Dave Wilmott reports.
- Sarfo (84')
Lancing Starting XI
Alieu Secka, Harrison Parker, Mahamadou Juwara, Finn Daniels-Yeoman (Capt.), Joe Rye, Conrad Honore, James Rhodes, Will Berry, Matt Daniel, Ismaila Diallo, Bradley Campbell-Francis.
Liam Hendy, Gabe Robinson, Clayton Garner, Anesu Sisimayi, Darius Goldsmith.
Lancing are making good use of their squad, which allowed them to rest some of the players who competed so well on Tuesday against Midhurst and Easbourne. So, Harrison Parker and Mo Juwara in at full backs, Conrad Honore partnering Joe Rye at centre back and Ismaila Diallo as central striker.
It would have been highly optimistic to have expected a game full of high quality with a gale force wind blowing from west to east bringing with it a biting cold. Who would want to be a goalkeeper facing a swirling wind making the flight of the ball so unpredictable.
Lancing began with the wind at their backs and soon the players set about trying to make the best of it. The early exchanges were fairly even as both sides tried to adjust to the conditions with the first chances coming for the hosts. On five minutes a dangerous cross from Conrad Honore was caught by the wind and ended in the arms of Hythe keeper, Henry Newcombe. This was followed two minutes later when a strong run from Harrison Parker provided Ismaila Daillo with the opportunity to put in a cross to Finn Daniels-Yeomans who hooked the ball over the bar. Hythe had their first opportunity on ten minutes as Tyler Sterling sent in a free kick across the face of goal but there was no one on hand to convert and then he fired a shot high over the bar.
Newcombe was then to make two excellent saves that kept the scores level. Firstly, a cross from Diallo found James Rhodes forcing the keeper to save to his right and then he tipped over from a dipping shot from Harrison Parker. Hythe had to make a substitution on 29 minutes as Tom Walmsley left the field due to what appears to be a nasty knee injury and was replaced by Sarfo who was unlucky not to give the Cannons the lead after 32 minutes as he was played in by Alex Brown with his attempt to slide the ball past Lancing keeper Alieu Secka with the ball slamming against the post. As the game moved towards half time there was one more chance for the Lancing, as Matt Daniel broke in, but Newcombe was on hand to scramble the ball away with Jarred Trespaderne making a timely challenge to prevent Daniel following through.
Hythe had quickly realised the futility of trying to hit long balls in behind in such windy conditions and resorted to some neat and tidy short passing. Lancing were frustrated by the wind carrying the ball further than intended.
The second half started with Hythe on the front foot as both Nathan Gordon and Sarfo in quick succession having chances with the ball finally being cleared away. 10 minutes into the half, The Cannons centre backstamp Wyntner had to leave the field to be replaced by Bradley Schafer. As the half progressed, Lancing were increasing the pressure with a rasping shot from Daniels-Yeomans, the best of the game, stinging the hands of Newcombe as he saved well. Finn was again threatening with a shot, which appeared to strike one of his own players on the six-yard line and rebound clear.
On 72 minutes Lancing made a double substitution, with James Rhodes and Bradley Campbell-Francis being replaced by Gabe Robinson and Liam Hendy. Hendy went into the back four with Conrad Honore moving into midfield. Joe Rye had more than once advanced majestically from the back making rapid strides into the opposition half and on 74 minutes put in a superb cross from deep which was just out of the reach of Matt Daniel. However, the game went into the last fifteen minutes it was Hythe who began to take the initiative as Alex Flisher forced a save from Alieu Secka from a free kick. This was quickly followed by Alieu having to race outside his area to head clear Sarfo tried to lob the keeper but it didn’t quite have the height and Alieu was able to quickly get back to his goal line to safely gather the ball
With six minutes to go Sarfo got the goal that was to give the Cannons the win. Conrad had made rapid strides forward and tried to open up the Cannons defence with a through ball but it was intercepted and, from this, The Cannons launched a swift counter attack. Sarfo picked up the ball and placed his shot neatly in the corner of the net with Alieu only able to get a slight touch, not enough to keep it out. Mo Juwara tried to penetrate down Lancing’s left but he was unable to deliver a cross to a Lancing player in position to strike on goal.
Disappointment etched on the faces of the Lancing players. They coped with the conditions as best they could but, once again, goals proved elusive and they were undone by a late winner. They could not be faulted for effort but they just did not have the rub of the green. They created more scoring chances than their visitors but could not find the finishing touch. Certainly, the home supporters were appreciative of how hard their team had battled.
It is ironic that the winner should be scored by a player who had been on the point of joining Canterbury City a week ago.
Thanks to those intrepid 95 people who braved the cold and wind to attend the game, and to Hythe Town’s match reporter whose report assisted me in preparing this. My hands were so cold that I could not grip my pen to write as many clearly legible notes as usual.
As to MOM, only a small number of committee members on hand to select. The majority opted for Matt Daniel, whose ability to hold on to the ball in difficult conditions and to get himself in good scoring situations stood out. There was also praise for Joe Rye, col calm and collected.