Pitching In Isthmian League South East Division
Lancing – 2 Hythe Town – 0 Saturday 4th Feb. 2023
Lancing Starting XI:
Alieu Secka, Will Berry, Marcus Allen, Owen Spicer, Mahamadou Juwara, Finn Daniels-Yeoman (Capt.), Darius Goldsmith, Modou Jammeh, Reece Hallard, Marcel Powell, Kane Louis.
Charles Towning, Kyle O’Brien, Tyrese Muthunzi, Tyrone Madhani, Ashley Mutongerwa.
These sides were neck and neck when they met in November but the win for Hythe took them one point in front. A couple of soft goals including a dubious penalty, plus a well taken header from their main danger man, Johan Cany-Bryan gave them the three points. There was a late consolation for Lancing with a penalty converted by Darius Goldsmith. Hythe Town have struggled for league goals, having only scored 22 in as many games and they can thank Cany-Bryan for 10 of them, the only other goal scorer of any note is Shad Ngandu (named on the team sheet as Ngandu Firman), who has 3 to his name. Needless to say, the Lancing defence would have to keep a tight rein on Cany-Bryan.
Goals are well spread out for Lancing in the league. Reece Hallard 6. Tyrone Madhani 5. Modou Jammeh and Kane Louis 4. Tom Butler, Darius Goldsmith, Marcus Allen, Marcel Powell and Ashley Mutongerwa, all on 2.
The Lancing line up showed one change from the Chichester game, with Kane Louis back in and Ashley Mutongerwa on the bench. Play was end to end for most of the first half with both sides showing some fine attacking flair. Lancing looked busy from the kick off, desperate to show that they are not just a second half team. Reece Hallard looked powerful immediately, bursting forward down the left leading to a couple of early corners.
But it was the visitors who had the first real threat on goal. Mo Juwara lost the ball to Sam Itauma who made a dash towards goal. It was not clear whether he was aiming for goal or delivering a pass but neither target was achieved, much to Lancing’s relief. Marcus Goldsmith managed to get to the ball before Marcel Powell but could only shoot straight into the safe arms of Alieu Secka. It was 15 minutes before Lancing could take advantage of some fine forays into the final third and it was Reece Hallard who shot on the turn, forcing keeper Steve Phillips to stretch low to make a good save.
Mo Juwara reached the bye-line on the left with a strong run and fired low across the six -yard box, the ball taking a slight deflection going behind for a corner. Lancing’s promising start almost came unstuck with a self-inflicted wound. Alieu Secka’s attempted pass out from the back was intercepted but he redeemed himself with a fine save, pushed wide for a corner.
Lancing continued to make inroads into the opposing half with some good quick interpassing between Modou Jammeh and Kane Louis. Reece Hallard and Marcel Powell were benefitting from their team mates good possession. Lancing came close to going ahead when Kane Louis was picked out in the box. His shot rebounded from a defender, falling to Modou Jammeh but his effort was deflected for a corner. Reece Hallard and Mo Juwara had developed a good understanding on Lancing’s left flank. Mo fed Reece, who laid the ball back to Mo in behind the right back but his powerfully driven cross was held by Steve Phillips at his near post.
Hythe were dangerous from dead ball situations but Alieu Secka’s handling of high balls was sound. He had to be at his most alert on the 30-minute mark to react to a bullet header from a corner driven hard to the near post and put it behind for a corner. Marcell Powell had to demonstrate his defensive qualities to clear from his penalty area and race clear with Kane Louis in support but the move petered out. Reece Hallard continued to torment the visitors’ defence, turning quickly towards goal before being felled just outside the box. His free-kick was powerfully struck beyond the wall but Steve Phillips got down well to palm the ball away. Reece then looked to have got in behind with the goal beckoning but he had strayed offside. With his confidence high and urged on by the home supporters Reece next tried his luck from distance but got well underneath the ball which flew way too high.
Hythe had caused problems down Lancing’s left flank with Itauma and Candy-Bryan proving to be difficult to contain but, after some initial uncertainty, Mo Juwara stuck to his defensive task making some solid tackles and also able to break clear taking the ball forward.
Nothing much to choose between the sides as the half-time whistle blew. Hythe enjoyed some good possession but found the Lancing central defenders, Will Berry, Owen Spicer and the outstanding Marcus Allen impossible to break down.
Lancing began the second half in determined mood and Marcel Powell showed strength on the ball on the Hythe bye-line earning a free-kick. The ball was delivered in from the right corner by Darius Goldsmith to the waiting Marcus Allen who hit an accurate volley into the back of the net. Lancing a goal up on 52 minutes.
Hythe raised their game and put the Lancing defence under pressure. Lex Allan had a good opportunity to get his side level when he got his head to a free kick but glanced the ball wide of the upright.
Lancing made their first substitution on 69 minutes with Owen Spicer making way for Tyrese Muthunzi. On 75 minutes Tyrone Madhani came on for Marcel Powell. Marcus Goldsmith wasted a good opportunity for Hythe ,when well positioned, by clearing the cross bar. Hythe thought they had drawn level when the ball hit the net from a free-kick but an infringement had been spotted by referee Michael Ryan. Lancing were less able to apply the same level of pressure in a second half which had them defending with real discipline as Hythe tried to make the breakthrough. Lancing refused to panic and were able to deal with whatever came their way.
Lancing’s final substitution was to bring on Ashley Mutongerwa for Kane Louis.
Tyrone Madhani soon had an influence with a curling cross headed behind for a corner and another cross which fizzed across the six -yard box. The substitutions helped Lancing to mount a strong finish to the game. Ashley Mutongerwa slipped the ball to Modou Jammeh, who set up Reece Hallard for an effort on target, turned behind for a corner. Will Berry met the ball with a strong header which hit a defender.
The home supporters were in good voice urging their team on and they erupted when, a minute or so into 4 minutes of added time, Ashley Mutongerwa seized on misplaced pass on the edge of the box and, with Reece Hallard in support to his left, laid the ball into his path. Reece calmly picked his spot and Lancing were home and dry.
The rousing support from the home supporters carried Lancing to a vital three points. The defensive discipline and sound distribution from the back allowed Lancing to restrict Hythe’s threats on goal mainly to balls in from free kicks or corners but Alieu Secka was in commanding form showing a safe pair of hands and a willingness to come from his line to seize the ball.
Lancing now move back up to 12th position on 29 points, level with Hythe Town, who remain above them on goal difference.
Thanks to John Rea for being the Match Ball sponsor and for agreeing to award his Player of the Match selection to Marcus Allen. Everyone I spoke to after the final whistle was full of praise for his superb performance. What an inspiration.