a swerving drive from Curtis Gayle, but Mitch had it covered and was able to watch it go wide.
The closest to a goal came from Bridges in the 42nd minute, when Tom Tolfrey reached the bye line and hit a cross towards the near post. Callum Chesworth reacted quickly to flick the ball goal wards but could only hit the upright. Final action of the half was a free kick from Bridges which Mitch was able to punch well clear.
Ben Bacon and Dan Perry were early second half substitutes for Bridges. Lancing began the second half brightly. Conrad and Clayton were both looking confident bringing the ball out from the back. Tyrese Mthunzi was controlling the centre of midfield with Finn Daniels-Yeoman. Ansu was covering a lot of ground trying to support the forwards. Matt Daniel was taking up good positions on the left and, following a good break out wide, he created a shooting opportunity for Tyrese. It was on target but comfortably saved by Kieron Thorp. Tyrese was the architect of another good move, quickly switching the ball to Kane Louis , who found Ansu unmarked. He tried his luck from distance but was way too high.
16 minutes into the second half Kane Louis made way for Bradley Campbell-Francis. Shortly afterwards, Bridges missed a good chance to take the lead, when Conrad Honore failed to control the ball which ran under his foot, letting in a Bridges attacker, with only Mitch to beat, but the keeper proved, once again, how difficult he is to beat, pulling off another fine save.
Bridges were awarded a second yellow when Tad Bromage halted a good forward run by Finn , by bringing him down on the half way line. Lancing came close to scoring themselves but as the ball was cleared it allowed Bridges to launch a rapid counter attack with Clayton Garner exposed as the only defender in position to protect Mitch. In his attempt to get his body in the way Clayton pulled the Bridges player down. No hesitation by referee Harry Wager, who had little option but to award a penalty and dismiss Clayton from the field.
Brannon O’Neill made no mistake with his spot kick to put his side one up on 71 minutes.
Lancing brought on another defender with Will Berry on for Ansu Janneh. They soon found themselves having to defend a free kick in a dangerous position. O’Neill fired in a fierce drive, which Mitch palmed over for a corner. The ball was laid back from the corner for a first-time strike from the edge of the box, which brought another vital save from Mitch.
Tyrese was driving Lancing forward with a good range of passing and urging his team mates on. Dan Perry, looking clearly offside, failed to take advantage of being in on goal with a weak finish which rolled past the upright.
With 10 minutes to go, Harrison Parker replaced Mohamed Zabadne and very soon tested keeper Thorp with a powerfully struck free kick, which was well held. Steve Smith was Bridges’ final substitution with Callum Chesworth going off.
The game ended with Bridges holding on to their lead, thus denying Lancing what looked for much of the game as their first opportunity to gain at least a point. There was little to choose between the sides and an unfortunate error was enough to see Bridges pick up all three points, leaving Lancing firmly rooted at the bottom of the table.
We committee members present were impressed by new signing Tyreze Mthunzi. He was strong on the ball, had excellent close control and a good range of passing, enabling Lancing to get in behind the Bridges defence.
We were unanimous in selecting him as our MOM.
There is a lack of good scoring opportunities at the moment but Mark and Matt are working well together and improvement in the final third will surely come.
It was a nostalgic visit to Jubilee Field for your match reporter as this was the scene of my best footballing days, memories marred by a serious knee injury at the peak of my playing ability. However, it was good to meet up with some former team mates, still putting in stirling service for Bridges as club officials. One, Alan Bell , is now the club’s President.
Also, on a personal note, I would like to thank Terry and Brian for filling my tankard, awarded for being voted players’ player for Bridges in season 1975/76, with nice cool beer.