When the Lancing starting XI lined up it was clear proof that managers Alex Walsh and Dale Hurley had been working hard to recruit potential new players to replace those who had moved on, as there was not one player who finished last season in the Lancing squad. And of the seven players on the bench there was only captain Finn Daniels-Yeoman. Management were giving possible new signings the opportunity to demonstrate their credentials.
A solid core from last season still remains, such as Alieu Secka, Mo Zabadne, Darius Goldsmith and Finn Daniels-Yeoman, who will have picked up valuable experience from last season’s first foray into the Isthmian League.
This turned out to be a well contested friendly and both sides can draw some measure of satisfaction from their respective performances. It is fair to say that the score line was not an accurate reflection of the how the game panned out. Lancing created the greater number of good scoring opportunities and it was a combination of a couple of poor finishes and the outstanding form of Loxwood keeper Fraser Trigwell which denied Lancing a more substantial lead.
Lancing did not have things all their own way as Loxwood worked very hard to put pressure on the Lancing players and close them down quickly. It could not be said that it was against the run of play when Loxwood went in front a little over 7 minutes from the start. The ball was played in from their left to Devon Fender, who had space and time to pick his spot and plant the ball in the bottom right corner of the Lancing goal, out of reach of keeper Connor Manderson.
Lancing had their first shot on target a couple of minutes later, with a low strike from Marcell Powell which Fraser Trigwell was able to gather at the foot of his upright.
Josh Gould was in the unfamiliar role of left back and from this position he made a couple of superb long-range passes from the left touchline to Tyrone Madhani on the opposite flank.
Lancing were gradually imposing themselves on the game and some clever interplay between Josh Gould and Marcell Powell proved a chance for Tommy Boyle to hit a shot on the turn which was intercepted at the near post and put behind for a corner.
Tyrone Madhani came close to cancelling out Loxwood’s lead bursting forward to latch on to a fine through ball, but Trigwell was off his line quickly to push the ball wide for a corner. Marcus Allen rose well to the crossed corner to put a powerful header goalwards, only to see it rebound from the upright. Fortunately, his defensive partner, Ash Mutongerwa was in the right spot to hit the ball into the bottom corner, in an instant, to bring the sides level.
Minutes later Louis Veneti was put clear by a precise pass from Josh Gould and he looked certain to give Lancing the lead but his shot went narrowly wide. This was his last contribution as he sustained an ankle injury which caused him to be replaced by Finn Daniels – Yeoman.
Lancing were looking strong in midfield with Matia Tamale and Reece Hallard backed up by Finn Daniels-Yeoman having to work hard to control possession.
Matia showed his creative ability with a slide rule pass for Tommy Boyle to use his pace to run on to. Tommy rounded the keeper, resisted a suspicion of a foul and, as he was about to put the ball in the net, he was denied by an excellent sliding tackle.
Josh Gould was finding his passing range and accuracy and put the ball over the top for Marcel Powell to get in behind and deliver across from the left which cleared the penalty area and ran away to the right.
Lancing continued to create scoring opportunities as the second half got under way. Charlie Yates made way for Clyde, a centre back, with Ash Mutongerwa occupying the right back berth. This allowed him to get forward and hit a fierce close-range drive, which flew wide of the angle between upright and cross bar. Next it was the turn of sub. Jack Newhouse, latching on to a fine pass from Finn Daniels-Yeoman, to test keeper Trigwell, who once again proved equal to the task, making another good save.
Shortly afterwards Trigwell came close to blotting his copy book with what might well have earned him a red card, if this were not a friendly. Tommy Boyle used his pace and power to bustle his way past a couple of defenders. Trigwell came rushing out of his box bringing Boyle down. We were rather hoping that the referee would show some clemency, rather than possibly spoil the game with a sending off, and he duly did by showing a yellow card.
Trigwell was again called upon to keep his side level, pulling off an excellent save from a Matia Tamale free kick. Tommy Boyle was again on target, being first to a corner delivered to the near post, hooking the ball goalwards resulting in another corner. From this Marcus Allen had his effort on goal blocked.
There followed a rare threat on the Lancing goal from a swift breakaway but Connor Manderson got down to make a fine save.
Jack Newhouse caused some havoc in the Loxwood goal following an attacking run down the left. The keeper was again in the right place to block a couple of close-range efforts after the ball had been hit into the box. There was a bit of a scramble before the ball was cleared.
Clayton Garner had come on in the second half and he and Tommy Boyle combined well on Lancing’s right, giving Tommy another effort on target which Trigwell dealt with comfortably.
With the game entering the final ten minutes Lancing broke quickly down the left, ending with a cross which reached sub.Farris Khallouqui, who did well to control a high ball and fire it into the roof of the net to give his side the lead.
Lancing finished on the front foot with Tommy Boyle and Reece Harland linking well and getting into dangerous attacking positions, from which each delivered a powerful cross along the six-yard box but no one was able to get on the end of either.
Lancing were deserved winners but Loxwood certainly showed real determination to make life difficult for their opponent.