Pitching In Isthmian League South East Division
Saturday 3rd December 2022
Lancing 1 Sheppey Utd (The Ites)
Lancing Starting XI:
Alieu Secka, Jake LeGrange, Tom Butler, Owen Spicer, Mohammed Joumaa Zabadne, Darius Goldsmith, Finn Daniels -Yeoman, Reece Hallard, Modou Jammeh, Kane Louis, Kyle O’Brien.
Sean Stephenson, Ashley Mutongerwa, Will Berry, Tyrone Madhani, Ollie Starkey
An entertaining first half with both sides displaying an attacking intent from the k.o but with Lancing creating the better chances. There was good movement and speed on the break, particularly from Modou Jammeh and Kyle O’Brien making inroads along Lancing’s left flank pressing the visitors back. However, the first shot in anger came on 8 minutes from the boot of Billy Bennett , which was blocked behind by the alert Finn Daniels-Yeoman for a corner. As they did for almost the entire game, but for one crucial lapse, Lancing successfully defended dangerous balls into the box with Tom Butler and Owen Spicer looking commanding in the air.
Minutes later Lancing were congratulating Kane Louis for putting his side one up. Reece Hallard hit a pile driver from outside the box, which was too hot for Ites keeper Aidan Prall to handle. The ball spilled from his grasp and Kane Louis pounced to find the net. Celebrations were short lived as the assistant’s flag was raised signalling a very dubious off side decision.
Lancing continued to threaten the visitors’ goal with Owen Spicer hitting the upright when he got his head to a corner swung in from the left.
Lancing then had a narrow escape when a ball played into the near post was scrambled clear, with Jake Embury coming off the worse for wear, as players collided .Attention was needed for shoulder injury but Embury was able to continue.
The first yellow card was handed out to Jake LeGrange on 37 minutes for a foul on Billy Bennett on the edge of the Lancing box. Bennett took the free kick and managed to deliver a powerful low drive through the defensive wall but Alieu Secka reacted quickly and was down to get his body behind the ball.
Kane Louis was benefiting from some excellent support from Modou Jammeh, backed up by Darius Goldsmith and Finn Daniels-Yeoman. Modou was the focal point of some of Lancing’s most promising attacks. Modou broke forward and put in a cross which was headed out but falling to Louis who responded with a first-time effort which flew past the upright. Kyle O’Brien was next to cross towards the Ites six-yard box, picking out Reece Hallard, who brought the ball under control before teeing up Kane Louis for a volley which was, again, just off target.
Modou Jammeh showed excellent awareness to slip the ball through to the advancing Louis who tried to reach it sliding along the ground but was unable to make a good contact. Lancing finished the half strongly but without managing to get their noses in front.
Early in the second half Lancing were again denied by the woodwork. A superb pass from Darius Goldsmith found Modou Jammeh in space just outside the Ites box. He seized his opportunity letting fly with his left foot. A goal looked to be a certainty as the ball flew towards the net but it struck the inside of the upright ricocheting across the goal line before being cleared.
Finn Daniels-Yeoman tried his luck immediately afterwards with a sublime strike from 30 yards but Aidan Prall was able to get his hands safely to a powerful effort.
Momentum was building towards a goal and this came on 54 minutes. Jake
Le Grange hit a precise pass inside the full back for Mo Zabadne , racing forward, to hit a low pass from the bye line. This time Kane Louis was able to find the net from close range with a legitimate goal.
Sheppey made a determined effort to cancel out Lancing’s lead and the lively Billy Bennett forced a good save from Alieu Secka getting down at the upright. This was followed by a shot on the turn from centre forward Warren-Hughes Mfula which came close.
On 62 minutes, much to the surprise of some of the Lancing supporters, Mo Zabadne was withdrawn to be replaced by Will Berry, making his return to Culver Road.
Modou Jammeh continued to display excellent ball control, constantly leaving defenders in his wake, and on 66 minutes after turning away from Connor Wilkins and setting off towards the Ites goal, he was brought down by Wilkins which earned him a yellow card.
Somewhat against the run of play, Mfula scored to bring the sides level on 68 minutes. He did well to prevent the ball going out of play on the bye line and, with Alieu Secka having been drawn from his goal, turned quickly before finding the net low along the ground from a very acute angle.
Billy Bennett, once again proved a danger, with a fierce drive just over the cross bar.
Lancing took the game to their opposition to try and restore their lead. Jake LeGrange sent in a good cross, the ball finding its way from a defender to Darius Goldsmith, whose goal bound shot was deflected behind for a corner. Darius then showed some neat footwork to get into position to deliver a cross which was headed goal wards but easily held by keeper Prall. The Ites defence were being put to the test and a wild clearance spun off the defender’s foot towards the goal but over the bar.
Some precise inter passing between Finn Daniels-Yeoman and Modou Jammeh led to a well struck shot from Modou which looked as if it had found the net. It did but it was the side netting.
Ollie Starkey came on for Jake LeGrange on 81 minutes to add his pace to Lancing’s attack as Lancing mounted a last-ditch effort. A deep cross from Kyle O’Brien just evaded Reece Hallard on the far post and a strike from Darius Goldsmith flew too high.
With added time being played Lancing were caught out when Finn Daniels-Yeoman, who rarely loses possession under challenge, did so. Sheppey launched their last-ditch attack, which Lancing were able to repel, although conceding a corner. Time was running out as the ball was crossed from the corner. For once, it was a Sheppey head which got to the ball as Tom Halfrey directed it across the line. There was only time for the referee to restart the game before he blew his final whistle.
It was a cruel blow to Lancing to concede the first goal in the manner in which it happened but it was even crueller to be punished from a corner after successfully defending a number of corners during the game. When Finn Daniels-Yeoman was closed down in the centre circle you would bet anything on him winning the ball, but, as they say, “Even Homer nods”. So, our skipper is human after all. But there was still time to prevent any real damage but it was not to be.
Lancing had done enough to deserve three points, which would have pushed them up to 14th place. There were excellent performances throughout the team. There was little argument about the MOM, which was awarded for the second successive week to Modou Jammeh. His return to Lancing, together with Will Berry, who has different qualities, will pay dividends as the season progresses.
Speaking personally, I was really impressed with Owen Spicer who showed excellent defensive quality, and was calm and assured under pressure. Kyle O’Brien was very effective in the first half and Tom Butler continues to be a dominant figure, good in the air, sound positional sense and a good passing range. Positives throughout, especially in the midfield, such hard working players, Finn, Darius and Reece. So much energy and drive from Mo Zabadne.
A big challenge ahead, away to second place Chatham Town. One thing is certain, Chatham will not find it easy to come out on top.