Lancing Starting XI:
Conor Manderson, Jake LeGrange, Tom Butler, Marcus Allen, Mohamed JoumaaZabadne, Finn Daniels- Yeoman (Capt.), Darius Goldsmith, Tyrone Madhani, Louis Veneti, Matia Tamale, Oliver Starkey.
Sean Stephenson, Clayton Garner, Marcel Powell, Ben Bayoko, Faris Khallouqi.
it was back to league action for Lancing after the disappointing exit from the F.A cup, suffering a 4-1 home defeat at the hands of East Grinstead, for whom ex Lancer Matt Daniel scored twice. With only one point to show from their first two league matches, Lancing were eager to put more points on the board. Honours were even in last season’s encounters with Bridges. A late penalty secured the points for Bridges at Jubilee Field but Lancing won an exciting return fixture, netting a late winner in a 4-3 victory.
Some enforced changes, brought about by the absence of Ashley Mutongerwa, Reece Hallard and Tommy Boyle, provided starting opportunities for Tom Butler at centre back and new loanee from Worthing F.C, Oliver Starkey.
Bridges had picked up three league points with a win over VCD Athletic and were enjoying a successful F.A. Cup run, disposing of Whitstable Town and Deal Town to reach the first qualifying round, where they will meet Erith Town.
The first opportunity to get in front fell to Lancing with Matia Tamale providing a cross for Louis Veneti but his header was off target. With just under 10 minutes gone Lancing suffered an early set back, when Oliver Starkey sustained an ankle injury, which brought his Lancing debut to a premature end. On came Sean Stephenson for his debut.
A minute or so later Lancing paid the penalty for conceding a free kick in a dangerous position. The ball was delivered to the far post where Tad Bromage was able to get the better of keeper Conor Manderson and put Bridges one up.
Bridges Noel Leighton was close to the edge with some of his tackles and early decisive action was taken by referee Andy Dunn, who issued him with the first caution of the game for reckless play.
Another injury worry befell Lancing when Marcus Allen sustained a head injury, from which, fortunately, he recovered.
There was a fairly frenetic start to the game with not much free flowing football. Both sides were giving 100% and not shirking challenges. But this led to some verbal exchanges and aggressive responses to fouls. This led to a caution on 25 minutes for Louis Veneti for his reaction to being fouled.
Noel Leighton was again pushing his luck and was given a dressing down by referee Dunn, which could easily have earned a second yellow.
Lancing came close to an equaliser when ex Lancing keeper, Mitch Bromage failed to get his hands to a Lancing free kick. The ball was lobbed back towards the goal, but Mitch’s brother Tad was alert enough to head the ball from under the cross bar and see it drop into the top netting.
Matia Tamale was proving to be Lancing’s main weapon and his determined play was getting him into some threatening positions. One fine forward run got him close to the bye line and his low driven cross invited a finishing touch, but the ball ran clear of everyone across the six-yard box.
Another strong surging run down the right by Matia ended with him receiving a caution. Inhis eagerness to reach the ball, which was running away from him, he slid in with two feet which the referee saw as reckless play.
Conor Manderson had not been greatly troubled since the early goal was conceded but, on 42 minutes, he had to react quickly to keep out a close-range effort on goal and make a second save to recover the ball as it ran loose.
With half time approaching, Lancing once again were punished for conceding a free kick, just outside the box. The dead ball was delivered to the far post, where Noel Leighton met it with a stooping header which found the bottom corner of the net.
There then followed a delay in the restart as referee Andy Dunn found it necessary to speak to some players and the managers.
No immediate changes for Lancing as the second half resumed. They came out determined to try and breakdown a resolute Bridges defence well marshalled by Tad Bromage. An early cross into the box had Mitch Bromage in difficulties under challenge from Louis Veneti, causing him to lose the ball. A team mate was on hand to clear .
The game had been high on fouls but low on quality with both sides showing a competitive edge veering close to falling the wrong side of legality. Further evidence of this manifested itself when Bridges’ Kevin Rivera-Zamerno was cautioned for reckless play. And, shortly afterwards, there was a distinct possibility that the first red card would be dished out. Louis Veneti wasmaking a beeline towards the goal only to be brought down by Billy Irving. To most of us, this looked like an obvious case of a clear goal scoring opportunity being denied. Another touch and Louis would surely have fired on goal. Only a yellow card for reckless play. Andy Dunn considered that a defender was in position to prevent the opportunity to score. Lancing put Bridges under pressure from the free kick but they were able to scramble the ball away from the goal area.
With 25 minutes left Lancing brought on Marcel Powell for Jake LeGrange. Thishelped to boost Lancing’s attacking strength on the left flank. Louis Veneti did well to get forward and deliver the ball towards goal, only for it to be deflected for a corner. From the corner the ball reached Finn Daniels-Yeoman who was able to put in a low drive,narrowly wide of the upright. Lancing made their final substitution on 73 minutes by bringing on Ben Bayoko for Tyrone Madhani.
However, this was all to no avail as, on 78 minutes, Bridges counter attacked down the right and a precise pass into the box was prodded home by Kevin Rivera-Zamerno . Lancing faced an impossible task to get something from the game but Marcel Powell was keen to show what he had to offer and made a couple of powerful breaks into the heart of Bridges defence. One ended with a shot, which was blocked and another provided FInn Daniels-Yeoman with a shooting opportunity but his effort curled wide. Darius Goldsmith had the last word for Lancing winning possession and finishing with a strong effort which flew past the upright.
So, Lancing came away empty handed. The players could not be faulted for effort but there was no real threat on the Bridges goal. Both defences were generally able to cope with what threat there was. Tom Butler acquitted himself well alongside the very capable Marcus Allen and Mo Zabadne wastigerish in the tackle as usual. Tad Bromage proved himself, once again to be a pillar of strength for Bridges and brother Mitch made very few handling errors.
Bridges were combative all over the pitch and did everything they could to disrupt and unsettle Lancing leading to some distraction and dissent.
The small committee group present thought that Mo Zabadne and Matia Tamale were in the frame for their MOM, but, by a slender margin, the vote went to Matia.
No need to panic. We are at the early stages with a largely new team and there are plenty of grounds for optimism.