Pitching In Isthmian League
South East Division
Lancing 2 v Haywards Heath Town 3
Saturday 14th January 2023
Lancing Starting XI :
Alieu Secka, Mohammed Zabadne, Tom Butler, Owen Spicer, Kyle O’Brien, Finn Daniels-Yeoman (Capt.), Darius Goldsmith, Mahamadou Juwara, Kane Louis, Modou Jammeh, Reece Hallard.
Charles Towning, Marcel Powell, Tyrone Madhani, Will Berry, Ollie Starkey
Back into the Lancing squad, after representing parent club Worthing against Lancing in the Sussex Senior Cup, came Kyle O’Brien and Ollie Starkey. There was also a very welcome return for Lancing favourite Mo Juwara, after spells with Horsham and Whitehawk. There was also an extra edge to the game with the return to Culver Road of former Lancing management team, Alex Walsh, Dale Hurley and Matt Evans following their surprise departure just before Christmas to take over the reins at Heath. There were further ties between the two clubs as former Lancing players Alex Laing and Conrad Honore were in the Heath squad, Laing starting, Honore coming on from the bench.
This was a score line which defied belief as Lancing dominated the attacking play from start to finish and created more havoc in the opposing penalty area and created more scoring opportunities than has been seen from the team all season. One really felt for the Lancing players but credit has to be given to Heath for putting their bodies on the line and for erecting a barrier in front of keeper Billy Collings to repel wave after wave of Lancing attacks.
As early as the third minute Collings was tested with a fine 25-yard drive from Kane Louis, spotting an opening and forcing the keeper to fingertip the ball over the cross bar. Kane Louis was busy, dropping off his marker and bringing others into play with his ability to retain possession and pick out a yellow shirt. Louis hit a pass enabling Reece Hallard to get to the bye line and hit a dangerous cross which was headed clear from the close to the goal line. Mo Juwara, deployed in an attacking role on the left was soon displaying his ability to beat his man with a turn of speed and the first yellow card of the game was handed out to Nabeel Ghannam on 13 minutes for illegally holding Juwara back.
Good interplay between Kyle O’Brien and Mo Juwara provided Modou Jammeh with a shooting opportunity from the edge of the box but he fired his effort over the bar. Modou Jammeh was again able to hit the ball towards goal. Keeper Billings was able to parry his effort and solid defending blocked Kane Louis as he connected with the rebound from close range.
Lancing continued to take the game to the visitors with Mo Juwara reaching a cross field pass, then initiating a move involving Kane Louis and Finn Daniels-Yeoman leading to a corner. Darius Goldsmith sent the ball from the corner dropping just under the cross bar which was cleared by a two-handed fist away by Collings.
It was not until the game was 24 minutes old that Heath had their first effort on target. Alahady Jalloh broke through and struck for goal. It was low down but lacked sufficient power to trouble Alieu Secka
Lancing eventually got the reward for their constant forays into the Heath final third with fine goal from Modou Jammeh on 26 minutes. Mo Juwara pivoted away from his man on the left touchline and picked out Jammeh who wasted no time in hammering the ball low into the corner with Collings at full stretch but unable to keep it out.
Modou Jammeh turned provider minutes later floating a cross to Reece Hallard whose header was saved by Collings.
Lancing’s lead was short lived. Alahady Jalloh went on a strong run towards the Lancing goal with Mo Zabadne in hot pursuit. Zabadne made a desperate attempt to win the ball but he was always trailing Jalloh and only succeeded in bringing his man down on the edge of the box, earning himself a yellow card in the process.
Lancing lined up what looked to be a solid wall of defenders but, somehow, Alex Laing found a way past it curling the ball into the left corner of the Lancing goal with Alieu Secka unable to react and keep it out. 31 minutes gone and Heath were level with their first serious attempt.
A minute later Lancing were unlucky not to have restored their lead. A superb cross from Reece Hallard, who had switched wings with Mo Juwara and was now operating on the left, was met by Modou Jammeh whose header struck the upright with the keeper beaten.
Lancing continued to maintain their forward momentum, with efforts from Mo Juwara cutting in from the right and curling a left foot effort just beyond the far upright. Reece Hallard had the beating of his man and hit the bye line with a powerful burst. He delivered a cross which had Kane Louis leaping high to meet it with his head but unable to get above the ball and keep it from clearing the cross bar. The combination of Kane Louis and Modou Jammeh was proving fruitful for Lancing and between them they set up a chance for Reece Hallard who brought a good save from Collings. Mo Juwara linked up with Reece Hallard whose cross was deflected behind for a corner. The ball in caused some anxiety for Heath in the six-yard box causing a collision between keeper and defender as they both tried to clear the ball.
Reece Hallard continued to try and get forward and was unlucky not to be able to control a fine pass from Darius Goldsmith as he bore down on the goal.
The half ended with home supporters wondering how the game could still be all square, given how good Lancing’s forward play had been.
With just under 10 minutes gone in the second half, Lancing were punished by a rare moment of careless play which resulted in a penalty being awarded for a trip in the box. Tom Collins made no mistake from the spot.
With 56 minutes gone, Tyrone Madhani replaced Mo Zabadne and shortly afterwards Finn Daniels-Yeoman did well to win the ball and hit an early strike on goal, which flew past the upright.
On 65 minutes Ollie Starkey came on for Mo Juwara and immediately afterwards, quite against the run of play, Heath extended their lead. It looked as if Darius Goldsmith had been fouled, causing him to lose possession to Mohamed Diallo. Diallo burst into the box and finished well.
Lancing then had two close range efforts cleared off the line as Heath were at sixes and sevens as they struggled to clear their box.
Alex Laing had the only other meaningful attempt on goal for Heath with a fierce drive from distance which had Alieu Secka stretching to turn the ball over the bar.
Lancing finished strongly and a deep cross from the right from Tyrone Madhani was met at the far post by Reece Hallard but his attempt on goal drifted wide. Reece met a header from a corner from Kyle O’Brien to score at the far post on 75 minutes and give his side hope of at least getting a share of the points. Ollie Starkey’s pacy runs were causing problems for the Heath defence.
Kane Louis made way for Marcel Powell on 81 minutes and his pace and control helped to keep the pressure on for Lancing. A messy piece of defending ended with Heath being able clear the ball away for a corner. Another corner was conceded with an untidy header back towards Collings which rolled past him, close to finding the net. Reece Hallard continued to strive for an equalising goal and hit a strong shot which Collings fumbled before gathering at the second attempt.
Kyle O’Brien took on the defence before laying the ball off to Reece Hallard whose effort curled just wide of the upright. Ollie Starkey was working well on the right and delivered an excellent cross which was cleared.
Time ran out with Lancing having been camped in the opposing half for long periods but without being able to make the vital breakthrough.
So, a happy, if somewhat fortunate return to Culver Road for Alex Walsh and team. Easy to identify how Lancing could leave the pitch empty handed. The ball has to reach the back of the net. No points awarded for an overall good performance. Domination needs an end product. But some very encouraging signs which must sow seeds of confidence for future games. The work ethic in the team will prove invaluable and, once again, Owen Spicer, Tom Butler and Kyle O’Brien looked a solid unit.
Haywards Heath can count themselves fortunate to pick up three points but they should be congratulated for a dogged defensive performance and for making the most of their limited opportunities
Thanks to John Rea for being the match ball sponsor and for selecting as his Player of the Match, Modou Jammeh. Well deserved.