PITCHING IN ISTHMIAN LEAGUE
South East Division
Littlehampton (The Golds)1 v Lancing 1
Lancing Starting XI:
Alieu Secka, Mohammed Zabadne, Marcus Allen, Tom Butler, Will Berry, Finn Daniels-Yeoman (Capt.), Darius Goldsmith, Modou Jammeh, Marcel Powell, Tommy Blennerhasset, Tyrone Madhani.
Charles Towning, Mark Goldson, Mahamadou Juwara, Kane Louis, Callaghan Stobbart.
A last-minute change to the starting line-up was forced on Dean Cox when Mo Juwara, who had missed the Chatham game with an ankle injury, broke down in the pre-match warm up with a recurrence of the same problem. Mo Zabadne , a more than capable replacement, stepped in to the breach.
Some familiar faces in the Golds team. Ex Lancers Liam Hendy and Charlie Pitcher started and James Rhodes, former Lancing player and joint manager, was on the bench.
A late morning pitch inspection gave the go-ahead. The surface was eminently playable, if a little greasy on top. This was evident very early on when Finn Daniels-Yeoman lost his balance, giving the Golds an opening to have the first shot on target. Alieu Secka dived low to keep the ball out. It rebounded from him but was safely cleared. That was an early warning, as a couple of minutes later, on 5 minutes, Darius Goldsmith failed to clear a ball played him to him in the middle of the Lancing half. Josh Short was quick to take advantage heading for goal and firing past Alieu Secka to give the Golds an early lead.
Lancing were struggling to keep possession for the first quarter of an hour but gradually managed to get a foothold on the game, with Marcel Powell looking a real threat on Lancing’s left wing. His crosses were causing problems in the Golds defence, and there was a narrow escape for them when the boll rolled just wide of the upright for a corner. The Golds managed to clear the ball which was ricocheting around the penalty area but Lancing regained possession out wide with Finn Daniels-Yeoman delivering a fine cross into the six-yard box ,where it was met by Tommy Blennerhasset out-jumping his marker and heading the ball home.
18 minutes gone and both sides were all square again. Immediately afterwards, Charlie Pitcher blotted his copy book, receiving a caution for dangerous tackle which felled Darius Goldsmith.
Marcel Powell was tormenting his full back and, after some good wing play, put the ball on the plate for Modou Jammeh who forced James Binfield to palm the ball away for a corner. The corner was cleared but the ball fell invitingly to Finn Daniels-Yeoman, who took aim from 30 yards. The ball was speeding towards the goal until striking a defender which sent it flying over the bar.
Lancing were in the ascendancy at this point and were having more efforts on goal than the Golds, for whom Lucas Pattenden, wide on their right, was a real threat with his pace and direct play, testing Will Berry’s defensive prowess to the full.
Tommy Blennerhasset was showing an eagerness to test the home keeper and in the space of a few minutes as the half hour point was reached, he received the ball with back to goal, turned and hit a good strike which flew narrowly wide, followed by an attempt to head for goal from another fine cross from Marcel Powell, which was just too high, and then having an on-target drive turned behind for a corner.
Lucas Pattenden came close to restoring his side’s lead with a powerful shot which came back from Alieu Secka as he got his body in the way. Pattenden took a tumble as the ball was being cleared but referee Jonathan Pike saw nothing to suggest that a penalty should be awarded.
Pattenden again broke through but found Alieu Secka spreading himself to block his effort, the ball then being deflected wild for a corner. The half ended with The Golds keeping up the pressure with three successive corners.
Marcel Powell’s confidence was high and he began the second half with a determined run towards goal, cutting in from the left but his composure deserted him as he blazed his effort well clear of the cross bar. Darius Goldsmith hit a superb cross field ball which found Marcell Powell in space on the opposite left flank. Marcell sped goal-wards and was brought down as he entered the box. Tommy Blennerhasset took responsibility for the spot kick but his low effort lacked power and was easily saved by Binfield.
Two further cautions were issued early in the second half, firstly to Scott Packer, followed almost immediately to Liam Hendy.
A strong break by Golds down their left flank ended with a good effort on goal which had Alieu Secka in difficulties, but he was able to gather the ball in at the second attempt.
Both sides made substitutions around the 63 minute mark. James Rhodes came on for Charlie Pitcher and , for Lancing, Mark Goldson replaced Tyrone Madhani. Goldson was quick to show an eye for an opening and hit a fierce drive from just outside the box and was only denied a goal to put Lancing in front by a superb save at full stretch by keeper Binfield.
Lancing made their second substitution on 75 minutes with Charlie Towning coming on for Darius Goldsmith.
Lancing were keeping up the pressure as the game entered the final ten minutes of normal time, but Mo Zabadne had to take drastic action to prevent a dangerous break down The Golds left. No complaints about the award of a caution against him and, two minutes later, Tom Butler joined him in the referee’s note book.
With only minutes to go Mark Goldson and Modou Jammeh both came close to getting the ball over the line and, right at the death Liam Hendy was in the right place to block an attempt by Finn Daniels-Yeoman, a couple of yards from the goal- line.
So, honours were even. Some held the view that a draw was a fair result. Certainly, there were spells of entertaining end to end play, with both sides guilty of some carelessness, resulting in lost possession. However, on analysis, whilst The Golds created goal scoring chances, in my view, Lancing had more efforts on goal and came closest to getting a winner.
A point puts Lancing at 14th place on 40 points, one more than Three Bridges, two more than Burgess Hill Town, three more than VCD Athletic( who have a game in hand), four more than Haywards Heath. East Grinstead have one more point than Lancing, and they have a game in hand. Interestingly, Three Bridges are home to Littlehampton on 15th April. Corinthian and Faversham look doomed as the bottom two.
No dispute about committee choice of Player of the Match. Marcel Powell’s excellent wing play made him the clear selection. Well done Marcel.
Two games to go with Lancing showing enough ability to keep themselves clear of the bottom four.