The Pitching In Isthmian Football League Sat 22 January Hanbury Park
Haywards Heath

Lancing Starting XI:

Gregor Shaw, Joe Rye, Will Berry, Liam Hendy, Harrison Parker, Finn Daniels-Yeoman(capt.), James Rhodes, Darius Goldsmith, Modou Jammeh, Matt Daniel, Lorenzo Lewis.

Substitutes: Andrew Dalhouse, Ismaila Diallo, Ngezvashe (Anesu) Sisimayi, Gabriel Robinson, Bradley Campbell-Francis.


Lancing travelled to the Hanbury Stadium for the first time but for their third encounter with fourth

placed Haywards Heath this season. Their first meeting was way back in August in the F.A cup when Heath were clear winners by 4-0. They next met in the league in September when Lancing were just edged out by a solitary Heath goal.

The latest game was further evidence of the progress Lancing have made since their early shaky start to life in a higher league. It was clear for all to see, as they pushed Heath to the limit and might well have come away with three points, but for some excellent saves by giant keeper Billy Collings and the width of the upright.


With Alieu Secka recovering from the shoulder injury sustained in the dramatic end to the game against Whitehawk, when a controversial penalty award deprived Lancing of three points, Lancing management worked hard to recruit a replacement goal keeper, bringing in Gregor Shaw from National League team, Eastbourne Borough. After trials at Hull, Joe Rye was back in the starting line-up but at right back. There were starts for Matt Daniel and Modou Jammeh.


Heath began in earnest getting the ball forward at every opportunity. First effort on goal came from Heath’s Kieran Rowe receiving a cross from Jordy Ndozid, but placing his shot wide. Lancing showed some early nervousness with Gregor Shaw mishitting a clearance, but quickly recovering to clear the ball out for safety, and Liam Hendy sending a pass to the opposition, but again Lancing were able to recover and no damage was done.


Heath were hitting long balls towards the Lancing penalty area but Will Berry, Liam Hendy, Joe Rye and Harrison Parker were dominant in the air and any balls that were beyond them were safely held by Gregor Shaw.


Early pressure came from Heath with another effort on goal, this time from Cravid Dadigildo but Gregor Shaw was able to watch it go well clear of the cross bar.


After 15 minutes or so, Lancing began to gain a foothold and a swift break involving Lorenzo Lewis, James Rhodes and Matt Daniel culminated in Modou Jammeh being brought down. Darius Goldsmith then made good use of the the ball provided by Finn Daniels-Yeoman, before slipping it through to Lorenzo Lewis, bursting into the box but he was unable to make a good connection and Heath were not troubled.


Joe Rye showed once again how composed he is breaking from the back, latching on to a pass from James Rhodes and making an inroad into the penalty area until halted by a solid tackle. James Rhodes brought about a miskick by Collings, closing him down quickly. Joe Rye was in support, winning a corner after being played in by Rhodes. Lancing were enjoying a good spell as the game approached the half hour mark and some clever interplay between Lorenzo Lewis and Matt Daniel created a shooting opportunity for Matt just inside the box but keeper Collings was able to stretch his leg to keep the ball out.


Heath continued to deliver long high balls, particularly down their right side, but some were over hit, reaching Gregor Shaw and good aerial defending by the Lancing back four cleared any danger. Lorenzo Lewis showed again what a threat he can be beating his man with a clever pivot and using his pace to run at the defence.


The first booking of the game came on 40 minutes. Lorenzo Lewis and Jordy Ndozid both stretched for a loose ball. Lorenzo came off worse and Ndozid was deemed to have committed an over-the-top foul, earning himself a caution.


Heath finished the half with Josh Clark hitting a firm shot towards goal but it was always swerving wide. A minute before half time Thomas Cadman broke through from left back and buried the ball in the far corner, only for him to have been flagged offside.


Straight after the restart, a smart finish by Josh Clack flew narrowly wide. Modou Jammeh had been busy throughout, and his good close control and quick darting movement created problems for Heath. His speed of movement allowed him to get in behind Heath’s central defenders to get on the end of a superb pass from Matt Daniel but the huge presence of keeper Collings prevented him from getting his shot anywhere near the goal.  Jammeh and Matt Daniel were forging a good partnership and Modou turned well to lay on a chance for Matt but he stroked the ball just wide. Lorenzo Lewis continued to make driving runs forward and this proved too much for centre back Nathan Cooper who halted Lewis’ run by pulling him back, for which he received a caution. Harrison Parker managed to get his head to the resultant free kick but could only glance the the ball wide.


A change of approach saw Matt Daniel, who had led the line really well, being replaced by Gabriel Robinson on 61 minutes. Shortly afterwards, a fine pass from James Rhodes put Lorenzo Lewis in on goal and, from some way out of the box, he let fly with what would have been an outstanding finish but for the acrobatics of keeper Collings, who managed to keep the ball out, diving at full stretch to his left.


On 63 minutes, Heath replaced Josh Clark with Trey Masikini and a minute later Trevor McCreadie made way for former Lancing striker Liam Benson.


Lancing’s danger man Lorenzo Lewis finished another direct run towards goal by providing Modou Jammeh with another opportunity to give Lancing the lead, but for a second time he was denied by keeper Collings who was off his line quickly to smother Modou’s attempt.


At the other end Joe Rye had to be alert to get down and block what would have been a dangerous cross into the Lancing box.


On 71 minutes, recent signing Andrew Dalhouse came on for James Rhodes, who again demonstrated that there is a lot of football left in him. With the physical presence of Andrew drawing defenders to him, Modou Jammeh enjoyed a bit more freedom and he was able to find free space to turn and cleverly set up Lorenzo Lewis who hit another screamer from further out than his previous effort. This time keeper Collings was rooted to the spot, beaten by the pace of the ball, but the upright denied Lorenzo what might well have been the winner, with a little over 15 minutes left.


Lorenzo Lewis had picked up an injury and so Brad Campbell-Francis came on for him. With 10 minutes to go, Sinn Christie limped off with an injury with Ben Holden coming on. Heath found some late energy and applied more pressure on the Lancing defence but Gregor Shaw cleared one dangerous cross with a good punch clear, Harrison Parker raced back to defend and clear the ball and a great tackle by Liam Hendy kept Heath at bay.


Despite being forced onto the defensive in the final minutes, Lancing still created another scoring opportunity which fell to Finn Daniels-Yeoman, but he cleared the cross bar. The final goal effort came from Liam Benson whose close-range effort just failed to hit the target.


A good number of Lancing committee members and supporters, including a fair number of our younger followers, The Ultras (whose presence our players really appreciate, going to applaud them after the final whistle) were present in a gate of 412. The general consensus was that Lancing produced most of the quality football. Heath certainly put Lancing to a stern test for passages in the first half, but I have no record of Gregor Shaw having to make any real saves. Plenty of action, yes, plucking balls from the air and making clearances but that was it.


The second half belonged to Lancing. Matt Daniel and Modou Jammeh had two scoring chances each. Lorenzo came closest to finding the net with his two excellent strikes and Finn also had a good effort which just cleared the bar. Fortunately, the late goal hoodoo did not strike and Lancing were able to keep a clean sheet, thanks to some solid defensive performances and a hard-working midfield.


Post-match discussion turned to the committee MOM selection, with some supporters joining in and we were unanimous in the view that we could not single one player out for special praise, because that would be unfair to the rest of the team. Every single player was worthy of being MOM, so it is a collective award this week.


If you were a visitor from Mars who landed at this game you would not have believed that one team was one from bottom and the other fourth from top.

Finally, some praise for the match officials, referee F.Hallam, and assistants T.Lathey and S Crowhurst who handled the game extremely well, in my opinion.


Dave Wilmott