Lancing Starting XI v Phoenix
Alieu, Mohamed Joumaa Zabadne, Mahamadou Juwara, Finn Daniels-Yeoman (Capt.), Harrison Parker, Liam Hendy, Lorenzo Lewis, Darius Goldsmith, Matt Daniel, Modou Jammeh, Andrew Dalhouse.
Substitutes: Matt Evans, Kane Louis, Bradley Campbell -Francis, Daniel Kingston, Isaiah Corrie.
Changes for the Hastings match: Will Berry in for Mahamadou Juwara, Isaiah Corrie for Lorenzo Lewis, Kane Louis for Andrew Dalhouse.
Substitutes for the Hastings: Mahamadou Juwara, Anesu Sisimayi, James Rhodes, Daniel Kingston, Matt Evans.
Two contrasting challenges faced Lancing over the Easter Weekend. An away fixture against fellow strugglers Phoenix Sports, lying three points behind them but with a superior goal difference, followed by a home fixture against newly crowned League Champions Hastings United. Phoenix took three points off Lancing earlier in the season with a 1-0 victory and Lancing suffered a narrow 1-0 loss away to Hastings.
A change of approach saw Andrew Dalhouse starting up front for the first time. Few chances were created with both sides looking a bit nervy, given what was at stake. Neither side could establish any real control, although there was a lot of honest graft and endeavour. With Will Berry unavailable, Harrison Parker slotted in alongside Liam Hendy and this proved to be a solid pairing as Lancing held Phoenix at bay. Andrew Dalhouse lasted 38 minutes before being forced to come off suffering from breathlessness after a recent illness. Shortly before his exit, he was picked out with a long throw by Mo Zabadne and came close with a header. Bradley Campbell-Francis was his replacement
On 44 minutes the deadlock was broken when Alfie Evans hit a superb volley from a cross from the right, making a perfect connection a couple of feet from the ground and falling sideways to fire an unstoppable shot into the top corner.
Second half chances came Lancing’s way with a Darius Goldsmith effort being cleared a few yards from the goal, a header from Harrison Parker narrowly over the bar, followed by a drive from Bradley Campbell-Francis and a strike by Modou Jammeh, neither of which troubled keeper Charlie Martin.
It was Martin who was to prove his side’s saviour pulling off an excellent save to deny Modou Jammeh. Modou let fly on 66 minutes with a left foot strike which appeared destined for the top corner until Charlie Martin appeared from nowhere and at full stretch reached the ball with his finger-tips to turn over for a corner. This was to prove the decisive moment in the second half. Lancing brought on Isaiah Corrie for Mo Zabadne and Danny Kingston for Mo Juwara in a bid for an equaliser but the closest Lancing came was an effort by Matt Daniel which was narrowly wide of the upright, after good refereeing which allowed advantage to be played.
Both Liam Hendy and Harrison Parker were in defiant mood keeping good control at the centre of the defence but Harrison Parker just edged it as the committee MOM. Another accomplished and dogged defensive display.
This result left Lancing teetering on the verge of relegation. What sort of team would Hastings United field? As anticipated, they took the opportunity to give some squad players a run out but, nevertheless, they still presented formidable opposition.
The Lancing players, the match officials and the mascots lined up in a guard of honour as the Hastings team were warmly greeted with applause from all sections.
Lancing were not overawed by the task facing them and began confidently. Liam Hendy had an early effort on goal well saved by keeper Louis Rogers. Kane Louis executed a clever lofted pass for Modou Jammeh but Rogers just pipped him to the ball. Isaiah Corrie was working hard on the wing and his pace got him into a couple of good scoring positions. His first effort lacked power and his second flew over the bar. Hastings were swift on the counter attack but their finishing was off target or well held by Alieu Secka. It only seemed a matter of time before they would make their forward breaks count and this happened on 29 minutes. A long searching ball into Lancing’s left back area had Harrison Parker back pedalling to get his head to it. His attempt to head the ball back to Alieu Secka ran over the line for a corner. Lancing seemed to have cleared the cross as it reached the six-yard box but it got as far as the edge of the penalty area where Ben Pope was poised. He met the ball with a first-time volley which found its way into the net past a mass of players.
Lancing tried to hit back and it was Isaiah Corrie again with an attempt on goal and this time it needed a good save from Rogers with an outstretched leg to keep the ball out. Hastings threatened to increase their lead as Tom Chalmers finished a powerful run down the right with a cross which Ben Pope headed over. A few minutes later, on 42 minutes, James Hull met a cross from the left with a powerful header which flew into the net to put Hastings 2 up.
The second half began with Isaiah Corrie making a couple of promising breaks down the right. From the second, he was able to set up Kane Louis whose shot was blocked. But Hastings were gradually exerting greater control and Alieu Sercka was in action getting down to cut out a ball played in to his near post, and stretching to reach a couple of dangerous crosses from corners.
Harrison Parker won a tussle for the ball and raced clear but failed to spot Modou supporting him in space and the move fizzled out.
Lancing made their first substitution on 55 minutes with Mo Juwara coming on for Kane Louis. About the same time Hastings replaced scorer Pope with Sam Hasler. Lancing were on the defensive for a spell with Alieu Secka making a couple more fine saves and Mo Zabadne making a good block cancelling out a cross.
Lancing came close to pulling one back when Modou Jammeh lifted the ball over the top for Matt Daniel and, as keeper Rogers came out to close him down, Matt lobbed him but it was difficult from his position close to the goal to get the ball up and down into the net and it dropped into the top netting.
On 67 minutes Hastings made their second substitution with Knory Scott coming on for Dave Martin. Immediately afterwards Anesu Sisimayi came on for Darius Goldsmith.
Matt Daniel was close to the goal again but before he could get a shot in Rogers got down to win possession.
Lancing’s final throw of the dice was to bring on James Rhodes for Mo Zabadne. The extra attacker helped Lancing to put the Hastings defence under pressure. Harrison Parker had an effort on goal deflected over for a corner and Finn Daniels-Yeoman brought a good save from Rogers. Hastings were able to take advantage of the number of players Lancing had committed forward and Alieu Secka twice came to Lancing’s rescue to prevent any further goals from counter attacks. The match finished with Lancing encamped in the opposition box but the ball would not run for them and their never say die spirit was not enough to earn them even a consolation goal.
With Whitehawk picking up a point from their Haywards Heath encounter, they are now out of reach with 36 points. Lancing now occupy 19th place on 33 points, shared with Phoenix who have a superior goal difference. Below them lies Whitstable on 30 points with a one goal inferior goal difference. Phoenix Sports host Herne Bay on the final day with Lancing away to Whitstable. Lancing need to pick up one point more than Phoenix to escape automatic relegation and give themselves hope in the play off to secure their place in the Isthmian League. There will be plenty of support for this final game and the Lancing players will not give up without a real fight, as they have shown so often this season.
Lancing picked up their first points with a 1-0 home win against Whitstable way back in September, thanks to a goal from Bradley Campbell-Francis. Several players in the team that day have since moved on. Mitch Bromage, Steve Metcalf, Conrad Honore, Ansu Janneh, and Tyreze Mthunzi. Lorenzo Lewis and Destiny Ojo made their first appearances as substitutes.
MOM selected by match sponsor John Rea went to Harrison Parker, who was also the committee choice, edging out Isaiah Corrie. A really solid performance, defensively and in attack. 100 % commitment.