It only seems like only yesterday but 9 weeks have passed since the dramatic finale to the 2021/22 season, which saw Lancing survive for a second season in the Isthmian League, with a 2-1 victory over Newhaven.
The sides came together again at Culver Road for Lancing’s first pre-season friendly. Much less at stake on this occasion, but, nevertheless important for the new Lancing management pairing of Alex Walsh and Dale Hurley to see how some new players would slot in to replace Matt Daniel, Harrison Parker, Liam Hendy and Will Berry who haveleft for new challenges elsewhere.
The Lancing starting line -up included some tried and tested players, Lieu Secka in goal, full backs Mo Zabadne and Mo Juwara, midfield dynamo and captain, Finn Daniels-Yeoman and Kane Louis as central striker, looking to concentrate on playing, having stood down from his management role. Another familiar face was Josh Gould. New signings were included, midfielder George Mc Carthy and wide forward Reece Hallard, occupying the left flank.
What follows is just a brief account of the match. Lancing divided the match into two halves with a completely new eleven playing for the second half.
It was a dream start for Kane Louis who put his side ahead with a clever back heel with only 5 minutes gone. Newhaven danger man Lee Robinson put in a threatening cross into the six-yard area but alert defending saw the ball being put behind for a corner. A Newhaven head got on the end of the cross from the corner but the effort was off target. Lancing then paid the penalty for allowing Lee Robinson to exploit acres of space on the right and deliver a pin point cross into the box. A fierce header struck the cross bar but rebounded to Hanley Ambler who hit the ball across the line to level the scores on 14 minutes.
Mo Zabadne was prominent for Lancing on the right flank and there was some strong attacking play from Mo Juwara and Reece Hallard on Lancing’s left. Hallard showed an ability to switch the play from his left flank to pick out a Lancing player on the far touchline.
Lancing looked comfortable at the back and there was some controlled build up with defenders bringing the ball out. Half chances fell to both sides but neither goal keeper was seriously tested as the first half came to an end. Newhaven came close to going in front on 45 minutes with a shot from the edge of the box which was deflected onto the cross bar and behind for a corner which Lancing were able to clear.
With barely a minute of the second half on the clock Lancing were back in front with a successful penalty conversion from no.9 Jack Newhouse. Lancing were on the front foot early in the second half with Marcell Powell showing speed and trickery on the left. Two or three times he got into an advanced position and set up scoring opportunities but Lancing were unable to take advantage.
Newhaven drew level again on 64minutes with Lee Robinson being provided with an easy tap in from a couple of yards. Newhaven were enjoying the better of the second half and took the lead on 78 minutes when Tom Underwood seized on a missed clearance in the Lancing penalty area which gave him time to create space for a good finish. Newhaven threatened to go further ahead as the half progressed but, although coming close, could not find sufficient accuracy to find the net. Lancing came close to drawing level shortly before full time when Marcel Powell fired in a fierce drive which the Newhaven keeper could only parry clear to a waiting Lancing player whose snap volley flew narrowly too high.
Newhaven, as expected, provided a stern challenge for Lancing. The game was played in a good spirit and there was enough decent football to entertain a crowd of 109.