Lancing starting XI :
Mitch Bromage, Mohamed Zabadne, Harrison Parker, Finn Daniels-Yeoman (capt.), Joe Rye, Liam Hendy, Lorenzo Lewis, Will Berry, Bradley Campbell-Francis, James Rhodes, Matt Daniel.
Clayton Garner, Destiny Ojo, Ahmed Hassan, Louis Evans, Darius Armstrong
Lancing made one change from the starting XI which faced East Grinstead with Bradley Campbell- Francis coming in for Kane Louis. There was also a return for Darius Goldsmith with a place on the bench. Their visitors, Faversham Town were level on points with Lancing but had two games in hand and a superior goal difference.
There was good vocal support for Lancing, despite the disappointing crowd attendance, with the Ultras and Liam and friends in good voice. This helped to create a good atmosphere. But the game was rather humdrum. There was no lack of effort as both sides worked hard to try and create openings but defences were in commanding form. Neither goalkeeper was tested in the first half. Lancing struggled to make any real progress in the opposing final third, despite the midfield of Finn Daniels-Yeoman, Will Berry and James Rhodes enjoying good spells of possession. Lancing were being forced to play keep ball in their own half as they tried to probe for openings.
Faversham possessed a potent weapon in the shape of a long throw expert who was able to reach well into the Lancing box from distance. Lancing defenders coped well with the danger this posed and also with long punts forward.
Faversham were forced to try their luck from distance but shots were well wide of the target. Lancing tried to mix things up with Liam Hendy and Joe Rye hitting long balls for Lorenzo and Bradley but they were mostly cut out by the Faversham defence or were over hit.
A promising strong run from the half way line by Harrison Parker ended in frustration as he was fouled near the bye line. Lorenzo Lewis also looked to be heading forward into the final third but another foul, earning a yellow card for the culprit, brought that to nought.
Matt Daniel came closest to getting a shot on target on 36 minutes, controlling the ball on his chest and hitting an overhead volley goal wards but he was a little too close to the goal line and the ball dropped harmlessly onto the top netting.
Joe Rye, who had shown a calmness and maturity, for someone so young, had made some important clearances and positioned himself intelligently on the goal line when Mitch Bromage was drawn from goal to attempt a clearance after Lancing had lost possession in a dangerous area. Mitch was beaten to the ball but Joe Rye saved the day.
Benedict Bioletti was making life difficult for Mohd Zabadne and this led to Mo being yellow carded for bringing his opponent down.
The breakthrough came for Lancing in the 52 nd minute. Lorenzo had been put in the clear on the left by Liam Hendy and his cross fell perfectly onto the head of Matt Daniel, who guided the ball out of reach of keeper Watkins, to put his side in front.
Emmanuel Oluwasemo caused some consternation in the home defence with a fine cross to the far post but Mo Zabadne was able to get underneath it and put the ball high over the bar. Lancing were being pushed back for a while after taking the lead but the defence, supported by Will Berry and Finn Daniels -Yeoman, were standing firm. Mo and Harrison Parker collided in mid-air as they both attempted a headed clearance. Worryingly, it was evident that there had been a clash of heads. Both players were lying prone for a while whilst physios attended to them. Harrison was quickest to his feet but Mo was down for several minutes before recovering sufficiently to be helped from the pitch. His game was over and Darius Goldsmith came on at right back.
Liam was still aiming some searching long balls and one found Matt Daniel who finished the move with a good effort on goal which was well saved by Watkins.
On 60 minutes Lorenzo Lewis had been unable to recover from an injury and was replaced by Destiny Ojo.
On 73 minutes, James Rhodes, who had shown that he was getting nearer to full fitness, was replaced by Louis Evans.
Shortly afterwards, Mitch Bromage had his first real shot on target to deal with, using his feet to prevent Faversham from drawing level. Play was end to end in the latter stages and Lancing looked to have a great chance to extend their lead on 76 minutes. Bradley Campbell-Francis did well to win possession deep in the Faversham half and sprinted clear of the defence. With only the keeper to beat Bradley lost composure hitting the ball well clear of the bar.
Louis Evans had looked busy since coming on and what looked a fairly innocuous challenge from what I could see resulted in him receiving a yellow card. The unfortunate victim was Lewis Chambers and it was clear from the difficulty he had trying to hobble from the pitch that he had been badly injured.
With the game within 3 minutes of the end of normal time Joe Ryan, who had played so well, was attempting to usher the ball out of play on the bye line, but the persistence of D’jean Spencer paid off as he was able to pinch the ball as it was about to roll out of play, and fire home into the far corner from an acute angle.
This gave the visitors a lift and Lancing were being pegged back. Will Berry had dropped back to support the defence and made a couple of vital blocks and interceptions. A header by Faversham from another long throw was glanced wide. Some errors were creeping into Lancing’s play as the game ran into 11 minutes of added time (brought about mainly through injuries to Mo Zabadne and Lewis Chambers). Twice Faversham took advantage by getting in goal attempts, firstly with an attempt to lob Mitch, which was clear of the cross bar and finally with a drive wide of the upright.
There was a sense of relief when the final whistle blew with Lancing holding on to secure a point.
A more entertaining second half with Faversham finishing strongly after having been gifted their equaliser. Much sympathy for Joe Rye, who would have been a strong candidate for MOM, had it not been for his one error which, unfortunately, had a significant outcome. I have always believed that you become a better player having made an error from which you learn an important lesson. I have no doubt that Joe will bounce back from this.
A difficult decision, but the Three Wise Men on the committee on hand to decide, opted for Will Berry, as MOM, narrowly edging Finn out. Both worked their socks off from start to finish.
A post script about the unfortunate incident after the final whistle. Janet, wife of Ron, (both loyal Lancing supporters) had a nasty fall when descending the steps from the stand. Many thanks to those who rallied round to her assistance including Physios from both teams and Shane, for taking control. When I left Janet seemed to have overcome the worst, but a nasty shock for her.