South East Division
Phoenix 1 v Lancing 2
Saturday 21 Oct. 2023.
Lancing travelled to Mayplace Road East looking to return to winning ways after three successive defeats. Their opposition, Phoenix were not finding things easy this season. Having played 9 league games, three more than Lancing, they sat third from bottom with only 5 points, one behind Lancing but with a -16-goal difference.
Lancing had new signing Louis Rogers making his second appearance in goal, but making his league debut. Also in the starting line-up was exciting prospect, Knory Scott, ex Hastings Town. A 24-year-old Bermudan national who has represented his home nation.
There was an audacious start to the game with Phoenix attempting to catch Louis Rogers unaware with a shot straight from the kick-off, but Louis was alert and not caught out.
It only took 4 minutes for Lukas Franzen-Jones to receive the first of many fouls, most of which went unpunished. Lukas cleverly turned his man who was penalised for his attempt to prevent him advancing into the box. Charlie Bennett was in an attacking mood hitting the by-line before being closed down by two defenders.
Phoenix caused a momentary scare for Lancing when a cross in from the right ran close to the far upright. Charlie Bennett continued to get forward, this time switching the ball to Lukas Franzen-Jones, who delivered a dangerous looking ball into the box which was headed clear. Lancing had an opportunity to test keeper Andy Walker, with a free kick for a foul on George Taggart. Andrew
Briggs dead ball spun upwards off the wall into the keeper’s arms.
Phoenix were sitting deep trying to close down space and frustrate Lancing as they pressed forward enjoying good possession. The first real threat from Phoenix came around the 25-minute mark, with a rapid break, which fell away when the offside flag was raised.
After a quiet baptism, Knory Scott came to life with some skilful work along the right flank, leading to a cross into the box which had the home defence struggling to defend. The ball ended up striking the upright before spinning away out of harm’s way. Knory followed this up a couple of minutes later with a shot on goal forcing keeper Walker to stretch to prevent Lancing taking the lead.
There was a bit of scare at the other end as a back pass was under hit by Tyrone Madhani, causing keeper Rogers to sprint out and attempt to hack the ball away as he was being closed down. The ball struck the attacker but rebounded behind for a goal kick.
Lukas Franzen-Jones was performing well, receiving the ball with his back to goal and trying to fend off the marking defender, whose close attention warranted some intervention by the referee.
Despite dominating the first half, Lancing occasionally lived dangerously. Kyle Sim was put in difficulty prompting Louis Rogers to come off his line to attempt to reach the ball. This was unsuccessful but the ball came off a Phoenix forward, running out of play.
Lancing finished the half strongly. A determined run from Alex Laing took him into the box before ending up on the ground. A strong claim for a penalty was waived away by referee Marcin Indyk. Lukas Franzen-Jones continued to look the man most likely to get on the score sheet for Lancing. A fine pass over the top from Kyle Sim just eluded Lukas, who was in the clear and, as the half ended, a clever pass from Tyrone Madhani again provided Lukas with something to run on to but the keeper beat him to the ball.
Lancing spent most of the first half camped in the opposition half but Phoenix showed defensive discipline reducing Lancing to only a couple of close efforts on goal, and a possible penalty. But could they keep this up for the second 45 minutes?
This question was answered within 8 minutes. An early corner won by Knory Scott provided Kyle Sim with a headed attempt but the ball flew over the cross bar. Kyle then received the first of two cautions. But the deadlock was broken on the 53rd minute by George Taggart with a well struck drive which keeper Walker could not reach. Within a minute Andy Walker was to pull off the save of the match, somehow managing to leap to his left to keep out a superb drive from Lukas Franzen-Jones which was arrowing towards the top corner. Immediately afterwards, Lancing went two up, Charlie Bennett sliding the ball home. Bennett then became provider delivering a cross, which George Taggart was just able to get his head to but not able to direct goal-wards. Alex Laing had been tormenting the home defence with his direct runs towards the penalty area. He was on the receiving end of some poor tackles but Lancing could not take advantage of resultant free kicks.
Phoenix were now forced into abandon their defensive approach and showed that they could pose some problems for Lancing. Knory Scott showed a willingness to defend, chasing back, but forced into conceding a corner from which Phoenix were able to reduce Lancing’s lead. Michael Junior Sarpang rising well at the far post to score with a powerful header on 66 minutes. Immediately afterwards, Lancing brought on Dan Hull for Sam Bull.
George Taggart was battling to try and restore Lancing’s two goal advantage winning the ball but being fouled in the process. Andrew Briggs dead ball kick was off target. Briggs then won possession, sending the ball to Knory Scott who beat his man and drove the ball across the face of the goal with Lukas Franzen-Jones desperately diving to try to get his head to it.
On 79 minutes Lancing were baffled by the referee’s interpretation of what appeared to be a hard but legitimate tackle from Kyle Sim, in which he clearly won the ball. Naturally, the follow through of such a firm tackle is likely to bring the opponent to the ground. A second yellow was issued, leaving Lancing to battle through the remaining 11 minutes (plus 7 minutes of added time) with only 10 men. It was the sort of tackle administered by Norman (bites your legs) Hunter which he was able to get away with all those years ago.
Jack Meeres who had been in fine form, was struggling with a groin strain, and was replaced by Charlie Gibson on 76 minutes and the final substitution brought on Alex Plummer for Knory Scott.
Alex Laing continued to show plenty of energy with another strong run into the box, putting himself clear but dragging his shot wide.
Phoenix threw caution to the winds and were driving balls into the Lancing box, but sound defending and some fine goal keeping from Louis Rogers kept Lancing’s nose in front. Two late cautions issued to Charlie Gibson and Lukas Franzen-Jones did not unsettle the Lancers.
A nervy end to a game which Lancing had under control for the most part. An important three points which keeps them level on points with Broadbridge Heath and Burgess Hill, lying just above them.
Some strong attacking runs, a good number of aerial battles and tackles won and a match winning second goal were enough to make Charlie Bennett Player of the Match.
Lancing Starting XI:
Louis Rogers, Tyrone Madhani, Jack Meeres, Kyle Sim,Sam Bull, Andrew Briggs, Alex Laing(Capt.),George Taggart, Charlie Bennett, Knory Scott, Lukas Franzen-Jones.
Jacob Thompson, James Hull, Alex Plummer, Dan Hull, Charlie Gibson.