Quite a challenge for Lancing coming up against Lewes who finished 7th in the Isthmian Premier. It soon became evident that there is quite a gulf between the lower region of the Isthmian South East division and the Premier. Nevertheless, it proved to be good test and one which the Lancing players did not shirk.
Lewes were quick out of the blocks and their rapid movement and interpassing forced Lancing into conceding a couple of early free kicks. It took barely 10 minutes for the visitors to get in front. Their number 16 got in behind Mo Juwara and delivered a cross to the near post which was turned in by Lewes number 8. Two minutes later Lewes no.19 mesmerised a small posse of Lancing defenders who were trying to close him down near the bye line, the result being a trip which the referee had an easy decision to make to award a penalty. No. 19 took the spot kick but Alieu Secka was to make the first of a number of outstanding saves, keeping the ball out with his outstretched leg.
Lewes were enjoying good spells of possession in the Lancing half and Alieu Secka did well to get his hands to a fierce ball into the six-yard box and push it behind for a corner. The corner was cleared but fell to a Lewes player who lashed the ball over the cross bar and out of the ground.
On 26 minutes Lewes got their second with a fine pass which carved Lancing’s defence open, leaving Lewes no. 6 to waltz through and score with a clinical finish. Alieu Secka once again came to his side’s rescue when a poor back pass was intercepted by Lewes no.19, who looked certain to score but for Alieu getting down on the ground to steal the ball from him. Alieu was put to the test again when Lewes no. 16 burst forward, recovered from a stumble and drove the ball high towards goal. Alieu reacted smartly to get one hand to the ball and tip it over the cross bar for a corner.
Lancing were unable to mount any serious threat on the Lewes goal but the front three of Reece Hallard, Lucius Veneti and Tyrone Madhani showed plenty of strength on the ball and were not easily dispossessed.
Reece Hallard seized on an advantage being allowed by the referee as he powered his way through a foul and broke down the left before trying to pick out Finn Daniels -Yeoman in support in the box. Unfortunately, the pass fell behind Finn.
The crowd rose again shortly afterwards to applaud Alieu Secka. Lewes no. 11 showed great close control as he beat a couple of Lancing defenders to get behind laying in a fine pass to no. 8 who hit the ball wide to Alieu’s left but the keeper once again was equal to it. However, on 36 minutes Lewes increased their lead to 3-0 when a poor clearance fell to no. 11 who punished Lancing for the error with a rocket of a shot.
Lancing had a couple of promising attacks towards the end of the half. Lucus Veneti made inroads into the Lewes half but was unable to get into a scoring position. Lancing’s best move saw Reece Hallard intercepting the ball in the Lewes half and hitting a superb pass to Tyrone Madhani, wide on the right. Reece continued his forward run as Tyrone delivered a cross to him at the far post. Although Reece managed to get his head to it it, the cross was just too high for him to keep the ball down.
The half came to an end with Alieu Secka saving at the feet of an onrushing attacker to deny an almost certain 4th goal. That was Alieu’s final contribution to a half in which he had excelled, as Connor Manderson came on to replace him for the second half. Lancing rang the changes at various stages in the second half. There were appearances by former players Ebou Jallow and Alberto Lubango back in the UK after playing professionally in Gibraltar. Marcel Powell, who had shown pace and skill when he came on against Newhaven and centre forward Jack Newhouse who converted the penalty in that game were also making a second appearance.
There were some promising early attacks from Lancing as the second half got underway. Reece Hallard brought a good save from the visiting keeper after a powerful run by Maria Tamale and Lucus Veneti came close to pulling one back for Lancing when a fine curling effort rebounded from the cross bar. Lancing offered more resistance with the benefit of fresh legs on a hot afternoon and there was some strong attacking play from Alberto Lubango, Maria Tamale and Marcell Powell. Lancing could not create any decent scoring opportunities but managed to keep the score at 3-0 until Lewes added a fourth on 65 minutes with a cleverly lofted ball over Connor Manderson, who had shown a safe pair of hands and sound distribution.
No one could really have expected Lancing to have come out on top against such a very accomplished team but there was a lot of honest endeavour and a good opportunity for managers to assess players in a competitive environment.
p.s. Apologies for the absence of Lewes players’ names but no team sheet is made available to me for friendlies and I was unable to find someone to provide information.