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“Relief at drawing level and ecstasy at taking the lead late on”

A 7-goal thriller and great game to watch for the crowd, Dave Wilmott reports on Saturday's 4-3 victory at home to Three Bridges.

Lancing
  • Daniel (6', 77')
  • Rhodes (28')
  • Lewis (88')
4
Three Bridges
  • Brackpool (38', 68')
  • O'Neill (65')
3
Sat 29 Jan, 2022 The Pitching In Isthmian Football League

Lancing Starting XI:

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

Substitutes:

Anesu Sisimayi, Mahamadou Juwara, Destiny Ojo, Gabe Robinson, Mohamed Joumaa Zabadne.

 

A rare sight to see the Lancing starting line up the same for the second week running. Last time these two sides met, on 4th September, Mitch Bromage was doing his best to prevent Three Bridges from scoring and he almost succeeded, but for a late penalty, conceded by Clayton Garner, which was enough to give Three Bridges three points. Only two of Lancing’s current starters were starters at Jubilee Field, Matt Daniel and Finn Daniels-Yeoman. Mitch Bromage switched clubs a few weeks later, joining brother Tad at Three Bridges. This defeat meant that Lancing were pointless at the bottom of the table but, since then, they have amassed 22 points and now lie in 19th place, one above the bottom, but only three points separate Lancing from Faversham in 14th place and Three Bridges lie in 13 th place on 27 points.

 

There is not much between the clubs at the lower end of the table, which was why three points from today’s game was so vital. With Sevenoaks next on the agenda, three points from this game would place Lancing above them by 1 point, although Sevenoaks do have a game in hand.

 

Speaking to some of the players before kick-off, it was clear that they fully appreciated that three points had to come from today’s game and they soon demonstrated that they were committed to achieving this by taking the lead after only 6 minutes. Harrison Parker broke from the back and delivered a perfectly weighted pass for Lorenzo Lewis to get on the end of and use his pace to get to the bye line before hitting a cross which reached Matt Daniel who was able to apply the finishing touch from close in. Confidence was high after a good start and Lancing were playing some fast-attacking football. Matt Daniel got his head to across from the right but put the ball wide. Modou Jammeh was lively and his tricky movement with the ball took him past a couple of players before he was brought down with a trip. Harrison Parker was a real powerhouse making forward runs from left back and showing good control to get into the opposition final third.

 

Three Bridges were trying to get in behind the Lancing back four with some direct play hitting long balls over the top but the Lancing back four of Rye,Berry,Hendy and Parker were in dominant form and were not troubled unduly. When Bridges did show some good approach work, their final pass was wasteful.

Modou Jammeh once again showed clever footwork to get into a shooting position but picked out the supporting Darius Goldsmith to his right, who fired in a low drive which flew past the far upright. Lancing came close to a second on 26 minutes in a good move initiated by James Rhodes, continued by Matt Daniel, teeing up Lorenzo Lewis, whose strike from the edge of the box was narrowly too high. Lorenzo, backed up by Harrison Parker, was proving to be a real handful for the Bridges defence and was frequently on the receiving end of some foul play. Lancing were a real threat going forward with the pace of Lorenzo Lewis, the trickery of Modou Jammeh and the intelligent play of Matt Daniel and James Rhodes.

Finn Daniels-Yeoman won possession near the half way line, sent the ball out wide to Lorenzo Lewis who made progress along the left before setting up Modou Jammeh, but he spurned a a chance to aim a shot towards the target, choosing to slip the ball wide to Matt Daniel, who was closed down before he could get a shot away. Sustained pressure by Lancing eventually paid dividends on 28 minutes when James Rhodes cleverly opened up the visitors’ defence before a cool finish from him saw the ball nestle low in the far corner.

 

Lancing looked in control at this point and there was a sense of frustration in the Bridges ranks, culminating in a yellow card for Brandon O’Neill, for a late over the top tackle on Darius Godsmith. Lorenzo Lewis continued to use his ability to turn inside and beat his man, but, once again, was felled illegally, earning Michael Wilson a dressing down from referee Derrick Laing.

Just when it looked that Lancing would coast to a half time 2-0 lead, Bridges took advantage of a soft free kick, to give themselves a lift on 37 minutes, Ryan Blackpool rising well to find space in the six-yard box and plant a header into the net.

Lancing were not thrown out of their rhythm by this and Lorenzo Lewis went on another strong run towards the visitor’s goal only to be tripped after leaving his marker for dead. As halftime drew near Harrison Parker, who had been unstoppable motoring forward, won possession, cleverly,  deep in the Lancing final third, hitting a fine pass to Matt Daniel who, in turn, fed the ball to Lorenzo and from him it went onto Modou Jammeh who again got into a threatening position until dispossessed.

Something of a blow for Lancing occurred three minutes into the second half, when the impressive Joe Rye was forced off with an injury, but with Mo Juwara back from overseas and able to come on at left back, with Harrison Parker switching to the other side, Lancing remained strong defensively.

The goal before half time had a positive effect on Bridges who enjoyed a good spell as the second half moved on but Lorenzo was once again brought down with a foul early on.

Bridges came close to drawing level when a free kick was headed clear from the Lancing defence with the ball falling nicely for Michael Wilson to respond with a snap volley which just cleared the bar. Bridges made a double substitution on 51 minutes, Ben Aubrey and Callum Chesworth replacing Ben Bacon and Cameron Lawson.

 

Lancing responded with their first substitution on 62 minutes, Destiny Ojo coming on for James Rhodes. Barely three minutes later, Dan Ferreira (I am reliably informed by a Three Bridges source that the Isthmian League have incorrectly attributed  this to Brannon O’Neil) hit a firm drive beyond Gregor Shaw to cancel out Lancing’s lead. Lancing barely had time to recover from this before they found themselves behind. Lancing were on a counter attack down their left when they lost the ball which ran to Ryan Blackpool and without a moment’s hesitation, he launched it high in the air from inside his own half, over Gregor Shaw, off his line and not expecting to have to defend his goal, when his side were on the attack, and into the unguarded goal. It has been described in common parlance as a “worldie “. I would like to think that this was a calculated piece of football excellence, rather than a lucky punt upfield. Perhaps I should have sought out the scorer after the game and obtained a quote from him. Might have been interesting !!

So, from a comfortable 2-0 lead Lancing now had a mountain to climb, but one thing about this Lancing team is that they fight to the bitter end. Spurred on by terrific vocal support with the Ultras pitching in as well, Lancing set about a comeback. Main attacking weapon, Lorenzo Lewis was yet again brought to the ground illegally. He took the resultant free kick and Destiny Ojo came close to getting on the end of it on the far post.

Mitch Bromage then earned the referee’s displeasure and a yellow card for what, presumably, was seen as “time wasting”

 

Harrison Parker, no shrinking violet when it comes to physical contact, got involved in a tussle on the touchline, and being already on a yellow card and, discretion being the better part of valour, was wisely withdrawn, much to his disgust.

This provided the opportunity to bring on another skilful attacking player, Gabriel Robinson for the last 15 minutes. Destiny showed that he can get forward at pace and hit the bye line before hitting a low cross to Matt Daniel who has the striker’s knack of being in the right place at the right time, and was able to bring the sides level again with a straightforward tap in.

The home supporters were in full cry urging their team on and this worked, as Lorenzo Lewis showed excellent control to weave himself into a position from which he could find a pathway through a packed defence to stroke the ball low into the far corner. There was jubilation from the Lancing players and supporters but the game was not over. Two minutes of normal time remained. Lancing have too often stumbled at the final hurdle but this was to be their day and they defended as if their lives depended on it.

With a minute into added time on the clock, there was a rumpus in the Lancing penalty area. From my, less than clear, viewpoint, it appeared that a Lancing player was on the ground, having been fouled. At least one Three Bridges player was trying to haul him to his feet, which the player (and I think this must have been Lorenzo Lewis) was resisting. Once the throng of jostling players was separated, the referee awarded Lancing a free kick but, somewhat inexplicably, dismissed Lorenzo Lewis with a red card. Suggestion from some quarters was that the referee had concluded that a punch had been thrown.

A further 5 minutes or so was played before we could all relax with three points in the bag.

 

We Lancing supporters experienced a gamut of emotions. Delight at being a goal up so early and being two ahead in less than 30 minutes. Slight deflation at conceding a goal before half time, anxiety at Bridges drawing level and despair when a “freak” goal puts Bridges ahead. Relief at drawing level and ecstasy at taking the lead late on.

A good game for me to be match sponsor (against a club where I enjoyed several successful seasons, including once being voted players’ player until a serious injury meant it was difficult to maintain my previous standard and had to drop down a level), with my guests Jamie and wife Joan pleased to see such a good Lancing performance. The usual committee MOM selection was put to one side as I was invited to be the MOM selector. Partly influenced by Jamie, I opted for Harrison Parker who was an absolute tower of strength, defensively and breaking forward. I will overlook his tantrum when being substituted.

I have to acknowledge that Lorenzo Lewis had an outstanding game and one of my Three Bridges friends made him his MOM. So, Lorenzo enjoy the recognition from an opposing supporter.

Very regrettable that the game should end on a sour note for such a determined and skilful player, one we will miss. Fortunately, we have excellent players in the wings who are capable of stepping into his shoes and doing well.

 

Dave Wilmott