Lancing Starting XI:
Mitch Bromage, Steve Metcalf, Will Berry, Conrad Honore, Mohamed Joumaa Zabadne, Finn Daniels-Yeoman (capt.), Ansu Janneh, Tyreze Mthunzi, Bradley Campbell -Francis, Kane Louis, Matt Daniel.
Darius Goldsmith, Liam Hendy, Harrison Parker, Lorenzo Lewis, Destiny Ono.
Few changes from the side which came so close to picking up at least a point from Three Bridges. Will Berry able to start after recovering from his ankle injury, slotting in for Clayton Garner serving a one match suspension, and Brad Campbell -Francis in for the unavailable Mark Goldson. New faces on the bench, Lorenzo Lewis and Destiny Ojo.
Lancing began on the front foot, with Mohd Zabadne having the first shot on target after five minutes, which was dealt with comfortably by keeper Dan Eason. Three minutes later Matt Daniel was set free wide left winning a corner from which Ansu Janneh stretched his long leg to reach the ball as it came into the six-yard box but could only steer it over the bar.
Lancing’s early domination paid off on nine minutes. Brad initiated a move, passing inside to Ansu, and continued his run. Ansu spotted an opening and threaded a perfectly weighted pass for Brad to run on to. Keeper Eason was off his line quickly to close down the space but Brad kept a cool head rounding the keeper and stroking the ball into the empty net.
Matt Daniel was making good use of space wide on the left but the end product was not quite there. Brad and Matt combined well with the ball being put in behind the Whitstable left back for Steve Metcalf to run on to. His cross was measured to perfection for Matt who hit a firm header but narrowly too high.
Whitstable took some time to have their first attempt on goal but, on 23 minutes, Aaron Millbank finished a swift break with an early strike on goal but it flew wide of the upright. Shortly afterwards, George McIlroy tested Mitch with a low drive but it lacked real power and Mitch got down well to hold it.
There was a scare for Whitstable when Ansu, who had been a real force in midfield, closed down Eason, the ball rebounding with an upward trajectory but to the keeper’s relief it dropped harmlessly over the bar.
Conrad cleared a dangerous situation in the Lancing box and broke clear advancing up field but a promising break finished disappointingly with a misplaced pass.
Lancing missed another good chance to increase their lead on 39 minutes. Tyreze showed good strength to win the ball in the centre of the opposition half, and picked out Brad on the right. Brad hit a superb early cross which evaded the visitors defence and found Matt Daniel making a determined effort to make contact. Matt was at full stretch and unable to keep the ball low enough to squeeze it in at the upright.
Lancing came out for the second half pressing hard to increase their lead. Ansu teed up Kane but his shot cleared the cross bar. Then Tyreze won possession before putting Matt through on goal. His finish was well executed but, unfortunately, he was adjudged to be offside.
The first substitutions were made by the visitors on 54 minutes bringing on Nico Cotton for Ben Harding.
Conrad Honore who had, once again, shown his versatility with a calm authority at centre back alongside the solid Will Berry was disappointed with his finish after a fine bursting run from deep and a quick one two, putting him in on goal, ended with a rugby conversion instead of shot on target.
Kane Louis departed after a hardworking 60 minutes to be replaced by Destiny Ojo. He quickly demonstrated his speed off the mark with a run to the bye line, latching on to a quickly taken free kick by Finn . His cross was heading for the six-yard box but intercepted and turned behind at the near post for a corner.
On 74 minutes Brad was replaced by Lorenzo Lewis to add his pace to Lancing’s right flank.
Whitstable maintained belief that they could get back in the game and in the 75th minute, after a cleverly worked short corner, forced Mitch to make an outstanding save. The ball was not fully cleared and Mitch, once again, proved to be Lancing’s saviour with an acrobatic leap to put the ball over the bar as it arrowed towards the net.
Whitstable were mounting a last-ditch effort to get level but were leaving themselves vulnerable to counter attacks from the fresh legs of Destiny and Lorenzo. Lorenzo’s direct run-on goal was halted with a perfectly timed tackle at the edge of the penalty area, and Destiny was close to scoring after a determined run. His shot struck the upright and the rebound hit a defender, almost ending with an own goal, but resulted in a corner.
To help resist Whitstable’s late surge Liam Hendy came on for Ansu. The back four had looked pretty impregnable and were able contain the threat throughout the closing stages.
Much relief when the final whistle blew and Lancing were able secure much needed three points. It was a fairly contested game with no really serious incidents of foul play, although referee Lewis Sandoe, who had controlled the game well, did award yellow card to two Whitstable players. Lancing created the greater amount of scoring chances and looked more dangerous going forward than they had in previous games. It was an all-round good team performance, which made it difficult when the committee debated their MOM selection. Several names were in the frame. Bradley, for an excellent goal, Conrad for a very mature and steady game, and others who all made valuable contributions to the first win. However, we came to the conclusion that it was Mitch we had to thank for enabling us to keep a clean sheet and secure the points, with two saves late in the second half of shots which would certainly have ended up in the back of the net. So, Mitch’s final game for a couple of weeks sees him as our MOM.
It was good to hear the joyful cheers from our supporters and to witness the look of relief on the faces of our players and management when the final whistle blew.
I cannot say too much at the moment but one of our highly regarded former players may be on his way back.