Lancing Starting XI:
Conor Manderson, Jake LeGrange, Clayton Garner, Ashley Mutongerwa, Josh Gould, Finn Daniels-Yeomans (capt), Reece Hallard, Tyrone Madhani, Jack Newhouse, Louis Veneti, Tommy Boyle.
Alieu Secka, Marcel Powell, Mohamed Zabadne, Benjamin Hack, Tom Butler, Faris Khallouqi , Ben Bayoko.
Lancing were hoping to go at least one round better than last season, when they went out in the same first round, suffering a 4-0 home defeat to Haywards Heath. Roffey have progressed over the years through the West Sussex, Crawley and Mid Sussex Leagues to the SCFL and are now installed in the Premier Division, having been crowned League one champions for the 2021/22 season.
It was a new-look Lancing which took the field to kick off. Only Finn Daniels-Yeoman remained from the squad which saw out the end of the 2021/22 season, although both Josh Gould and Clayton Garner have played a number of games in the past.
The F.A cup is renowned for producing shock results and although, on paper, Lancing were expected to come through to the next round, an upset can be just around the corner.
With only 4 minutes on the clock an upset did not seem to be an unlikely possibility as Roffey hit the back of the net with a well-placed header. Joy for them was short lived as the offside flag had been raised. Roffey were certainly not overawed by the occasion and looked confident in the early stages but Lancing gradually took control playing the ball out with precision from the back. Ashley Mutongerwa and Clayton Garner developed a good partnership and had time and space to bring the ball out, switching it to supporting full backs, Jake Le Grange on the right and Josh Gould on the left.
Josh was using his ability to hit accurate passes from the left touch line to the right and this brought Tyrone Madhani in to play, using his pace and direct approach to get into good attacking positions. But, too often, the final pass from both attacks down the left and the right went astray and promising moves petered out. Roffey central defenders acquitted themselves well closing down Tommy Boyle and Louis Veneti whenever they got the ball in the box and threatened to get shots on target.
On 21 minutes, Tyrone latched onto a fine cross field ball from Josh Gould and made strides towards the box, only to be balked by a defender and being brought to ground. No offence was spotted by the referee Greig Walker.
Tommy Boyle came close on 23 minutes with a good first touch and a shot on the turn which just cleared the bar.
Lancing were dominating possession and getting into Roffey’s final third at will but an end product was lacking and keeper Jacob Bennett was not really tested. Tyrone Madhani was a real force on the right and another strong burst into the box saw him upended again but appeals for a penalty were waved away. As the first half came to a close, Tommy Boyle was able to give Jacob Bennett work to do and he brought off a good save.
It was backs to the wall for Roffey for most of the first half as they defended resolutely, but would their energy levels dip in the second half as Lancing’s superior fitness might begin to take effect.
Tommy Boyle was proving to be a handful in the opening stages of the second half but an early effort on goal lacked real power. With 5 minutes gone the breakthrough came for Lancing. A deep cross from the left from Jack Newhouse was met at the far post by Louis Veneti, who rose superbly to plant a header back across goal into the far corner to give his side a much-needed opener.
Four minutes later Louis Veneti won the ball near the halfway line, left his marker trailing in his wake and drove the ball home from inside the box.
This lead provided the opportunity to make the first substitution. Jack Newhouse, who had battled well on the left of an attacking trio, made way for the exciting Marcel Powell, who wasted no time in taking on his marker.
Tyrone Madhani and Jake Le Grange had combined well together, and they created the opportunity for Louis Veneti to achieve a hat trick on his competitive debut. Tyrone fed the ball to Jake Le Grange, whose cross found Louis Veneti , whose aerial ability once again produced a goal.
Job done for Jake, whose place was taken by Mo Zabadne, who immediately showed his usual energetic drive and enthusiasm. Roffey were being stretched by Marcel Powell on the left and Tyrone Madahani and Mo Zabadne on the right. It was one way traffic for most of the second half as Roffey were constantly being pegged back. Another fresh pair of legs only added to their difficulties as Faris Khallouqui came on for Louis Veneti for the last 15 minutes. He was to have the last word running on to a slide rule pass from Marcel Powell to finish with clinical precision to give Lancing a 4-0 victory, with a goal in the 49th minute.
So, an end result which reflected Lancing’s superiority and now East Grinstead stand in the way of further advancement, with a home encounter on 20th August, when we may find ourselves coming up against two former favourites, Matt Daniel and Harrison Parker.
Roffey are a young side but they showed plenty of spirit to hold Lancing at bay for 50 minutes. Our very knowledgeable supporter John Freemantle was quick to inform me that Roffey’s manager, Terry Eames was AFC Wimbledon’s first manager in 2002. I spoke to him who confirmed that to be true. Internet research will show his playing career at Crystal Palace and Wimbledon and his varied managerial career. With this experience at the helm, Roffey should be able to hold their own in the SCFL.
With three well taken goals, committee MOM left little room for debate. Louis Veneti was our choice but there was much praise for Ashley Mutongerwa, who hardly put a foot wrong, and for Finn Daniels-Yeoman, who bossed the centre of midfield.