Lancing Starting XI:
Alieu Secka, Mahamadou Juwara, Will Berry, Liam Hendy (capt.), Harrison Parker Isaiah Corrie, Darius Goldsmith, Modou Jammeh, Matt Daniel, James Rhodes, Lorenzo Lewis.
Substitutes: Gabriel Robinson, Kane Louis, Mohamed Joumaa Zabadne, Danny Kingston, Matt Evans.
When these two sides last met, it was a game of high drama, which included an early red card for ex Lancing keeper, Taylor Seymour, a penalty save by Alieu Secka and a last-minute stunning free kick from another ex-Lancing favourite, ex skipper and sensational goal scorer, Lew Finney, which earned his side a draw. At that point in the season, Lancing were three points ahead of Town, although Town had two games in hand. But since then, they have advanced steadily up the table and, prior to this game, were 19 points better off than Lancing.
After this game, Lancing would have 8 games left, four at home and four away, three of the games being against the top three sides. So, the importance of three points today could not be understated. After the disappointment of the away loss to Faversham, Lancing were determined to reassert themselves, but would have to manage without midfield dynamo and inspirational skipper, Finn Daniels -Yeoman. Back in the starting line-up came exciting wide man Isaiah Corrie, with Mo Juwara replacing Mo Zabadne. Familiar faces in the Town’s line up were ex Lancers, Lew Finney, Josh Spinks, Conrad Honore and Nic D’Arienzo, but no Taylor Seymour on this occasion.
Special features of today’s local derby were the collection of donations towards the British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal and the presence of Bob Smytherman, newly appointed Town Crier for Lancing Parish, making his first public appearance.
Lancing kicked off facing a strong wind but began brightly, Lorenzo Lewis hitting the bye line and putting in a dangerous cross across the face of Town’s goal but even better was to come after only five minutes. Modou Jammeh delivered the ball wide to Isaiah Corrie who cut in from the right at pace and struck a fierce left foot which buried itself into the far corner to give Lancing an early lead.
But Burgess Hill hit back hard and had Lancing on the back foot for the next 25 minutes. Alieu Secka had to be at his most alert as the men in blue launched a series of attacks, particularly down their right flank with Martin Box making good progress and hitting balls into the Lancing box. Alieu was equal to everything which came his way, showing a safe pair of hands to hold on to any high balls caught by the wind and getting down well to block anything low. Only one blot on his copy book, when a mishit clearance struck Box on the back of his head as he was moving away from the penalty area. Fortunately, the rebound did not enter the net. Despite their dominance since going behind, Town put very few shots on target and solid defensive discipline, particularly from Will Berry and Liam Hendy helped the home side weather the storm.
Gradually Lancing managed to re-exert themselves before half time. Modou Jammeh was seeing more of the ball and Lorenzo Lewis made some strong runs towards the box, getting to the by-line on one occasion and delivering a good cross which gave Matt Daniel a scoring opportunity but he could not get a clean strike on goal and the ball was scrambled away. Mo Juwara hit a deep cross for Isaiah Corrie who was pushed over. The subsequent free kick was just too high for Will Berry to get his head to.
Town came out fired up for the second half and early pressure paid off with Lancing conceding a penalty on 49 minutes. Lewis Taylor made no mistake from the spot and it was game on. A second goal threatened but Alieu Secka did well, holding on to a well struck free kick. Lorenzo Lewis took it upon himself to try and get his side back in front, breaking into the box and hitting a low drive which keeper Will Huffer did well to get down to and parry the ball clear of the far upright. He followed this with a run and cross from the bye line pulling the ball back to create a good chance for Matt Daniel, but he stroked his shot wide from a couple of yards. There followed a spate of yellow cards within less than 10 minutes. First with a card, on 53 minutes, was Mo Juwara, followed immediately by Lorenzo Lewis and on 61 minutes Town’s Hayden Sherry joined them. Lancing maintained their attacking momentum, Mo Juwara reaching the bye line and winning a corner. Isaiah Corrie and Harrison Parker combined to get forward with Harrison ‘s cross being diverted for a corner. Lorenzo got into a shooting position but his goal bound effort was headed over the bar by a Town defender.
Lancing made their first substitution on 69 minutes with Gabriel Robinson replacing James Rhodes. Town made their first two substitutions at the same time with Michael Uwezu and Charles Towning coming on for Conrad Honore and Hayden Skerry.
Lew Finney had not shown much of his goal scoring prowess but he did have a good effort on 70 minutes which was a fraction too high. Lorenzo Lewis continued to be Lancing’s main hope of restoring their lead, after Matt Daniel had done well to win possession and set Lorenzo on a run towards the box until he was brought down. Had the foul been committed a couple feet further on, it would have resulted in a penalty. Lorenzo Lewis was only denied a goal from the free kick by a superb one handed save at full stretch by keeper Huffer.
On 82 minutes Town made their final substitution with Max Miller (whose penalty had been saved by Alieu Secka in the away game) coming on for Tom Chalaye. A minute later Josh Spinks became the second Burgess Hill player to receive a caution.
Lancing’s strong finish eventually paid off when Town gave away a penalty on 85 minutes which Mo Juwara confidently despatched. Lancing came close to increasing their lead when Lorenzo Lewis finished another determined run with a shot turned behind for a corner.
Lancing made their final substitutions on 89 and 90 minutes with Kane Louis and Mo Zabadne coming on for Isaiah Corrie and Matt Daniel. In between Charles Towning received Town’s third caution. With 5 minutes of added time to be played there was some tension in the ranks of the home team but the experience of Will Berry and Liam Hendy saw them hold out to secure 3 points.
A thoroughly deserved win against a good side, well placed in the table, a win which saw Lancing climb to 14th place, their highest position so far.
Good support by some loyal Hillians helped to boost the numbers to produce a good attendance and the atmosphere was lively and good natured.
A departure from normal MOM selection procedure resulted in four different MOMs. Committee MOM went to Alieu Secka, Matchday sponsor John Rea went for Liam Hendy, Match ball sponsor, John Tvrdy chose Lorenzo Lewis and my grandson Harrison went for Mo Juwara. All deserving in their own way, so well done. To illustrate the all-round good team performance, one of our regular supporters told me that Will Berry was his man.
A tough challenge ahead with an away trip to third placed Ramsgate. A coach is being made available so I hope we can create the right winning atmosphere on the way into deepest Kent.