Pitching In isthmian League

South East division

Saturday 10th December 2022

Chatham Town (The Chats) 2 Lancing 1

Attendance 570

Lancing starting XI

Alieu Secka, Mohammed Joumaa Zabadne, Will Berry, Reece Hallard, Tom Butler, Owen Spicer, Ollie Starkey, Darius Goldsmith, Kane Louis (capt.),Modou Jammeh, Kyle O’Brien.

Substitutes; Jake LeGrange, Faris Khallouqi, Tyrone Madhani, Matia Tamale, Ashley Mutongerwa.

570 hardy souls, including a dedicated group of Lancing supporters, braved the freezing conditions at the Bauvill Stadium to see high riding Chatham Town F.C., newly promoted to the Isthmian league, take on Lancing, languishing close to the bottom of the table. The Chats came into this game following a 3-1 defeat away to Cray Valley, while Lancing suffered a 2-1 home defeat to Sheppey United. The freezing conditions meant that only two games were able to be played. They were on 3 G pitches, the other saw Ashford lose 1-0 at home to VCD Athletic.

With Finn Daniels-Yeoman unavailable, Kane Louis captained the side and there were two changes from the Sheppey game with Will Berry replacing Jake LeGrange and Ollie Starkey in for Finn. Matia Tamale, who has been away at university, since early in the season, was back and on the bench.

The Chats almost caught Alieu Secka unawares in the first couple of minutes with a lob from distance, but it sailed over the bar. Lancing had their first attempt on goal with a header from Reece Hallard, getting on the end of a Darius Goldsmith free kick, but keeper Ben Bridle Card was able to deal with it without too much difficulty.

With only 5 minutes on the clock Lancing were on the receiving end of an icy blast in the form of low drive beyond the outstretched Alieu Secka, from wide on the right driven in by Fabio Saraiva. To compound matters, the same player netted again on 13 minutes. Lancing failed to clear a loose ball, which ricocheted around the six yard box before being hammered home.

The home side’s confidence was high at this point and they were keeping possession well, hitting their front men who were laying the ball off quickly and bringing the midfield into play who were playing some fine one touch football, denying Lancing any time on the ball. But, gradually Lancing began to see more of the ball and make some progress forward, using Kyle O’Brien to good effect wide on the left. Kyle was able to use his pace and control to get beyond his marker and deliver the ball into the box.

Reece Hallard was doing a good job in midfield in the absence of Finn Daniels-Yeoman and did well to recover from a stumble with two opponents trying to steal the ball and letting fly with a fine effort which fizzed narrowly wide of the upright. The half ended soon afterwards with Lancing not having seriously put the home keeper to the test but having contained a very attacked minded team and not fallen further behind.

The second half began with The Chats having picked up from where they had left off and Matt Bodkin burst forward forcing a good save from Alieu Secka. Bodkin then did well reaching the byeline and sending in a cross which was headed wide.

Will Berry launched a promising move making ground from the back finding Modou Jammeh who switched the ball to Mo Zabadne on a supporting run but no Lancing player was able to get on to the final ball into the box. Lancing were looking more of an attacking threat with Kane Louis a good focal point, holding the ball up well. Ollie Starkey showed nice skill on the ball to turn and set Mo Zabadne in on goal but the ball ran away from him before he could finish off the move.

15 minutes into the half, Lancing gave themselves a fighting chance when, having motored clear down the left, Modou Jammeh laid a perfect pass into the path of Kane Louis, who wasted no time in firing an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net.

The two goal lead came close to being restored when, uncharacteristically, Alieu Secka presented the ball to the opposition, as he tried to play out from the back, but Alieu redeemed himself with a fine save. Lancing were enjoying good spells of possession in the second half but had to be wary of the quick counter attack. Tom Butler was at his most alert, sticking out a leg to prevent a cross from a fast break down the right reaching a Chats player, unmarked in the box.

Lancing introduced Tyrone Madhani for Mo Zabadne on 72 minutes. Kyle O’Brien, after a quiet spell, came back into action with a fine cross from the left to the far post where Ollie Starkey looked to be well positioned to score. But he was unable to get any real power to the ball to get it over the line.

Despite continuing to press forward until the end, with the fresh legs of Jake LeGrange and Ashley Mutongerwa coming on for Reece Hallard and Tom Butler, this was to prove Lancing’s best chance of drawing level.

So another close result for Lancing. Another loss by a single goal. After The Chats second goal went in, it looked ominous for Lancing but Owen Spicer, Tom Butler and Will Berry put their backs to the wall and were able to stifle the opposition. Reece Hallard and Darius Goldsmith were getting to grips with a fast moving Chats midfield and Kane Louis was making life difficult for the home defenders. The team showed great character not to crumble after the early blow of falling two goals behind.

This win keeps Chatham in second place, two points behind Ramsgate, while Lancing sit in 17th place sharing 16 points with Haywards Heath but with a slightly superior goal difference.

MOM went to Kane Louis by majority. A superb strike to reduce the arrears and showing strength on the ball to resist some strong challenges and lay the ball off, keeping possession. Used his experience to good effect .

Dave Wilmott0