Pitching In Isthmian League South East Division. 11.03.2023
Lancing – 2 Faversham – 1 Attendance 171
Lancing Starting XI:
Gregor Shaw, Mohammed Zabadne, Marcus Allen, Owen Spicer, Mahamadou Juwara, Finn Daniels -Yeoman (Capt), Tyrese Mthunzi, Modou Jammeh, Ashley Mutongerwa, Reece Hallard, Marcel Powell.
Substitutes: Kane Louis, Charles Towning, Kyle O’Brien, Tyrone Madhani, Thomas Butler.
Faversham are occupying bottom but one berth in the table but arrived at Culver Road with a 1-0 win under their belt in their last outing against Chichester and a record of 8 points in their last 6 games. Desperate to try and salvage some wins to try and preserve their Isthmian league status with only 21 points so far, they turned to a 40 year old veteran striker, signed in time for this game. Well known ex-professional, Adebayo Akinfenwa, (nick named the Beast) who has played for Swansea, Wimbledon, Torquay, Watford and most recently Wycombe Wanderers. His last game was Wycombe’s 2-0 play off defeat against Sunderland, after which he retired.
Lancing were without Darius Goldsmith and Will Berry, both unavailable, so there was a start for Mo Zabadne. Tom Butler and Kane Louis were also back in the squad after missing the Ramsgate game. First blood fell to Lancing with Ashley Mutongerwa, having been played in by a fine pass from Marcus Allen, laid the ball into the path of Modou Jammeh, who found the target but without the power to trouble keeper Bailey Vose.
With only 12 minutes gone, Lancing were forced to make their first substitution with Owen Spicer limping off having turned his ankle and Tom Butler taking his place in defence. Faversham caused some anxious moments in the Lancing final third but, firstly Mo Juwara and then Mo Zabadne came to the rescue with some solid tackles.
Finn Daniels-Yeoman was in the thick of the action in midfield for Lancing but some promising moves were coming to nothing as passes were over hit. To the frustration of Lancing, a dangerous looking attacking break by Mo Juwara was halted by referee Jacob Wright to allow for treatment for an injured Faversham player.
Akinfenwa did not have the mobility to threaten Lancing on the ground but he was a good target man and dangerous with the ball played to him in the air. It was his ability on the ball which paid dividends on 24 minutes when he set up Ronald Sithole for a close range tap in to give Faversham an early lead.
Finn Daniels -Yeoman was at the heart of Lancing’s forward momentum and he put Tyrese Mthunzi in with shooting opportunity but his effort cleared the crossbar by some margin. Lancing players were guilty of being caught offside which caused some good forward play to come to nothing.
Lancing were penetrating down both flanks with Mo Juwara working well with Reece Hallard and Marcel Powell supported by Mo Zabadne on Lancing’s right. Reece Hallard did well to keep the ball in play as he hit the bye line and deliver a cross which had to be chested behind for a corner. As the half progressed, Marcel Powell and Reece Hallard switched wings.
Marcel soon showed his ability to get beyond his marker delivering a dangerous cross which was diverted behind for a corner. Marcus Allen got on the end of the corner but his shot was blocked before being scrambled clear. Reece Hallard combined well with Mo Juwara with the ball reaching Modou Jammeh who let fly for goal but was well clear of the bar. The half ended with Faversham having tested Gregor Shaw a couple of times after taking the lead, but unable to get the ball past him. At the other end Bailey Vose was not troubled. Lancing had managed to keep Akinfenwa quiet after his involvement in the Faversham goal.
Faversham took the field for the second half minus “The Beast”, with Shola Ayoola coming on as his replacement. Very quickly, Gregor Shaw was called into action getting down low to push a drive towards the corner from Bode Anidugbe, behind for a corner. Tom Butler had to be alert to head the ball clear as it came in heading for the goal. Mo Juwara had been at full stretch to contain the lively Michael Ademiluyi but he succeeded in winning possession on a number of times and immediately launched forward at pace. It was a determined run by Mo which created a great chance for Finn Daniels-Yeoman to cancel out the visitor’s lead. Finn stretched to reach the ball a yard from the goal line but the angle made it difficult and the ball came off his outstretched leg, clearing the cross bar.
Finn Daniels-Yeoman and Tyrese Mthunzi were taking control in the middle of the park and the defence, with Marcus Allen and Tom Butler dominant, were showing good composure and discipline. An injury to MoZabadne, who fell awkwardly after a collision, saw him leave the field as a precaution on 59 minutes, with Charlie Towning coming on into midfield and Tyrone Mthunzi switching into a defensive position on Lancing’s right.
Tom Butler came out on top of a tussle for the ball deep in the Lancing final third advancing with the ball before putting Reece Hallard in with a run to the bye line from where he sent in a fine cross into the box, but with no Lancing player able to apply the finishing touch. Lancing had kept a dangerous Faversham forward line quiet but, given half a chance, could still be a threat and a second goal looked on the cards with a shot hit on the turn, but for the alertness of Gregor Shaw who was able to spread himself and put the ball behind for a corner.
Lancing had another good opportunity to draw level after some clever interplay between Modou Jammeh and Reece Hallard, allowed Reece to hit the box at pace. A perfect setting for Reece to launch one of his missiles on goal but Reece failed to make a good connection, screwing the ball wide.
Faversham came close shortly afterwards when the ball was pulled back from the bye-line but met with the prod of the outside of the foot which sent the ball over the cross bar.
Lancing made their final change on 66 minutes with Ashley Mutongerwa making way for Kane Louis. Ashley had shown good movement up front but an occasional tendency to make his runs prematurely led to him being caught offside. Kane Louis offered a different approach and soon had an influence with his ability to play with his back to the goal and bring others into play.
It was quick thinking by Kane which led to Lancing equalising on 74 minutes. A short free kick was taken, catching Faversham cold, the ball was touched to Kane who delivered a fine cross into the box, where Tyrese Mthunzi was on hand to get the ball home.
Lancing then had a good shout for a Lancing penalty which went begging. It looked to be a clear foul in the box. Ironically, referee Jacob Wright also officiated in the away fixture at Faversham and failed to spot an infringement in the box which should have resulted in a penalty. I can see him now trying to keep pace with Reece Hallard but some yards adrift and directly behind him, so, in fairness not well placed to judge where the foul took place. There was a caution for the offender and a free kick on the edge of the area on that occasion. Almost immediately after Lancing’s disallowed claim, a not dissimilar tackle was made by Mo Juwara on the edge of Lancing’s box, for which a free kick was awarded. Cries of “Double standards ref.”
Reece Hallard had resumed on the left flank in the second half and there was a very productive partnership between him and Mo Juwara. Reece was played in by Mo and forced Bailey Vose to make a good save on 88 minutes but Reece was determined and another powerful run on goal was finished off with a rocket of a shot which gave Vose no chance, which secured 3 points for Lancing.
Lancing had to see out 4 minutes of added time which they were able to do without too much difficulty.
One must feel some sympathy for Faversham. They did not play like a side one place above the bottom and it is tough to concede so late in the game. But this is a fate which has befallen Lancing on more than one occasion in the past, so it makes a pleasant change to be the recipient of some good fortune.
It is a tribute to the quality of the football in this league that a side struggling low down in the table can perform so well.
It remains to be seen whether an ex-pro. 40 year old called out of retirement, no matter his past achievements, has what it takes to help his side get some wins in the final stages of the season.
Lancing remain in 14th place on 36 points but are 5 points clear of VCD Athletic, our next opponents and Haywards Heath, lying in17th and 18th positions.
The usual debate about our Player of the Match selection. Several good nominations again (which tells you that we have strength in depth throughout), but a majority in favour of Reece Hallard. A real tower of strength when motoring towards goal and a superb finish to seal three points. Some sublime close control as balls drop to him from high.