With only one win and one draw under their belt so far this season, Corinthian languish at the bottom of the table but, if you think that a win for Lancing was going to be a sure-fire certainty, this would be doing a disservice to the quality of teams in this league, no matter what position they occupy. The Corinthian team which took the field belied their lowly position and provided stern opposition for Lancing. 

On the eve of the game, Lancing management were faced with losing Alieu Secka, whose services were required by Worthing F.C.  Connor Manderson, who had kept goal for the first 5 matches of the current season, answered the SOS.  By the time the final whistle blew it was more a case of SOTP (save our three points) rather than save our souls, as Connor pulled off some amazing saves which helped to preserve Lancing’s slender lead.

The only other change from the starting line up from the VCD game was the inclusion of Ollie Starkey for Louis Veneti, who has moved on to pastures new. 

It did not take long, barely 4 minutes gone, before Connor Manderson was called into action. A Corinthian free kick was met by a diving header, which brought a diving response from Connor to keep the ball out. 

Lancing were soon on the attack. Finn Daniels-Yeoman won the ball in midfield and his run took him to the by-line from where he delivered a fine cross which was hammered clear from close to the goal line. 

A mishit back pass then had Connor racing to prevent the ball going out for a corner but there was too much pace on it. Lancing were exploiting gaps in the front of their defensive line and getting into threatening positions. Mo Zabadne broke at pace but was brought down as he cut in from wide on the right. Marcus Allen was next to venture forward, having made a timely interception, he set up a promising attack. It was then Finn Daniel-Yeoman’s turn to gallop from inside his own half and deliver a fine pass to Ollie Starkey, who manoeuvred himself into shooting position, bringing a fine save from keeper Daniel Colmer. 

With 21 minutes on the clock Lancing had what looked to most in the crowd to be a stone wall penalty. Reece Hallard had powered forward into the box before being brought down. Referee Jacob Wright running forward from behind play determined that the offence, for which he awarded a yellow card, had been committed outside the box and this also appeared to be the view of his assistant, whom he consulted. Darius Goldsmith’s free kick came back off the wall to Finn Daniels-Yeoman, who reacted quickly but failed to get his effort on target. 

Lancing were continuing to make good forward progress. Tyrone Madhani hit a fine cross from close to the bye line which was headed behind for a corner and Darius Goldsmith found the head of Reece Hallard with another good cross but Reece put it wide. Ashley Mutongerwa was working hard upfront using his pace to good effect and trying to bring others into play, but the Corinthian centre backs James Billings and Harry Sargent were closing him down at every opportunity and were doing a good job of unsettling Lancing forwards and not allowing them to find space to put in many direct efforts on goal. Both were dominant in the air, giving very little away. 

Some errors were creeping into Lancing’s play and a quick counter attack by Corinthian, after the ball had been lost in midfield, came close to creating a threat on goal, but Connor Manderson was alert, getting down to grab the ball as it ran loose. 

With three minutes of the half remaining, Reece Hallard won the ball in the air, directed it to Ashley Mutongerwa, who did well to resist a tackle and hit a fierce shot which Daniel Colmer was able to reach with a one-handed save, pushing the ball over the crossbar. The ensuing corner was not cleared and Tom Butler was able to react as the ball ran free and get it across the line to put his side one up.

Corinthian came out for the second half with all guns blazing as they fought hard to get back on level terms. Left back, Andre Thompson-Fearon was making determined runs along the flank and Mo Zabadne and Jake LeGrange were at full stretch to contain him. Connor Manderson was tested with high balls into the box and, on one occasion, needed to leave his line to punch clear, colliding with Tom Butler in the process, with both players needing treatment. 

Lancing continued to create chances at the other end but finishing was letting them down. On 66 minutes, Tommy Boyle replaced Ollie Starkey who had worked tirelessly trying to support Ash Mutongerwa. Mo Zabadne continued to power forward when in possession and put Ashley Mutongerwa in behind the Corinthian defence with a fine pass. Ashley hit an early cross but no Lancing player could get on the end of it. Finn Daniels-Yeoman combined to set up Reece Hallard but he was unable to make a solid connection with his shot which was comfortable for the keeper.

Marcus Allen and Tom Butler maintained their solid partnership at the back. Tom did well, despite being under pressure with a Corinthian forward breathing down his neck, to nod the ball back to Connor Manderson.  With barely a minute left of the allotted 90, Connor Manderson performed heroics to make a double save from close range when hearts were in mouths as it seemed a goal was a certainty.  The Lancing supporters gave a rousing cheer in appreciation. With Corinthian getting many men forward, it opened up space for Lancing to hit them on the break and a strong run from Darius Goldsmith from deep in the Lancing half looked as if it might lead to a second goal. Ashley Mutongerwa had raced forward in support and was in a promising position as he received the ball but. in trying to turn back towards the goal, gave a defender the opportunity to win the ball and prevent a possible goal. 

Two late substitutions, during 5 minutes of added time, saw Alfie Hall replace Tyrone Madhani and Owen Spicer on for Reece Hallard. Connor Manderson had one more important save to make to preserve a clean sheet. 

I think it fair to say that Lancing could not have complained if Corinthian had managed to salvage a point from their second half display. Lancing should have been out of sight by half time and had Connor Manderson to thank for ensuring that they held on to their lead. 

Needless to say, the committee chose Connor Manderson as their MOM, but Ashley Mutongerwa , who had led the front line superbly , was a close second. 

Disappointing that Lancing picked up 4 yellow cards. Those awarded to Connor Manderson and Tyrone Madhani had heads scratching to understand the referee’s thinking.

Dave Wilmott

Pitching in Isthmian League South East Division

LANCING – 1        CORINTHIAN – 0        Saturday 29th October 2022

Attendance 144

Lancing Starting XI: 

Connor Mandleson, Jake LeGrange, Tom Butler, Marcus Allen, Mohamed Joumaa Zabadne, Finn Daniels-Yeoman (Capt.), Darius Goldsmith, Reece Hallard, Tyrone Madhani, Ashley Mutongerwa, Ollie Starkey.

Substitutes:  Tommy Boyle, Josh Gould, Owen Spicer, Alfie Hall, Sean Stephenson.