Dave Wilmott reports from Monday's disappointing defeat at Culver Road.
- Toussaint (62')
- Bird (75')
Lancing starting XI:
Alieu Secka, Harrison Parker, Liam Hendy, Joe Rye, Ashley Wadhams, Finn Daniels -Yeoman (Capt.), Kane Louis, Darius Goldsmith, Destiny Ojo, Matt Daniel, Lorenzo Lewis.
Will Berry, James Rhodes, Modou Jammeh, Gabe Robinson, Ismaila Diallo.
After picking up points from higher placed teams and giving Hastings a run for their money with a narrow one nil loss, Lancing were looking to put some distance between them and Phoenix, languishing 7 points behind occupying bottom place. But Phoenix had acquitted themselves well in recent games, beating Burgess Hill 5-2, and drawing with VCD Athletic and Hythe Town.
Phoenix meant business from the off and Alieu Secka was called into action saving at his near post after 2 minutes. Destiny Ojo got in an early effort on goal, the ball rebounding to Kane Louis whose volley was deflected for a corner. On the other wing, Lorenzo Lewis reached the bye line, delivering a low cross, safely gathered by keeper Steve Phillips.
Phoenix came close again with a corner taken by Steve Carvell curling in towards the goal, which had Alieu Secka at full stretch to make a fingertip save just below the cross bar.
Another corner had Lancing under threat as the ball was only half cleared where it was met with a first-time volley from Maliki Toussaint which missed the target. Lancing were most dangerous along their right flank with Harrison Parker attacking from deep with pace. Phoenix were conceding a number of throw ins. Harrison Parker was having a big influence with his powerful long throw forcing Phoenix to play safety first putting the ball behind for a series of corners. But Lancing were unable to turn this to their advantage as the visitors’ defence held firm.
Lorenzo Lewis showed good skill on the ball, turning away from his marker and feeding Matt Daniel who showed good control to create space to advance goal-wards until being fouled at the edge of the box. Lorenzo Lewis’s dead ball kick went high.
Phoenix were inches away from taking the lead on 25 minutes but timely action by Liam Hendy prevented the ball from crossing the goal line with Alieu Secka stranded.
Chaka Barnett was next to test Alieu Secka with a low drive which Alieu was able to turn around the upright. Alieu then blotted his copy book mishitting a clearance straight to Josh Dorling who failed to spot the empty goal and wasted a good opportunity.
There were openings at both ends. Finn Daniels-Yeoman finished a determined run to the bye line with a cross to Matt Daniel but Matt got underneath the ball which flew over the cross bar.
Lancing were again indebted to Alieu Secka making another good save on 36 minutes, with Akokunle Doedoyen closing in on him, and shortly afterwards he rose well to punch the ball clear from a corner. In the process there was a coming together with Josh Dorling who sustained a hip injury, forcing him to be helped off to be replaced by Alfie Evans.
Harrison Parker continued to drive forward, laying the ball off to Destiny Ojo but his effort curling towards the goal fell into the waiting arms of Steve Phillips. Harrison finished the half having to chase back towards his goal to try and recover the ball when his pass out had been intercepted. Andre
Thompson -Fearon was able get his shot away before being caught by Harrison but failed to hit the target. The half time whistle then blew and this was Harrison’s last involvement as he appeared to suffer a chest complaint and, after some concern about his wellbeing, he was helped off.
Will Berry was his replacement for the second half slotting into midfield with Darius Goldsmith taking Harrison’s place at right back
Henry Douglas broke forward from deep and brought another good save from Alieu. Secka. Phoenix enjoyed a good spell in the opening stages of the second half forcing an early corner, which Alieu punched well clear. This was followed by him at full stretch turning a low drive from Steve Carvell behind for a corner.
Ashley Wadhams found some space on the left and arrowed a cross to the far post which came close to finding the net. Finn Daniels -Yeoman, set up by Lorenzo Lewis, brought a good save from Steve Phillips.
With 62 minutes on the clock, Phoenix finally got the better of Alieu Secka when Maliki Toussaint latched onto a header cleared from the Lancing box. It dropped perfectly for him to hit a first-time volley into the net.
A few minutes later, Lancing made a double substitution, Ismaila Diallo and Gabe Robinson coming on for Destiny Oji and Kane Louis.
Byron Walker came on for Steve Carvell on 73 minutes and barely two minutes later Phoenix defender Lee Bird got his head to a corner to open up a two-goal lead. The visitors made their final change with Andre Thompson-Fearon giving way to George Whitlock
Phoenix got the ball across the line again but, after some confusion, the “goal “was disallowed, possibly for a foul on Alieu Secka. Following this incident Ismaila Diallo earned himself a yellow card on 86 minutes.
The second goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of Lancing and Phoenix were able to hold out and secure three points.
Assessing Lancing’s performance brings to mind the saying “After the Lord Mayor’s Show……..” There was a definite dip in Lancing’s energy and commitment, understandable in a way after the effort they had put into Hastings game. Disappointment etched on the faces of players and managers (and supporters). Phoenix were trailing Lancing by 7 points prior to kick off and, instead of Lancing opening up a gap of 10 points and drawing nearer to those hovering just above them, Phoenix were able to close the gap to four points, leaving Lancing one place of the bottom.
The committee were once again impressed with the safe handling and vital saves made by Alieu Secka and for the second successive game selected him as their MOM.
It is to be hoped that this was a one-off drop-in Lancing’s form, which, hitherto, had been impressive.