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“Lancing have adjusted to life at a higher level and have tightened up defensively, but are still finding it difficult to score”

Dave Wilmott reports on Saturday's 1-0 loss to Sittingbourne, in what was our first reverse fixture of the season.

Lancing
0
Sittingbourne
1
Sat 11 Dec, 2021 The Pitching In Isthmian Football League

Lancing Starting XI:

Alieu Secka, Harrison Parker, Joe Rye, Liam Hendy, Mahamadou Juwara, Finn Daniels-Yeoman (Capt.) Will Berry, Bradley Campbell-Francis, Ismaila Diallo, James Rhodes, Mark Goldson,

Substitutes:

Matt Daniel, Ashley Wadhams, Mohamed Joumaa Zabadne, Anesu Sisimayi Ngezvashe, Kane Louis.

 

This was the first reverse fixture of the season, as Lancing travelled to Sittingbourne on 14 August for their baptism in the Isthmian League. On that day, one player was in outstanding form for the Brickies. New signing Ahmad Abdullah demolished Lancing with a superb display of finishing completing a hat trick in the first half and providing the assist for Sittingbourne’s fourth goal in the second half.

After conceding four goals in each of their opening 4 games Lancing have adjusted to life at a higher level and have tightened up defensively, but are still finding it difficult to score.

This fixture showed how far Lancing have progressed since the opening day as they dominated the first half and could easily have led by three or possibly four goals by half time.

Their first goal attempt came on 5 minutes. Mark Goldson and Ismaila Diallo linked up well to provide Finn Daniels-Yeoman with an opportunity to bear down on the Sittingbourne goal but Finn screwed his short wide of the upright. A nicely flighted ball over the top of the visitors back line was met by Ismaila bursting through but his shot was well saved by keeper Harry Brooks. Lancing were playing some good possession football with Mark Goldson and James Rhodes showing some good close control to complement the work rate of Will Berry and Finn Daniels-Yeoman. Mark and Bradley Campbell-Francis were providing strong support to Lancing’s full backs who were being tested with some long balls hit by Sittingbourne from deep. Both Harrison Parker and Mo Juwara were proving difficult get past. Harrison was a constant force for Lancing on the right.

Another chance fell to Finn when some great skill from James Rhodes saw him turn away from his marker and pick out Finn at the edge of the visitors box. Finn did well to create space for a clear shot at goal but his effort cleared the cross bar.

At the other end Sittingbourne’s giant of a centre forward, Duane Ofori -Acheampong needed careful watching but Joe Rye and Liam Hendy were in commanding form. It was Liam who next had a good effort on goal, breaking forward from the back and trying his luck from distance. A swerving shot veered past the upright at the last moment.

Liam appeared to be fouled from behind as he was caught unawares bringing the ball out, but nothing was given and this allowed Sittingbourne to break into the Lancing box. A lucky escape in the end as Lancing were able to hold firm.

Yet another opportunity came Lancing’s way. Some good defending by Mark Goldson, winning possession deep on Lancing’s left, led to him setting Mo Juwara on a run down the right. MO found Ismaila Diallo who seemed to have time to get his shot away from close range. Ismaila dallied on the ball, twisted and turned trying to hold on to it and create space to shoot but he was quickly surrounded by a posse of defenders and the chance was lost.

Sittingbourne showed some of their attacking threat as the half progressed and both Joe Rye and Liam Hendy had to be alert to clear some dangerous balls into the box. Liam did well to intercept a cross and set Mark Goldson in on goal but his effort did not trouble Harry Brooks. Sittingbourne’s Johan Candy-Bryan executed a spectacular overhead kick but Alieu Secka coped easily. The Brickies were raising their game as the half ended and Bradley Campbell-Francis was called into action to chase back to halt a strong run on the Lancing goal.

Final action of the half almost produced a Lancing goal. A good ball into the box saw Finn Daniels-Yeoman and goalkeeper Harry Brooks both challenging for a high ball. Finn was able to nod it backwards where Mark Goldson met it with a volley which he was unable to keep down.

Sittingbourne came out with a bit more determination in the second half. Lancing were forced to defend early on as Candy -Bryan had two good heading opportunities. The first was put wide when he had a free header, the second was well held by Alieu Secka. Secka was then Lancing’s saviour coming quickly off his line to smother a good effort from Ofori-Acheampong.

Alex Flisher replaced Candy-Brian on 61 minutes and 5 minutes later Lancing fell behind. An attacking move from Lancing on the right broke down and a familiar pattern followed. The ball was quickly switched to Lancing’s left and a cross fired into the box. It appeared to veer upwards off a Lancing defender and, as bad luck would have it, it dropped on to the head of Ofori-Acheampong who had the simplest of tasks to nod the ball over the line from a yard or so.

Lancing made substitutions, with Matt Daniel replacing James Rhodes a minute later. Lancing showed their never say die attitude and continued to search for the elusive goal. A bit of a scramble in the Brickies penalty area, from a Lancing corner, came to nothing. Joe Rye, who had once again impressed with his composure under pressure, received an injury which forced him off on 77 minutes, Anesu Sisimayi replacing him in midfield with Will Berry dropping back alongside Liam Hendy.

Mo Juwara finished off a powerful run driving the ball towards the near post where Brooks was able to put the ball behind for a corner.

On 85 minutes the player that had such an influence on the away game, Ahmed Abdullah stood down for Harry Stannard. A measure of Lancing’s improvement since the opening fixture was that they had managed to keep Abdullah quiet, hardly posing any real threat. Try as they might Lancing’s late bid for an equaliser ended in failure.

Once again, a frustrating afternoon for players, management and supporters. Lancing had done enough to have put the game to bed in the first half, but the longer the game went on, the more likely that the opposition would find a way to sneak a winner. A shade of misfortune, which provided the only clear opportunity for the visitors to get the winner, only served to add to the sense of injustice.

The committee debated the performances of the Lancing players. Again, good performances all round, the only failing being the ability to take advantage of good scoring opportunities. MOM selection was narrowed down, with some difficulty, to Mark Goldson, Alieu Secka and Harrison Parker, the latter edging it by majority.

A tough league challenge ahead as Lancing travel to table topping Cray Valley on 18 December, who won 4-2 at Culver Road back in August.

Dave Wilmott