Lancing Starting XI :
Alieu Secka, Darius Goldsmith, Joe Rye, Liam Hendy, Harrison Parker, Finn Daniels-Yeoman (Capt.), Bradley Campbell-Francis, Will Berry, Matt Daniel, Mark Goldson, Lorenzo Lewis.
James Rhodes, Ismailia Diallo, Gabriel Robinson, Ngezvashe Sisimayi, Conrad Honore.
328 spectators at the More Than Tyres Stadium were witness to some high drama from two sides lying close to each other in the table. Lancing had a three-point lead but the Hillians have two games in hand.
Added interest was provided by the presence of two players with recent experience of wearing the Lancing colours. Lew Finney, former skipper who reached 49 goals for Lancing in the 2019/20 season, which Covid prematurely ended, and Taylor Seymour, who left Lancing for a spell with Portsmouth. There were others who had represented Lancing, although not recently, including Josh Spinks.
In a sense, it was a tale of two goalkeepers. Lancing’s keeper Alieu Secka had shown patience in waiting for his opportunity, having stood in and performed exceptionally well, when Mitch Bromage was absent for a couple of games. But with Mitch having this week left to join his brother Tad at Three Bridges, Lancing were extremely thankful to have someone so capable to replace him.
The drama began as early as the eleventh minute, continued into added time at the end of the first half. But it was the 91-st minute when the drama really escalated. For one goalkeeper, an unhappy incident. Matt Daniel had broken clear and was advancing towards the home penalty area. Taylor Seymour came out to win the ball but appeared to have reached outside the area to get his hands on it. The referee, Alex Bradley, spotted the infringement and, having consulted with his assistant, issued a red card to Taylor. Harsh no doubt but a correct application of the laws of the game. So, on came sub.goalkeeper Tarek Elhadaoui and for the unfortunate Pat Harding that was game over as he had to make way for Elhadaoui.Lancing were unable to make the resultant free kick count.
Lancing were full of energy all over the pitch closing down their opposition quickly and using the pace of Lorenzo Lewis down the left and Bradley Campbell-Francis down the right. Terrific work rate in the middle from Will Berry, Mark Goldson and action man and skipper Finn Daniels-Yeoman. Composure in the centre of defence with the experience of Liam Hendy and the very promising young Joe Rye and two full backs, Harrison Parker and Darius Goldsmith, winning tackles and getting forward to support the attack.
Matt Daniel closed down keeper Elhadaoui forcing him to mishit his clearance, which was picked up by Mark Godson. He headed goal wards, unleashing a shot on target which brought a good save from the sub keeper.
The extra man was taking its toll on The Hillians but they were showing great determination to keep Lancing at bay. Bradley was getting forward well and getting crosses into the box. Matt was close to getting his head on one good cross to the near post.
For the hosts, Reggie Ward looked threatening with a strong burst down the right but his cross was over hit. On 29 minutes, Burgess Hill were gifted a shooting opportunity when a misplaced cross field pass from Lorenzo Lewis was intercepted by Michael Campbell but he failed to make the most of it, blazing his shot yards too high. Most of Lancing’s major threats came from Bradley down the right, but Lorenzo also proving to be a handful on the left.
Bradley was well positioned as a corner was cleared to put in a first-time effort heading for goal until being deflected away from goal by the outstretched leg of Mark Goldson. Lancing did get the ball in the net on 33 minutes. Liam Hendy got his head to a throw in from the right and flick it on towards the goal. The keeper appeared to lose possession. Will Berry was quick to react to force it over the line at the foot of the post only to have the ” goal “disallowed, presumably as referee determined that the keeper had possession before it was forced from him. Bradley was again the danger man capitalising on a misjudgement by the Town full back which allowed him to run clear. But a lack of composure resulted in the ball being hammered well clear of the cross bar. Once again, Lancing were looking the dominant team but lacked the killer instinct in the final third.
Alieu had not been seriously tested until right towards the end of the first half, when, after bringing off a good save he was called upon to face a penalty. Town had penetrated Lancing’s left flank, getting to the bye line. The ball was laid back for a Town forward who was brought down as he was about to shoot. Max Miller, with a good success record from the spot, stepped up to put his side ahead, much against the run of play. But the goal keeping drama continued as Alieu got down well to his right to keep the ball out.
Lancing continued where they left off as the second half began with more good work from Brad finishing a strong run with a cross which the keeper was unable to hold, conceding a corner. Matt Daniel then made good progress down the right picking out Mark Godson who headed on for Lorenzo Lewis to strike a good volley which was put behind for another corner. Bradley then had another effort on goal which came off a defender but was saved by keeper Elhadaoui.
On 54 minutes, Mark Godson and Lorenzo Lewis made way for Gabriel Robinson and new signing Ismaila Diallo.Ismaila, originally from the Brighton area has joined Lancing for a spell after periods with Arsenal and Burnley.
Elhadaoui was bravely down to smother the ball and prevent Will Berry from getting in a strike on goal. A goal for Lancing looked a certainty on 70 minutes, as Matt Daniel lobbed the keeper but the ball was cleared as it was about to cross the line. Two minutes later, Town took a shock lead through centre forward Michael Uwezu, latching on to a precise pass from Michel Campbell to side foot the ball home. Their lead was short lived, however, as Lancing drew level on 75 minutes. A deep cross from the right from Gabriel Robinson was headed back across goal by Will Berry to Matt Daniel who was on hand to nod the ball across the line. On 78 minutes, Conrad Honore made his return after completing his 3-match suspension, with the hard-working Bradley taking a well-earned rest. A minute later Lancing were in front. A free kick from the right fell kindly for new man Diallo who hammered home from close range. But Town were not ready to concede defeat and finished the game strongly with Charlie Kelly and Trey Masikini on for Connor Tighe and Max Miller. Lancing were having to defend with Alieu bringing off an important save with two players converging on him, both of whom ended up on the ground.
But the most dramatic moment was saved for the 91 st minute. Town were awarded a free kick just outside the box and who should step up to the plate, but the former Lancing favourite son Lew Finney. We committee members and Lancing supporters just looked at each other knowing what was to come. Lew did what Lew does and sent a stunning free kick like a rocket high into the net, giving Alieu no chance of stopping it, despite almost getting a hand to it.
Lancing were disappointed not to have secured all three points in another game which they should have won. They are doing so much right, defensively and in midfield, driven on by their skipper, Finn Daniels-Yeoman. If they can be more clinical in the final third, they will be able to turn draws into wins. With the addition of Ismail Diallo to the strike force, this might be the impetus needed.
For Burgess Hill Town, they could look on this result as a moral victory after having to play with ten men since the eleventh minute. It was written in the stars that Lew Finney would be their saviour.
Lots of good performances throughout the Lancing team, but the outstanding choice for MOM in a unanimous decision by the committee was ,once again, Finn Daniels-Yeoman. He was everywhere, showing boundless energy and fighting determination.
Finally, a thank you to Mitch Bromage. Sorry to see him join a rival team but he never let Lancing down and turned in some superb displays between the sticks.