- Pitching In Isthmian League
South East Division Saturday 17th December 2022
Lancing 3 v Ashford United 2
Lancing Starting XI
Alieu Secka,Mohammed Joumaa Zabadne, Tom Butler,Owen Spicer, Will Berry, Tyrone Madhani, Finn Daniels-Yeoman (Capt.),Darius Goldsmith, Kane Louis, Modou Jammeh, Ollie Starkey.
Kyle O’Brien, Reece Hallard, Sean Stephenson, Faris Khallouqi, Marcel Powell.
Christmas came early to Culver Road as Santa Claus, in the guise of new manager Dean Cox, ably assisted by his elves, Will, Steven and Ross opened his sack and delivered three Christmas crackers, two goals from Reece Hallard and one from Kane Louis and three precious points.
At one point, things looked gloomy for Lancing as they fell victim to another early goal. There was a shade of misfortune in the manner in which the goal was conceded. A pass from the back appeared to strike the back of a Lancing player and rebound kindly for Henry Muggeridge putting him in the clear on the right. He delivered a low cross into the six-yard box where Danny Parish was ready to pounce and divert the ball home.
Lancing responded well to this set back with Kane Louis the focal point for some promising attacks. Kane used his upper body strength well to resist challenges from centre back Liam Friend, in particular, laying the ball off to supporting runners.
Lancing came close to conceding a second but Finn Daniels-Yeoman was on hand to make a vital clearance. Kane Louis held the ball up well, laying it off and turning to run onto a through ball which just evaded him as he bore down on keeper Patrik Ohman.
But, on 27 minutes, Lancing’s task became a greater challenge as they fell further behind. Ashford delivered a free kick beyond the far post from where it was headed back across the goal. Alieu Secka was beaten to the ball by Gary Lockyer who gave his side a 2-0 lead.
It was almost three nil on 31 minutes but fortune smiled on Lancing as a low drive from Gil Carvalho struck the inside of the upright, with Alieu Secka at full stretch, the ball rebounding tanatalisingly close to the goal-line before being cleared.
Lancing’s attacking play bore fruit on 34 minutes. A corner had been won on Lancing’s left and a defensive error by Ashford was seized upon by Darius Goldsmith linking up with Modou Jammeh who put the ball on a plate for Kane Louis who curled it with precision just inside Ohman’s left upright.
This was the fillip Lancing needed at this stage of the game and they finished the half strongly. Tyrone Madhani was enjoying a good spell on Lancing’s left and Modou Jammeh’s clever movement was creating openings and he split the defence with a pass for Kane Louis but a promising move was halted by the offside flag.
Ashford were still a threat and a header from a free kick had Alieu Secka diving low to keep the ball out. Right back Bradley Simms was a constant menace with his long throw -ins but Owen Spicer, Will Berry and Tom Butler were competing well and winning their aerial battles. Owen Spicer was frequently having to deal with the threat of the tall, powerful Gary Lockyer and he coped superbly.
A wild miscued clearance by keeper Ohman almost proved costly but Ashford managed to regain possession.
The half finished with promise for Lancing as Will Berry broke into the opposing half but he was brought down by Toby Ajala earning him the first caution of the game. Owen Spicer rose at the far post to meet the resultant free kick but could only hit the side netting.
Lancing began the second half brightly and a long-range effort by Tyrone Madhani had keeper Ohman struggling to put the ball over for a corner as it dropped under the cross bar. Owen Spicer continued to impress with his coolness under pressure and he did well to nod a bouncing ball back to Alieu Secka.
Lancing’s first substitution came on 58 minutes with Kyle O’Brien replacing Tyrone Madhani and he soon showed his energy motoring forward on Lancing’s left. Shortly afterwards, Reece Hallard came on for Ollie Starkey. Lancing were looking the most likely to get the next goal with some fine interplay between Kyle O’Brien and Modou Jammeh but an offside decision against Kyle was a let off for Ashford.
At the other end, Ashford continued to get the ball in the box and some desperate defending from Tom Butler, Will Berry and Owen Spicer was needed to repel some real threats on the Lancing goal.
Darius Goldsmith, battling hard in midfield, received a caution on 81 minutes as tension rose. Lancing got the goal their play deserved on 83 minutes. A patient spell of possession finished with the ball reaching Reece Hallard. He took a touch and then let fly from 25 yards, the ball hitting the corner of the net in the blink of an eye. 2-2 with all to play for.
Minutes later, hearts were in mouths as Alieu Secka almost paid the penalty for dallying on the ball with the result that he was closed down but, fortunately, he was able to recover and clear the ball to safety.
Reece Hallard become the second Lancing player to receive a caution on 87 minutes. A minute later, Marcel Powell’s pace was introduced for Kane Louis.
Lancing still had to survive Ashford’s last-ditch effort to restore their lead. Lieu Secka pulled off another good save and raced from his line to clear the ball with a header from just outside the box and Owen Spicer rescued his side with a vital clearance from the six-yard box. But it was Lancing who were to have the last word as play entered 6 minutes of added time. Only two minutes were left, when Marcel Powell picked up the ball on Lancing’s left and powered forward towards the goal line. Would he try to finish? No, he drew the defender and laid the ball in the path of Reece Hallard who could not miss.
Tension mounted as Lancing prayed for the final whistle. After what seemed an eternity, referee Andy D’Urso signalled the end to what had been a pulsating game.
Ashford rued some missed opportunities to increase their lead but Lancing merited their victory by continuing to believe in themselves. Reece Hallard’s first goal came at the right time to give his side a boost for the final stages.
So, a successful beginning for Dean Cox and his team. Some excellent performances wherever you looked in the Lancing team. Kane Louis’ experience and strength on the ball were vital factors and the work rate from Darius Goldsmith and Finn Daniels-Yeoman so important. Substitutions were very timely and proved to tip the balance Lancing’s way.
There was the usual debate and difficulty in selecting a MOM, given the number of fine performances. Great to see Mo Zabadne, such a powerful force as a wing back, beaming with pleasure at having remained on for the entire game for the first time for a few games. There were strong feelings expressed to me about who we should select as MOM. One of our loyal but, at times, critical supporters spoke in glowing terms about Kane Louis but two more advanced the case for Owen Spicer. I argued strongly for Owen and I think I managed to convince my fellow committee members that this was deserved. I have been extremely impressed with how well Owen has settled in alongside the outstanding Tom Butler and with Will Berry also at his side he is showing real defensive qualities, with a calmness under pressure and excellent distribution picking out a team mate. So well done Owen as MOM.
Three points desperately needed but, although it is early days, the future looks bright under Dean Cox and team, particularly having learned from a chat with Marcus Allen that his injury is less serious than first feared and he is optimistic of a return to training in the not-too-distant future.