PITCHING IN ISTHMIAN LEAGUE SOUTH EAST DIVISION
LANCING – 2 BURGESS HILL TOWN – 3 12 NOVEMBER 2022
Lancing Starting XI:
Alieu Secka, Jake LeGrange, Tom Butler, Marcus Allen, Mohamed Joumaa Zabadne, Finn Daniels-Yeoman (Capt.), Darius Goldsmith, Reece Hallard, Tyrone Madhani, Ollie Starkey, Tommy Boyle
Substitutes: Kane Louis, Billy Fuller, Sean Stephenson, Owen Spicer, Fraser Middleton-Tozer.
This fixture, which probably counts as a local derby, always manages to be played with a good atmosphere, helped, no doubt, by Burgess Hill’s good away following which boosted the Lancing attendance to 341. Added interest is created by the fact that the Town squad includes a few ex-Lancing favourites. Centre back Josh Spinks and goal machine Lew Finney were in the starting XI and Brad Santos was on the bench. Also warming up with team was Charlie Pitcher. In Lew’s final season with Lancing, prematurely brought to an end by Covid, Lew reached the magnificent total of 49 goals. Charlie Pitcher, now working his way back to fitness, was a regular goal scorer for Lancing a few seasons ago.
Lancing were forced to make one change from a fairly well settled starting XI, Ollie Starkey coming in to the front line, substituting for Ashley Mutongerwa who was unavailable.
There was an early scare for Lancing when Alieu Secka’s normal faultless distribution from the back deserted him in the first minute but Lancing were able to escape any serious consequences. From that point onwards, Lancing looked lively going forward. Ollie Starkey showed his attacking instincts breaking forward at pace but over hitting his final pass.
Lancing were awarded a free-kick, taken by Darius Goldsmith. Marcus Allen got his head to the ball, which was deflected behind for a corner. Darius Goldsmith floated the ball from the corner high to the far post. Town keeper Tommy Reid could only get one hand to it, palming it away to where Tom Butler pounced to get the ball in the net to give Lancing a 1-0 nil lead with 9 minutes gone. Lancing’s goal celebration quickly turned to dismay with the sight of Marcus Allen stretched out on the ground and motionless. It was clear that Marcus had sustained what looked like a very serious injury. He lay there for almost 10 minutes, while being attended to, before being stretchered off to a round of applause. An early substitution brought 17-year-old Owen Spicer on to partner Tom Butler in the heart of the Lancing defence.
Lancing did not appear to be too badly affected by this and continued to take the game to the Town. Finn Daniels-Yeoman powered forward from the half way line, finding Ollie Starkey with a fine pass stroked with the outside of his right foot. Ollie created space for a shot which drew a good save from Tommy Reid.
Hayden Skerry created a good opportunity for Town with a fine cross to the far post which was met by a header which failed to hit the target.
Town were then gifted a penalty when Owen Spicer made a perfectly legitimate attempt to clear the ball and as he followed through with his clearance his opposite number got himself injured as he tried to close the ball down. An expected coming together but referee Aidan Harris saw fit to decide that Owen had committed an offence punishable with a penalty.
Lewis Finney stepped up to the mark and no one had any doubt that the ball would find the net. Alieu Secka had other ideas and not only did he keep out Lew’s initial strike, he also managed block the follow up attempt.
Minutes later, on 36 minutes, Lancing increased their lead. Reece Hallard got his head to along drop kick from Alieu Secka, sending the ball to Tyrone Madhani, wide on the left. He controlled the ball, letting it drop where it was met by a stunning left foot volley which sent the ball rocketing in to the far top corner.
Lancing were looking to have weathered the loss of Marcus Allen but in the space of 7 minutes their world was turned upside down as they suddenly seemed insecure and Town hit them with three goals. The first from Dan Perry on 38 minutes, followed by Hayden Skerry a minute later and, finally, the coup de grace by none other than Lewis Finney on 45 minutes.
10 extra minutes were played as a result of the injury to Marcus Allen, during this time Darius Goldsmith who had been a real driving force in the Lancing midfield, together with Finn Daniels -Yeoman, showed real spirit and determination to try and recoup something before half -time. A good turn and sprint ended with the ball being hit goal-wards with Tommy Reid out of position. The ball rolled agonisingly close to crossing the line until a retreating defender managed to keep it out. Darius then won possession in the centre circle, setting Reece Hallard in on goal but his effort was blocked.
Lancing began the second half with some promising attacks but without making Tommy Reid make any difficult saves. Kane Louis replaced Mo Zabadne on 64 minutes. With Lancing pressing forward, Town were exploiting some space to counter attack and were threatening to increase their lead. Some clever footwork by Kane Louis, pivoting at the edge of the box, allowed him to tee up Tommy Boyle but he was unable to get a strike on goal before being closed down. Tommy Boyle then made way for Billy Fuller, who was quick into the action, delivering a good cross but only into the arms of the keeper.
Darius Goldsmith continued to be in the thick of most of Lancing’s forays into the heart of Town’s final third. Town were resolute in defence with Josh Spinks and Harry Pollard repelling all boarders and putting the ball out of play when necessary. Despite Lancing maintaining pressure on Town’s defensive line with real energy, right until the final whistle, the blue and white wall held firm.
This defeat leaves Lancing sharing 15 points with Sheppy United, Burgess Hill Town and Sittingbourne, but actually occupying 15th place on account of an inferior goal difference.
More disturbing than a second successive defeat, was the sight of Marcus Allen being stretchered off. Marcus has been outstanding in every game this season. Lancing have had some excellent centre backs in my time supporting the team but Marcus is probably the best we have had (in my opinion, of course). At the time of writing this report, I do not know the extent of his injury, but it looks like we will be without him for some time be it long or short, the latter, I hope.
I do not think we can put the loss down completely to losing Marcus as this might be a disservice to young Owen Spicer who stepped into the breach and acquitted himself well. Very harsh to have a penalty awarded against him.
We all remember Lew Finney punishing his old team with a stunning 90th minute free kick to earn Town a 2-2 draw at their ground last season. He went one better this time, giving his side the winner. So, congratulations to Lew (said with gritted teeth !!!!)
For once the committee were unanimous in selecting Darius Goldsmith as MOM. He has been close several times in what has been a very consistent season. To watch his drive and determination to try and get something out of the game was a pleasure to behold.
It was an entertaining game, which could have gone either way, but credit to Burgess Hill Town for the manner in which they resisted Lancing’s late surge.
One final comment, which is to express sincere thanks on behalf of all at Lancing F.C.to Mr. King, of H G King Funeral Services, who came to the assistance of Marcus by transporting him to hospital in one of the company’s funeral cars.