Lancing Starting XI:
Alieu Secka, Jake Legrange, Tom Butler, Marcus Allen, Mohammed Joumaa Zabadne, Finn Daniels-Yeomans (Capt.), Darius Goldsmith, Tyrone Madhani, Faris Khallouqi, Billy Fuller, Ashley Mutongerwa.
Ollie Starkey, Sean Stephenson, Marcus Powell, Ben Bayoko, Ben Hack.
No Louis Veneti in the Lancing line up after his injury, so in came Ashley Mutongerwa, back after injury, not in his accustomed defensive role, but showing his versatility by lining up as central striker. Tyrone Madhani also back so Marcel Powell made way for him. Otherwise, Alex and Dale kept faith with the team which put up such a good performance against Ramsgate, which included talented youngster Billy Fuller, on loan from Worthing.
Whitehawk had made a good start to the season with 3 wins and one draw. Their travelling supporters helped to boost the attendance with 288 present to enjoy the good atmosphere and a well contested match, with plenty of skill and excitement on display.
There was an early scare for Whitehawk when a careless back pass put keeper Luke Glover in difficulties, forcing him to make a hurried clearance which flew high, landing just outside the box before being despatched up field. Finn Daniels-Yeoman and Darius Goldsmith were winning the midfield battles and launching swift counter attacks. Ashley Mutongerwa made the first of several dangerous forays into the opposition box on 7 minutes but Luke Glover got down well to block his move on goal.
At the other end, a Whitehawk free kick caused momentary panic in the home defence. The ball had been played wide to the left before being hit back across the face of the goal to an unmarked player in a good position to shoot for goal from wide of the far upright. Relief all round when the offside flag was raised.
Ashley Mutongerwa was involved in most of Lancing’s early moves on the Hawks goal and showed good skill on the ball to set up Faris Khallouqi for a fierce strike, which struck a defender before going out for a corner.
Whitehawk were getting forward with a lot of menace and a superb block by Darius Goldsmith prevented a dangerous incursion into the home box.
Lancing’s back line had to be at their disciplined best to cope with the Hawks lively attack. The Hawks were trying to penetrate the Lancing defensive line with through balls from the back, along the ground but their central strikers were guilty of being caught offside.
Ashley Mutongerwa was winning most of his aerial duels and using his pace to good effect. Mo Zabadne made a quick interception on the left and picked out Ashley with a perfect pass putting him through on goal but the ball ran away from him before he could test Glover.
The back four were being tested but were responding with some superb ball winning tackles and, following the inspiring lead of Marcus Allen , were displaying composure in possession. Tom Butler brought off a well-timed tackle, bringing the ball out at pace before setting an attack in motion down the right.
Ashley Mutongerwa tried his luck when a ball dropped invitingly for him to hit a volley from 30 yards, which came close to dropping below the cross bar. There was plenty of energy and commitment on display from the front three of Fuller, Khallouqi and Mutongerwa which kept the Hawks defence busy. But what was lacking were efforts on goal.
The Hawks kept up their pressure on the home defence and came close to taking the lead on 39 minutes. A strong run down their left led to a cross to Stefan Wright on the far post, but he blasted his close-range drive into the side netting.
Darius Goldsmith and Finn Daniels-Yeoman were covering every blade of grass from box to box and twice, as the half time break approached , Darius won important challenges at the edge of the Lancing penalty area and quickly broke onto the offensive.
Lancing survived a late scare after a hotly disputed corner was awarded to The Hawks on their left. The corner led to the ball speeding across the face of goal, but Lancing were able to see off any serious threat.
Both sides made immediate substitutions for the second half. Faris Khallouqi , who had competed well on Lancing’s left wing, was replaced by another young talent, Ollie Starkey.
The half began promisingly for Lancing with Tyrone Madhani trying to force himself through into a shooting position but being blocked out for a corner. Lancing keeper Alieu Secka had had a fairly quiet first half but this could not be said of the second half.
His first of many vital saves came 10 minutes in, when he was almost caught out by a free kick but recovered well to hold on to the ball. Ollie Starkey delivered a great pass on the turn to Ashley Mutongerwa who broke clear down Lancing’s left flank. Ashley tried to find Tyrone Madhani on the right but overhit his cross.
Marcus Allen also tried to feed Tyrone on the right, executing a pin point pass over the full back. Tyrone made strides forward before hitting a cross to Ollie Starkey on the left.
Finn Daniels-Yeoman had the crowd on their feet with a good strike which hit the side netting.
Alieu Secka was Lancing’s saviour, bringing off a serious of fine saves. The first saw him punch a long
throw- in clear, followed by a save to keep out a powerful shot from the left. Then he had to stretch to prevent the ball from a corner reaching a Hawks head.
Play was end to end and some exciting ball control in the box by Billy Fuller had the home supporters crying out “shoot” but the Hawks defence smothered him and despite his twisting and turning he could not find the space to get a strike on goal.
The Hawks hit a fine long ball over Mo Zabadne but Alieu Secka was alert, racing from his line to hit the ball clear.
On 68 minutes Lancing made their second substitution. Tyrone Madhani appeared to be struggling after picking up an injury and his place was taken by Sean Stephenson. He quickly teamed up with the enterprising Jake LeGrange as they both endeavoured to get forward and back up the attack.
Alieu Secka was again called upon to prevent a low drive to his upright going in.
Jake Le Grange, who had shown superb timing with his tackles and interceptions, made a fine break making inroads into the final third before passing to Ashley Mutongerwa, whose cross was cut out for a corner.
The game became stretched as it entered the final 10 minutes of normal time. Lancing looked to be vulnerable to a swift attacking run down their left but Billy Fuller, who had earlier been cautioned, chased back from the half way line, just managing to slide in to prevent a cross.
The Hawks were continuing to keep Alieu Secka busy as he held on to a low free kick, followed by diving low to parry the ball away from another shot on goal. The ball fell to a Hawks attacker but his shot was blocked. Finn Daniels-Yeoman and Darius Goldsmith kept up their intensity winning the ball and getting it forward with Ollie Starkey and Billy Fuller looking dangerous for Lancing.
Mo Zabadne received a caution as play went into added time. A minimum of 6 minutes had been indicated by the referee, which ended up running into 8 minutes. During this period Lancing had a glorious opportunity to snatch 3 points. Ollie Starkey had been fouled and a free kick awarded to Lancing. Darius Goldsmith ‘s dead ball kick was met a couple of yards from goal by Ashley Mutongerwa. With the goal at his mercy, he attempted to guide a header into the far corner but only succeeded in glancing it wide of the upright.
One final piece of safe handling by Alieu Secka was enough to see the game out and secure a valuable point for Lancing.
After a fairly even first half, in which Lancing carried a real threat with a solid back line and a midfield launching quick counter attacks, in terms of attempts on goal, The Hawks had the edge in the second half. Lancing’s back four, led by Marcus Allen, well supported by the rapidly improving Tom Butler and full backs Jake LeGrange and Mo Zabadne, held firm and prevented The Hawks from getting too close on goal. And that man Alieu Secka was, once again, in top form repelling everything that came his way. There were a number of promising breaks on goal by Lancing attackers in the first half, particularly from Ashley Mutongerwa but there was no end product to cause Luke Glover any major concern.
Lancing did show, as they did against top teams Beckenham and Ramsgate that they can give them a good run for their money. If Lancing can start finding the back of the net, the excellent defensive unit will help them to secure the points needed to move them up the table. As things stand, they lie in 15th place, level on points with Haywards Heath, but with an inferior goal difference. Whitehawk occupy third spot.
Another headache for the committee members present in choosing an MOM. Any one of the back four, Darius and Finn were outstanding and Alieu once again in magnificent form. In the end there was a small majority for Marcus Allen, described most appropriately by Barry Sutton as “imperious” …..a perfect description.