Pitching In Isthmian League South east Division
Beckenham Town (The Becks) 4 V Lancing 0
Saturday 07 Jan.2023
Lancing Starting XI :
Alieu Secka, Mohammed Zabadne, Thomas Butler, Owen Spicer, Will Berry, Finn Daniels-Yeoman (Capt.), Darius Goldsmith, Reece Hallard, Kyle O’Brien, Ollie Starkey, Kane Louis.
Substitutes : Modou Jammeh, Tyrone Madhani, Jake LeGrange, Charles Towning, Ashley Mutongerwa
Beckenham have acclimatised well to the Isthmian league since their promotion at the end of the 2021/22 season but, after a run of three successive victories, against Burgess Hill, East Grinstead and Chichester, their opening game of 2023 saw them succumb to a 4-0 defeat away to Sevenoaks Town. They were clearly smarting from this kick up the backside and were convincing winners overcoming Lancing 4-0 at Eden Park Avenue, a win that leaves them in 6th place on 35 points, jointly with Whitehawk and Ashford United and just one behind 3rd place Cray Valley.
Lancing were without the services of Sam Bull, selected by Dean Cox for his Player of the Match for his debut performance against Littlehampton. Sam was recalled by Eastbourne Borough, for whom he made a substitute appearance in their 2-0 defeat away to Bath City.
Reece Hallard was available and back in the starting line up together with Will Berry and Ollie Starkey. Modou Jammeh and Tyrone Madhani dropped to the bench.
Lancing began the game brightly with Kane Louis prominent early on trying to set Ollie Starkey in on goal, then, after receiving an excellent pass from Mo Zabadne delivered a cross from wide on the right towards Reece Hallard but the ball did not run kindly for Reece and an opportunity for a shot on goal fell away. Kyle O’Brien and Ollie Starkey were both running at the Becks defence. Kyle had Lancing’s first shot on target after waltzing through a couple of tackles, but it lacked power. Ollie Starkey twisted and turned to reach the by-line and win a corner. Tom Butler made a valiant effort to connect with the corner ball with a volley as he fell backwards but could not position himself to make a good contact.
Once The Becks had settled into the game, their wide men, no. 11 Steve Townsend, on the left and no.7 Stefan Cox, on the right were looking dangerous. The pacy Townsend was brought down by Mo Zabadne, desperate to make a tackle to halt his run on goal and Mo found himself receiving a caution with only 15 minutes gone.
The breakthrough came for the Becks on 23 minutes. Lancing had to defend a couple of corners, Alieu Secka reaching the first but conceding a second corner and as the ball was delivered into the six-yard box Alieu could only palm the ball away but not far enough to clear the waiting Rob Carter who volleyed powerfully into the roof of the net.
Both Kyle O’Brien and Ollie Starkey continued to get forward but as Ollie was pressurising a defender near the bye line, he sustained an injury which meant he could not continue. On came Modou Jammeh and he made a quick impact with a shot which keeper Nick Blue turned behind for a corner. Kyle O’Brien initiated the move with a clever dummy on the left wing, switching the ball to Reece Hallard who had made strides into the box and set up Modou for his attempt.
Just when it looked as if Lancing would reach half time with only a 1-0 deficit, the game appeared to be placed out of reach with two goals in two minutes. Surprisingly, referee Daniel Doyle penalised Owen Spicer for the faintest of touches on the by-line which resulted in Steve Townsend ending up on the ground and the referee pointing to the penalty spot. Townsend picked himself up and took the spot kick, hammering an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net. Two minutes later, on 45 minutes, Lancing were made to suffer from the incorrect award of a corner. A corner had rightly been awarded on the left but the ball in from the corner cleared everyone before going behind on the right. The referee was the only one who saw that it had touched Lancing player en route and awarded a corner from the right. Lancing seemed to have suffered a lack of concentration, no doubt aggrieved by couple of harsh decisions, and failed to clear their lines, allowing centre back Mudiaga Wanogho to put his side three up.
Despite the sense of injustice in the manner in which the two late second half goals were conceded, it would be hard to argue that The Becks did not deserve to be in front. Their wide men, Townsend and Cox posed problems for Lancing and the energetic pocket dynamo, Freddie Nyhus was testing Lancing’s midfield with his rapid movement.
Lancing were looking to salvage some respect in the second half, even though overcoming a 3-0 deficit might prove too high a hurdle. But less than 10 minutes into the second half, the task facing them grew even more challenging as Rob Carter got his second to put The Becks even further ahead.
One thing about Lancing teams, which is to their credit, is that they keep on trying to the final minute. Substitutions were made on 60 minutes with Ashley Mutongerwa, back in the squad after being unavailable for a few weeks, and Jake LeGrange coming on for Mo Zabadne and Kane Louis. Will Berry had switched positions with Kyle O’Brien .
Modou Jammeh was finding space in which to operate and his influence was growing, and with Finn Daniels-Yeoman, Darius Goldsmith and Reece Hallard all striving to get forward, Lancing were creating scoring opportunities. Finn had a shot blocked, Reece Hallard had a header just over and a strike just wide. Finn put a ball towards the goal and it landed on the cross bar. Ashley Mutongerwa did well to hold off a strong challenge and drive in a cross, put behind for a corner. Darius Goldsmith put in a good strike from 25 yards which narrowly cleared the cross bar. Jake LeGrange crossed to Finn Daniels -Yeoman who nodded the ball to Reece Hallard whose snap shot flew over the bar and this was followed by Reece Hallard putting a ball in from the left which dropped onto the cross bar.
Plenty of effort from Lancing until the final whistle without being able to reduce the arrears. Pleasing that the players did not let their heads drop and that the game ended on a positive note, putting them in the right frame of mind for the Sussex Senior Cup match against Worthing.
The committee present chose Reece Hallard as their Player of the Match, having been impressed by his never say die attitude. You could see the determination on his face as he worked hard to try and salvage something from the game.