Dave Wilmott reports from Monday's festive fixture at Culver Road.
Lancing Starting XI:
Alieu Secka , Harrison Parker, Joe Rye, Liam Hendy, Mahamadou Juwara, Finn Daniels-Yeoman (capt.), Darius Goldsmith, Kane Louis, Gabriel Robinson, Matt Daniel, Lewis Lorenzo.
Destiny Ojo, James Rhodes, William Berry, Sisimayi Ngezvashe, Ismaila Diallo.
Lancing were facing another tough challenge after their successful visit to league leaders Cray Valley with a home encounter against Chichester City, whose record leading up to this fixture showed three successive victories, including taking three points from highly placed Ashford United. Their last 8 league games boasted 6 wins ,1 draw and one defeat. The home game against Lancing, way back at the end of August, saw them overpower Lancing by 4-0. Lancing were well in the game at half time, despite trailing 1-0, but a two-goal blitz around the 60-minute mark from centre forward Scott Jones put paid to any hopes of getting back in the game.
Prior to the kick off a presentation of an engraved hip flask and Lancing team shirt signed by team mates was made by Vice Chairman Barry Sutton and committee member Dave Wilmott to Liam Hendy, as a tribute to his achievement of having reached 250 games for Lancing.
The game began at a high tempo with Chichester’s confidence evident as they tried to put Lancing under early pressure. A mishit clearance by Alieu Secka provided Chichester with their first opportunity to get the ball into the Lancing box but Lancing were able to clear the danger. A couple of minutes later, Alieu Secka had to show bravery getting down to block an effort from Callum Overton and to react quickly to get hold of the ball as it ran away. Overton came off the worst as both players collided on the ground and he needed some lengthy treatment before he could continue.
Lancing were soon showing a belief in their own ability to match Chichester’s attacking flair. A superb long ball from Joe Rye was anticipated by Finn Daniels-Yeoman, who was just able to reach the ball as it headed towards the bye line, but the tight angle only enabled him to strike the ball into the side netting.
Liam Hendy initiated a good move feeding a pass to Matt Daniel, who set Gabriel Robinson on a run towards the bye-line but Gabe was muscled off the ball. Matt was finding space well and was picked out by Darius Goldsmith and was again able to switch the ball to Gabriel Robinson whose trickery with the ball earned him a corner on Lancing’s right.
Chichester continued to threaten with the speed of their inter passing and it needed Joe Rye to cut out a goal bound effort with a fine block. Lorenzo Lewis’ pace and strength on the ball was a weapon on which Lancing were trying to capitalise. Lorenzo looked about to burst clear on the half way line until felled by a foul tackle. There was plenty of pace on Lancing’s left flank with Mo Juwara providing excellent support for Lorenzo. This combination led to a cross into the path of Darius Goldsmith, who’s first time side foot shot on goal flew over the bar.
Good scoring opportunities came in quick succession for Chichester. A deep cross from the left was nodded back into the path of Benjamin Mendoza-Sharman who fired too high, and, after what looked suspiciously like a push in the back on Liam Hendy, Chichester broke forward sending a cross into the path of Kaleem Haitham but again the finishing let the visitors down.
Lorenzo Lewis was again making a speedy dash towards the Chichester box, having run onto a precise long ball from Harrison Parker, when he appeared to have been upended but not seen as a foul. On just over the half hour mark Lorenzo demonstrated the power in his right boot unleashing an absolute thunderbolt, which had keeper Kieran Magee well beaten, but the ball cannoned off the cross bar taking a downward trajectory towards the goal line. From their positions it was impossible for the officials to see whether the ball had crossed the line. Finn Daniels-Yeoman was close to reaching the ball as it rebounded into play but not close enough to make contact. (Post- match chats with both camera men, in a good position to see, suggested that the ball had crossed the goal line and a couple of fair-minded Chichester players backed this up)
On 34 minutes the first, and only, yellow card of the game was dished out to Kane Louis, who had marred an influential performance in Lancing’s midfield with a couple of fouls in a space of a few minutes.
Both sides continued to create chances. Darius Goldsmith worked himself some space on the edge of the Chichester box to set up Gabe Robinson who tried to curl a left foot shot towards the far corner but it was well read by keeper Magee.
Chichester wasted two more good chances as half time approached, the best of which fell to Ethan Prichard, unmarked only a few yards from goal, but his volleyed effort not only cleared the bar but the protective fence as well, landing in a neighbouring back garden.
Chichester continued where they left off as the second half got under way with Benjamin Mendoza -Sharman putting his shot wide when in a good position and soon afterwards a flowing move between Lorenzo Lewis and Mo Juwara brought Kane Louis into play and he laid the ball off to Lorenzo whose effort on goal looked to be heading into the far top corner until veering just off target at the last minute.
Lancing made their first substitution on 60 minutes with the power of Will Berry replacing the subtle ball play of Kane Louis.
Robert Hutchings exploited some space on Chichester’s left flank but was unable to deliver a telling cross. Darius Goldsmith turned creator again providing a pass for Lorenzo Lewis in the box whose effort came close. It was Lorenzo’s turn to be creator, showing good control at the edge of the box, after Finn Daniel’s -Yeoman had won possession, providing Matt Daniel with space to get a shot on target but this was comfortably saved by Magee.
Lorenzo Lewis had put in a tremendous effort on Lancing’s left wing before giving way to the experience of James Rhodes on 68 minutes.
Chichester continued to create chances but were found lacking in front of goal, this time Ethan Prichard heading over from close range. Chichester’s passing had been accurate and disciplined for most of the game, but a rare miss-placed pass was seized upon by James Rhodes who set Gabriel Robinson in on goal but his effort was deflected for a corner.
On 71 minutes Tyrone Madhani replaced Ethan Prichard for Chichester and two minutes later Scott Jones came on for Kaleem Haitham. Lancing made their final substitution with Ismaila Diallo coming on for Gabriel Robinson for the final 12 minutes of normal time.
Lancing finished the final stages strongly, typified by Harrison Parker who had been a real force for Lancing breaking up attacks and powering forward. One such run with 40 minutes gone saw Harrison galloping forward, passing to Matt Daniel continuing his run and receiving the ball back before hitting a hard low cross into the six-yard box. Ismaila Diallo made a valiant effort to stretch and make contact, which probably would have seen the ball hit the back of the net. But he was inches away from the ball.
Chances continued to fall Chichester’s way but, firstly Tyrone Madhani, side footed the ball over the bar and, later, Emmett Dunn put a header wide. In between Mo Juwara burst forward on Lancing’s left, fed an early pass to Matt Daniel who spotted Ismaila Diallo racing clear into the opposition half but a promising move was halted as Ismaila had timed his run marginally too soon and was flagged off side. The final word from Lancing came from the indefatigable Harrison Parker, who showed great energy to get forward in the dying minutes down the right, before cutting inside to unleash a left foot drive which was so close to giving Lancing a late winner.
A crowd of 326 were treated to a well, fairly, contested and competitive game with plenty of goalmouth activity despite the lack of goals. There was much (mostly good natured) banter from the rival sets of supporters creating a lively atmosphere. Chichester created the greater number of scoring opportunities and must be ruing how wasteful they had been, but apart from having to deal with some high balls into the box from corners and crosses, Alieu Secka had few difficult saves to make. The same could be said of Kieran Magee.
But Lancing came closest to scoring with two efforts from Lewis Lorenzo and one from Harrison Parker. Lewis’ block buster was worthy of giving his side three points. No blame could be apportioned to referee Sean Phillips and his assistant for failing to see that the ball had crossed the line. Lorenzo’s effort came out of the blue from distance and had struck the cross bar in an instant. Also, if Ismaila had legs had been a few inches longer, he might have put Harrison’s cross over the line. Setting aside the possibility that Lorenzo’s shot had crossed the line, it would be difficult to argue that a draw was not a fair result.
Further evidence from this performance that Lancing are continuing to make progress from early days in this league. The defence is looking well organised and very capable. The experience of Liam Hendy and Will Berry and the calm, composed play from young Joe Rye , supported by two powerful full backs in Mo Juwara and Harrison Parker are making Lancing difficult to beat.
There can be few players harder working than captain Finn Daniels-Yeoman with solid backing from Will Berry, when deployed in midfield, and Darius Goldsmith. Providing balance are Kane Louis and James Rhodes , both of whom display excellent ball control and can ensure that Lancing keep possession.
There has been an improvement in the forward department with pace and control on the flanks from Lorenzo Lewis, Gabriel Robinson, Destiny Ojo and the intelligent play from Matt Daniel is helping to create openings. Ismaila Diallo has shown that he can get goals and it is to be hoped that more will follow. The squad is strengthened with the likes of Bradley Campbell-Francis, Mo Zabadne, Ashley Wadhams , Anesu Sisimayi, Clayton Garner who are all able to step in when needed.
The team clearly respond to good crowd support and we can only hope that more people will come along to support Lancing on a regular basis.
Discussion of MOM took place in a cheerful atmosphere post-match. The names of Joe Rye and Lorenzo Lewis were thrown into the ring. A case could be made every game for Finn Daniels-Yeoman but the standout nominee from committee, management and some observers was Harrison Parker. A real powerhouse, solid in the tackle, good use of the ball, hard to stop when running at defenders and late in the game still full of energy creating a good cross for Ismaila and almost hitting a winner.