Pitching In Isthmian League South East division
Sheppey United (The Ites) – 2 Lancing – 0 Attendance 735
Lancing Starting XI:
Alieu Secka, Will Berry, Marcus Allen, Tom Butler, Mahamadou Juwara, Finn Daniels-Yeoman (Capt.), Darius Goldsmith, Modou Jammeh, Reece Hallard, Tommy Blennerhasset, Marcel Powell.
Kane Louis, Mark Goldson, Mohammed Zabadne, Charlie Towning, Callaghan Stobbart.
When these two sides met in December, Lancing were robbed of a share of the points with a winner, a header from a corner, so late in the game that there was barely time for the referee to restart the game. They say lightening does not strike twice. But does it? Read on!!
There was a great atmosphere at The Total Power Stadium, Holm Park, as the teams ran out to a large crowd, many decked out in the Ites colours. A nice friendly, family feel to the ground. Although the Lancing supporters were considerably outnumbered, they were clearly visible wearing Lancing colours, well received by our hosts and gave plenty of vocal support to the Lancers.
Mo Juwara had shaken off his injury and was back in the side together with Reece Hallard, who had been unavailable for the previous two games.
Lancing began, looking confident as they played the ball out from the back, Marcus Allen and Tom Butler distributing the ball accurately keeping it on the deck. Mo Juwara and Marcel Powell were Lancing’s main line of attack with the pair linking up well on the left. But it was from Lancing’s left that the first real threat on the Lancing goal came, 13 minutes in, when Mo Juwara, surprisingly, lost possession opening-up a route towards the Lancing goal, which smart defending closed off.
Marcel Powell was enjoying plenty of forward momentum and able to create space and time for some good crosses into the six-yard box.
Lancing had a bit of a scare around the 20-minute mark, when Mo Juwara had to clear a dangerous cross from the left which came close to the goal line. There was a follow up effort which was put wide. Shortly afterwards, Marcus Allen stuck out a leg to clear a shot heading towards goal.
Lancing’s first serious effort on goal came from Marcel Powell, receiving a fine pass from Finn Daniels -Yeoman, beating his marker and cutting in from the left to curl a right foot shot just clear of the far upright.
Play was end to end as the half reached the 30-minute mark. The Ites came close with a header from a corner followed by Alieu Secka going down to save at his near post and some careless play by Lancing was almost punished by Josh Wisson letting fly from outside of the box with his shot fizzing just wide.
At the other end, Marcell Powell continued to make inroads towards the Ites goal but only able to put his effort over the bar.
Danny Leonard was the Ites danger man, testing Mo Juwara to the full down the right flank, putting balls into the box which had Alieu Secka at full stretch to reach.
There were some awkward moments for Lancing as the balls came in. Marcus Allen ended up on the ground as he scrambled the ball clear, but was fouled in the process, and Tommy Blennerhasset was quick to spot danger clearing the ball from the six-yard box.
Lancing’s best move came in stoppage time. Darius Goldsmith and Tommy Blennerhasset worked a clever move, the ball being switched to Reece Hallard on the right who brought Darius Goldsmith back into the move. He laid on a fine pass for Modou Jammeh who took careful aim but he was just wide of the goal.
Some good movement from Lancing in the first half, with plenty of energy from Tommy Blennerhasset trying to keep pressure on the home defence but keeper Aidan Prall was far less busy than Alieu Secka.
Marcus Powell began the second half where he left off. Marcus Allen picked him out with a fine long pass and he set off towards goal, cutting in again from the left and curling another right foot shot which missed the target.
Alieu Secka had to be quick off his line to seize a ball played over the top. Lancing had to survive some early pressure with The Ites getting into the penalty area looking to get an early breakthrough but the back
four, Berry, Allen, Butler and Juwara held firm.
Lancing made their first substitution on 58 minutes with Kane Louis coming on for Modou Jammeh.
The Ites continued to get crosses into the box but Alieu Secka was able to deal with them, although, on a couple of occasions needed two attempts to hold on to the ball and any shots on target were well saved.
Lancing were not content to sit back to earn a point and driven on by Finn Daniels-Yeoman seeking out Marcel Powell were still able to create some good attacking moves down the left but keeper Prall was able to deal with the crosses into the box.
The Ites came close when a strong burst ended with a shot over the bar. Further substitutions by Lancing saw the introduction of Charlie Towning for Darius Goldsmith and Mo Zabadne for Mo Juwara. Kane Louis used his good ball control to lay off a pass for Marcel Powell who continued to deliver good crosses but found Prall again able to deal with it comfortably.
Just when it looked that Lancing’s defensive strength and midfield battling might be about to earn them a share of the spoils, Danny Leonard succeeded in getting the better of Will Berry, who had switched to left back with Mo Zabadne on the right, and managed to get a deep cross beyond Alieu Secka into a crowd of players at the far post. Sub Bradley Schafer rose above everyone to head into the top left corner. Two minutes from the end of normal time, so not quite as late in the game as at Culver Road. But close enough to say that lightening can strike twice.
With 4 minutes of added time to play, Lancing made a last- ditch effort to get an equaliser but were caught out with a couple of minutes left with a quick counterattack down their left. Warren Mfula and Mo Zabadne were neck and neck at full pelt. It looked likely that Mo would reach the ball but he received a barge sufficient to off balance him and send him sprawling. Such a clear foul that was surprisingly not spotted by referee Jake Woodman, who had hitherto got his decisions right. Mfula was now clear and could run in on goal with only Alieu Secka to overcome. He had time to pick his spot low beyond the Lancing keeper and that was that. So close to a point but nothing to show for a spirited performance, albeit one which exposed, again, a lack of finishing ability.
Lancing now lie in 15th place, with Sheppey United up to 4th. VCD Athletic occupy 17th place with a game in hand and 3 points behind Lancing. They are away to Cray Valley midweek and East Grinstead on the final day. Haywards Heath are in 18th and cannot catch Lancing. If VCD lose midweek their vastly inferior goal difference mean it will be highly unlikely they can overtake Lancing, whose final game is home to Sittingbourne.
A good support for the Lancers at Holm Park. There was support for Alieu Secka, Tom Butler, and Marcus Allen for Player of the Match, but Finn Daniels-Yeoman with a driving performance, covering so much ground, spraying some superb passes out wide and urging his team mates on even after going behind, was a worthy selection.
Interesting to read the comments of a very fair-minded Ites manager, Jack Midson quoted in the Kent press. He described their win as flattering and that Lancing were a hard outfit to break down, Alieu Secka had good hands and kept gathering everything into the box. The Ites first deep cross beyond the Lancing keeper led to the first goal. He felt that both sides cancelled each other out but there was a lack of quality in the final third. Praise for the link up play between Mo Juwara and Marcel Powell and for Modou Jammeh in the number 10 role, combining with Tommy Blennerhasset to press the Ites defence. Lancing had good players who switched the ball well.
He also thought that Mo Zabadne was likely to have reached the long ball which led to the second goal and he was surprised that Jake Woodman did not blow his whistle (for a foul by Mfula).
Some compensation to have received such plaudits from the opposition but I expect we would have preferred 3 points!!