Pitching In Isthmian League

South East Division.

Tuesday 9th January 2024

Cray Valley (The Millers)1 v Lancing 1

Attendance 140


After a busy schedule over the festive period, which saw Lancing achieve a maximum 9 points, the New Year offered no let up, with fixtures against the top two. Lancing showed their continued good form with a 4-2 home win against table topping Ramsgate and showed considerable defensive resilience to contain a strong attacking Cray Valley, occupying second place, to earn a share of the points. There was a shade of good fortune when a converted penalty was disallowed when Dela-Verde struck the upright and fired in the rebound without any other player having touched the ball.

Lancing kept faith with their successful starting XI and bench. They soon found that The Millers were motivated by Ramsgate dropping points to close the gap at the top and had Lancing on the defensive as they threw themselves forward at every opportunity with the directness of their play. Lancing were put to the test to deal with long balls fired down both flanks, using the pace of wide men, Lisbie and Gayle. Charlie Gibson, Sam Bull, Jack Meeres, and Alex Lang erected a solid barrier, making some well-timed tackles and getting their bodies in the way to block crosses. Cray Valley did not make the most of their opportunities and were wasteful at times, when in good positions. Jack Meeres was on hand to stretch and keep out a goal bound effort on 12 minutes. Lancing were finding it hard going to get beyond the The Millers defence. Ben Pope laboured well to try and get control of balls played in to him. Charlie Bennett, Knory Scott and Lukas Franzen-Jones were providing good support but home keeper Max Ovenden had little to do.

Denzel Gayle hit a powerful drive which took a slight deflection which then grazed the cross bar and Clement Asiedu latched on to a loose ball but fired wide. Lancing’s best attack came when Ben Pope had battled to win the ball and set Charlie Bennett on a run in behind. He hit the ball across the face of the goal to Lukas Franzen-Jones whose shot was deflected for a corner. The Milllers hit back through Matthew Vigor but he blazed over when well placed.

The half ended with Lancing thinking that they had taken the lead. Jack Meeres reacted quickly to get the ball over the line after it had rebounded from the upright, but the offside flag ruled it out.

For all their strong forward play, The Millers had not greatly troubled keeper Louis Rogers. Lancing had battled hard from front to back to stay in the game.

The second half began with Lancing continuing to hold a strong defensive line. There were a lot of physical battles which had to be won.

Lancing made their first substitution on 52 minutes with Charlie Pitcher coming on for Ben Pope who had taken quite a battering as Lancing’s main target man.Pitcher took up position on the left wing with Lukas Franzen-Jones in the centre. An inspired substitution as, having only been on the pitch for two minutes, Pitcher latched on to a superb pass from Alex Laing, racing clear and finishing in the far corner. Knory Scott had received a knock and was replaced by a defender, Dan Howick, taking over at full back from Alex Laing who took over Scott’s position.

The Millers got themselves level on 64 minutes. Andrew Briggs was harshly penalised with a free kick-kick being awarded against him at the edge of the box. The dead ball was flighted towards the far post and was met by a powerful header from centre back Cem Tumkaya, directing the ball into the far top corner.

Charlie Pitcher then came close to restoring Lancing’s lead, but his effort was blocked before being scrambled clear. The Millers then looked to have put themselves in position to go in front with a penalty award. Substitute Lyle Dela-Verde struck the upright and, although Louis Rogers had guessed correctly and came close to getting a hand to the ball, there was no contact, so when Dela-Verde planted the rebound into the net, as no others player had touched the ball, the “goal” was ruled out.

Lancing won a free-kick for a foul on Lukas Franzen-Jones, the ball was cleared away falling to Andrew Briggs who played it back into the box to Franzen-Jones whose shot on the turn was put wide for a corner. Lancing brought on Harry Heath for Lukas Franzen-Jones for the final minutes, the Millers continued to push for a winner. Matthew Vigour sprinted goalward but his shot cleared the cross bar and, as added time approached, Louis Rogers had to dive low to take the ball as an attacker closed in on goal.

That was it and Lancing were relieved when the final whistle blew. Lancing earned their point by hard work throughout the team. Not a game for the purists but sometimes you simply have to show great defensive discipline and composure, and this is what The Lancers showed.

Rather surprising to see a gate of only 140 for a team with a strong possibility of promotion, especially considering that their home F.A cup match against Charlton Athletic drew a crowd of 1,550. With Ramsgate rebounding from their defeat by Lancing with a 5-0 win against East Grinstead on 10th Jan, the gap between the top two is now 11 points, with the Millers having three games in hand.

Only a small band of loyal supporters at the Artic Stadium but there was a majority for Jack Meeres as Player of the Match. Really solid defending prevented a certain goal and was unfortunate to have put the ball in the net but only to have his “goal” disallowed.


Dave Wilmott

Lancing Starting XI:

Louis Rogers, Alex Laing (Capt.), Jack Meeres, Sam Bull, Charlie Gibson, Andrew Briggs, Charlie Bennett, George Taggart, Knory Scott (Dan Howick 58), Lukas Franzen-Jones (Harry Heath 86), Ben Pope(Charlie Pitcher 52).

Unused subs: Alex Plummer, Eliot Jenks.