Pitching In Isthmian League
South East Division .11.11.2023
Lancing 2 v Broadbridge Heath (The Bears) 1
After a respectful minute’s silence on Armistice day, the game got underway. Lancing were looking to build on their best performance of the season, with their 4-0 victory over table topping Three Bridges, by notching up a second successive league win for the first time this season. Only one change from the previous line-up saw Jacob Thompson being rewarded for his patience coming in for Tyrone Madhani at right back. After serving his one match suspension, Kyle Sim was back, on the bench.
The Lancing faithful were hoping to give a warm welcome back to four ex-Lancers, Mohammed Zabadne, Bradley Campbell-Francis, Ashley Mutongerwa and Faris Khallouqi, now wearing the colours of the Bears, but, in the event, Faris Khallouqi was the only one present, lining up as no.8.
Lancing tested keeper Liam Matthews within minutes of the start with Charlie Bennett latching on to a fine ball over the top from Charlie Gibson but seeing his shot well blocked at the near post by Matthews. The game progressed with Lancing looking particularly threatening down their left flank. Knory Scott demonstrating why he had earned a call-up to the Bermudan national team with some clever footwork and close control. A fine understanding was developing between Scott, Charlie Gibson and George Taggart, who were inter-passing well, allowing Scott to get into promising positions behind the Bears back line. Scott’s first attempt on goal, after cutting in from close to the byline, ended up in the side netting, but he continued to make a nuisance of himself, getting forward and delivering the ball into the box. Liam Matthews was again called upon, this time keeping the ball out using his feet.
A delightful floated cross from Alex Laing found the head of Charlie Bennett but his attempt to set up Lukas Franzen-Jones came off him into the keeper’s grasp. Lukas Franzen-Jones then found space in the box to receive a ball played in from the bye-line by Alex Laing but could not quite apply the finishing touch. Another cross from Laing seeking to set up Franzen-Jones was cleared but Charlie Gibson was quick to intercept it and finish with a low drive which was inches wide of the upright.
Knory Scott paved the way for Lancing to take the lead on 32 minutes, twisting and turning wide on the left and having his legs taken away, earning a free-kick. Andrew Briggs drove the ball towards the near post where it was met with a glancing header from Charlie Bennett, the pace on the cross helped the ball to hit the back of the net in a flash.
The Bears came close to cancelling out the lead within minutes but two outstanding saves by Louis Rogers prevented what looked to be a certain goal. The first save was stunning but the second even better as Louis had to rise from the ground to keep the ball out, conceding a corner. There was still work to do as he came from his goal line to punch the ball well clear.
The Bears had been under pressure for most of the half but had a brief good spell after going behind. Lancing were guilty of giving the ball away in their own half and had Andrew Briggs to thank for making a vital clearance. Lancing hit back with George Taggart winning the ball and driving a cross into the box forcing The Bears to put the ball behind for a corner under pressure from Lukas Franzen-Jones.
Nothing became of this but Lancing were again to profit from some sublime skill from Knory Scott sending George Taggart through on the left, who laid the ball back for Lukas Franzen-Jones to increase his tally for the season to 9 with a clinical finish on the stroke of half-time.
The Bears came out with a determination to turn the game around, driven on by some dynamic play from Adrian Todd. Sam Bull halted a dangerous attack with a fine tackle. But with only six minutes into the second half, Jack Meeres , who had been in commanding form in the centre of the defence, sustained a knock and was replaced by Kyle Sim.
Apart from his superb double save in the first half, Louis Rogers had not been greatly troubled but he was kept busier in the second half. The first piece of action saw him diving low to take the ball away from an onrushing attacker. A long pass from Rogers reached Jacob Thompson on the right touchline. He did well to reach the ball and head it on to Alex Laing who drove into the box and had his effort on goal blocked by Matthews.
The Bears continued to press forward and Louis Rogers had to react quickly to deal with a shot low to his near upright.
Fresh legs were called for to keep The Bears at bay and so Dan Hull came on at 64 minutes with Charlie Gibson making way. But with 20 minutes to go The Bears gave themselves hope with a superbly struck free-kick from Jamie Chesworth which was out of Rogers reach, landing in his top right corner.
Lancing hit back immediately with Andrew Briggs bursting forward, riding a foul, with the referee sensibly allowing advantage, as Briggs played in Charlie Bennett with a clear run on goal. A good opportunity went begging as Bennett failed to control his shot which flew well clear of the cross bar. Louis Roger was again Lancing’s saviour at full stretch, putting a goal bound effort behind for a corner and then Kyle Sim had to make a vital block as Lancing were again pressed back.
James Hull came on for Lukas Franzen-Jones on 81 minutes and came close to increasing Lancing’s lead, beating Matthews in a race for the ball, lifting it over him and just as it looked as if an empty net beckoned, a defender appeared to clear the ball from the goal line. Lancing managed to keep the Bears at bay and came close to a third goal with a speculative effort from Knory Scott from wide on the right which landed on top of the cross bar.
There was still time for The Bears to get forward again but, as the ball ran loose in the box, Louis Rogers was again on hand to get down and gather it in.
From a position of strength in a dominant first half, with two goals being a poor return for some excellent attacking play, the second half was a different story. The Bears tested the Lancing defence which held firm with superb backing from keeper Louis Rogers. Another three points move Lancing up to 8th place with Broadbridge Heath dropping down to 15th place on 9 points.
No doubt as to the Player of the Match, with people impressing upon me their opinion that it had to be Louis Rogers. Apart from the outstanding double save in the first half, there were other important, if less dramatic saves, allied with safe handling and faultless distribution. So, a unanimous choice of Louis.
LANCING STARTING XI;
Louis Rogers, Jacob Thompson, Jack Meeres(Kyle Sim 51), Sam Bull, Charlie Gibson(Dan Hull 64), Andrew Briggs, Alex Laing (Capt.),George Taggart, Knory Scott, Charlie Bennett, Lukas Franzen-Jones(James Hull 81)
Unused subs: Alex Plummer, Harry Heath