Pitching In Isthmian League

South East Division.30.09.2023

Lancing 3 v Littlehampton Town (The Marigolds) 2


Lancing and Littlehampton were both without a league game since the end of August. Lancing had played in 5 cup matches, eventually exiting all competitions.  Littlehampton had only played one competitive game, losing to Westfield in the F.A.Trophy .So, both sides were eager to put some league points on the board.

There was a warm welcome for ex-Lancers, Liam Hendy, Tom Butler and Ollie Starkey, now wearing the colours of the Marigolds. Lancing were pleased to be able to include Charlie Bennett and Jack Meares in the starting eleven, both of whom had missed recent games through injury.

Lancing enjoyed the lion’s share of possession during the first half with Littlehampton being forced into chasing shadows. Lancing created several scoring opportunities with Lukas Franzen-Jones prominent in and around the Marigolds penalty area. Good approach work from George Taggart led to the ball reaching Franzen-Jones who shot quickly on the turn, but his effort was wide of the far post. George Taggart looked to have provided an excellent assist for Harry Heath on 15 minutes with a well-judged pass over the top of the opposition back line. Harry Heath was on to it in a flash lobbing the ball over keeper James Binfield into the empty net. Joy was short lived as the offside flag was raised.

Charlie Bennett, an attack-minded full back, broke forward into the Marigolds half, shrugged off a foul, the referee allowing advantage, set up Lukas Franzen-Jones but he was quickly closed down before being able to get a shot away.

Littlehampton managed to cause a couple of difficulties for the Lancing defence but Will Berry kept a cool head to control a bouncing ball and steer it away to safety. This was followed by Dion Jarvis doing well to reach the by-line and drive the ball across the goal, forcing Alieu Secka to palm it away. It ran loose for a couple of yards but, before anyone in Marigolds colours could pounce, Lancing had the ball clear.

Lukas Franzen-Jones continued to be Lancing’s main line of attack .Andrew Briggs and Charlie Bennett combined to create a chance for the Lancing striker but his shot across the face of the goal was deflected behind for a corner and he was just pipped to the ball by Binfield as he ran onto a pass over the top from Alex Laing.it was Laing’s turn next to be close to getting on the end of a lofted pass over the top ,the provider being Andrew Briggs, but a defender was able to get his head to the ball nodding it back to the keeper.

Lancing kept up the pressure on the visitors’ goal. Binfield was able to get a hand to a free kick driven in from wide on the right. Lukas Franzen-Jones took on a couple of defenders, winning a corner which Binfield punched clear. But Lancing were maintaining the pressure and finally took the lead on 35 minutes. Andrew Briggs put Harry Heath in behind. His cross was cut out for a corner which the Littlehampton defence failed to deal with. James Hull was first to the loose ball getting it across the line. This was Harry Heath’s final contribution as he left the field with an injury to be replaced by Jaevon Dyer.

Lancing came close to increasing their lead after good interplay between James Hull and Lukas Franzen-Jones, the latter setting up Alex Laing but his effort was sliced wide. But, shortly afterwards, a minute into added time, Lancing were two up. Dan Hull had been brought down. The free kick from George Taggart was met by Lukas Franzen-Jones who found the net with well taken goal.

With the second half barely 4 minutes old, Lancing looked to have put the game beyond the Marigolds. Alex Laing and Lukas Franzen-Jones worked an opening for James Hull to notch his second with a close-range finish. But the Marigolds were not finished and in the 55th minute gave themselves hope. Dan Hull just failed to cut out a ball played down the right from where it was laid into the path of Dion Jarvis who hit the ball beyond Alieu Secka .

This was just the fillip The Marigolds needed. Still 35 minutes to play and the gap had narrowed. Lancing seemed to have switched off, allowing Littlehampton to raise their game and build up some forward momentum. Eight minutes later the visitors win a corner. Lancing fail to clear the ball which is scrambled over the line from close range by George Gaskin. Still almost half an hour of normal time to play and the lead has been reduced to one. Lancing are showing a touch of the jitters. Alex Plummer comes on for Lukas Franzen-Jones on 67 minutes to strengthen the midfield .2 minutes later, centre back Jack Meares is unable to continue and is replaced by Charlie Gibson, slotting in at left back with Dan Hull lining up alongside Will Berry.

Lancing manage to restore some control with Jaevon Dyer working hard on the right flank to get beyond the defence but The Marigolds are closing him down quickly.

George Gaskin hits a downwards header which bounces up toward the goal but Alieu Secka is just able to get a hand to it and push it over. Alieu then fails to hold on to a corner from the right. The ball is cleared but hammered back towards the goal forcing an outstanding save from the home keeper.

Lancing try to put pressure on the away defence. Alex Laing makes a strong run towards the final third, interchanges passes with George Taggart who slips the ball through for Laing to run on to but it is just too far in front.

Will Berry has to be alert to intercept and clear a ball running close to the goal line.

George Gaskin comes close minutes from the end of normal time curling an effort over the bar. Lancing have to see out 8 minutes of added time. George Taggart hits a powerful free-kick which is deflected off the wall and over the bar. Alex Plummer gets in behind with keeper Binfield out to dive bravely at his feet, sustaining an injury in the process. Lancing rediscovered some confidence in the dying stages and this was demonstrated by James Hull putting pressure on Liam Hendy, the last line of defence. James used his upper body strength to force his way past the centre back who brought Hull down as he was about to go clear. Tough on one of Lancing’s favourite players for several seasons but the referee had no option, under the rules, but to issue a red card. Some sympathy from sections of the home support as Liam trooped off. This was the last meaningful action of the game.

A vital three points for the Lancers, moving them up to 11th place, sharing 6 points with 5 other teams. Littlehampton occupy 15th spot on 4 points.

No contest for Player of the Match. Two goals and some strong battling from our no. 9 James Hull. Well-earned James.

Dave Wilmott