Pitching In Isthmian League
SOUTH EAST DIVISION.
LANCING 4 V THREE BRIDGES O 28.10.2023
Three Bridges arrived at Culver Road as hot favourites to cement their place at the top of the table. The statistics were overwhelmingly in their favour. Played 9 (league games), scored 27, points 23. Lancing had found scoring to be difficult with only 8 scored in 7 games. But as Greavesy used to say “It’s a funny old game Saint”
Lancing were without the suspended Kyle Sim. Jack Meeres was back, having recovered from injury and Sam Bull partnered him at centre back. Not having been available for Sheppey, it was good to see leading goal scorer Lukas Franzen-Jones back.
Bridges started on the front foot, and it was looking ominous for a little while as Talloh slipped the ball behind the Lancing defence for Lawson to run on to. But he fired straight into the arms of Louis Rogers. Ethan Archer, who was to prove Bridges most potent weapon, picked up the ball from deep, ran towards the box but his finish was well above the cross bar.
Lancing appeared nervy during the opening 10 minutes or so, as demonstrated by a Charlie Gibson attempted clearance, which cleared the fence behind the goal. This was matched immediately afterwards when Bridges laid the ball from the corner to an awaiting player who also put his effort out of the ground at a similar height.
Lancing began to find their feet with George Taggart sending Knory Scott scampering down the left, looking suspiciously offside. He hit an early cross into the box, the ball just evading Lukas Franzen-Jones.
Lukas and Charlie Bennett then vied with each other to get on the end of a cross from the right. Alex Laing left his full back for dead wasting no time with his delivery, which had keeper Jasper Sheik stretching to put the ball beyond the two Lancing players.
With 22 minutes gone, Alex Laing began a move cutting in from the right passing the ball forward to Lukas Franzen-Jones. The ball came off him towards a defender whose poor clearance came back to the Lancing striker, allowing him to rifle the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the box. This was the boost Lancing needed. Bridges threatened to cancel out the lead shortly afterwards, but the offside flag came to Lancing’s rescue. Bridges then rode a foul tackle, with the referee allowing advantage as the visitors motored towards the Lancing penalty area. Lancing committed a second risky tackle, and a free kick was awarded just outside the box. The Lancing wall did its job and Lancing launched a quick counter attack. Lukas Franzen-Jones held the ball up well for Knory Scott to race along the byline earning a corner. This led to Lancing’s second goal on 30 minutes. Again, the corner was not properly cleared. Knory robbed Archer of the ball and hammered it past the, probably unsighted, Sheik.
Alex Laing was in a dynamic mood and delivered a perfectly weighted pass to put Lukas Franzen-Jones in with a sight of goal. His effort from a tight angle was blocked by Sheikh but the clearance only reached Alex Laing coming off him to George Taggart who evaded Archer and curled a left foot shot into the keeper’s right corner. 33 minutes gone with Lancing three up, which gave Bridges a real challenge to maintain their unbeaten league record.
A long clearance by keeper Sheik put Jalloh, who had scored a hat trick in Bridges last outing against Littlehampton, in on goal but a combination of Tyrone Madhani and Louis Rogers snuffed out the threat. Jalloh was causing some anxiety in the Lancing defence and getting free to deliver crosses into the box, forcing Lancing into conceding corners but they were solid in defending the penalty area as corners were driven in.
Alex Laing was again the provider for Lukas Franzen-Jones but Sheik was off his line to smother Lukas’ effort.
Ethan Archer had been kept under control by Charlie Gibson, but he escaped close attention towards the end of the first half, letting fly from a good 25 yards. Louis Rogers pulled off a superb one handed save to deny Bridges a dressing room lift. Lancing had a good opportunity to have the final word before the break when Knory Scott teed up George Taggart but, for once, his accurate left foot let him down, with his effort clearing the cross bar.
Bridges came out all guns blazing in the second half. Sam Bull had to stretch to make a vital interception, followed by Louis Rogers making a good save at the foot of the post. Jalloh was again busy clearing the cross bar with another effort on goal and forcing Jack Meeres to stoop low to head away another of his attempts on goal. Archer was also on the attack, weaving his way across the edge of the box but again off target with his finish.
Alex Laing came close to getting on the score sheet with a shot which came back off the keeper and which he then hit back towards the goal only to see Sheik stretch to palm the ball away.
Bridges were maintaining pressure on the Lancing defence, but they were standing firm, not giving an inch.
George Taggart won possession on the right touchline and sent Charlie Bennett clear. He laid the ball on for Lukas Franzen-Jones who cleverly dummied allowing the ball to reach Alex Laing who hit it past a defender into the net. With only 15 minutes left it looked all over for Bridges. Alex Plummer came on for George Taggart, James Hull for Lukas Franzen-Jones and Dan Hull for Charlie Gibson, to help see out the game for Lancing. There was still work for Louis Rogers to, do having to deal with a free-kick. Despite being baulked he managed to hold on to the ball as it fell to the ground.
Bridges almost earned a consolation striking the upright in added time, the ball rebounding away to safety.
A well-earned victory for the Lancers. Bridges had some lively forwards who loved to run with the ball but a combination of poor finishing and a well organised, disciplined Lancing defence enabled the home team to keep a clean sheet. What had been the missing ingredient so far this season, putting the ball in the back of the net, was not missing today. Four goals will boost confidence for the games ahead. And it could have been more. There was certainly a desire to get forward to try and hit the target.
Bridges remain well clear at the top of the table, and Lancing move up to 9th.
Corporate sponsors, Foster & Co., Estate Agents, Sales & Lettings etc of 46 North
Street, Lancing selected Charlie Gibson as their Player of the Match. Well deserved. Charlie showed great discipline, made a number of fine tackles and used the ball well.
Louis Rogers, Tyrone Madhani, Jack Meeres, Sam Bull, Charlie Gibson, Andrew Briggs, Charlie Bennett, George Taggart, Alex Laing(Capt.), Knory Scott, Lukas Franzen-Jones.
Substitutes: Daniel Hull, Will Berry, Alex Plummer, James Hull, Noel Fisher.