Pitching In Isthmian League
South East Division
Sunday 14th.January 2024
Erith and Belvedere (The Deres) 0 v Lancing 3
This was a rare Sunday fixture for Lancing, brought about by Erith and Belvedere’s ground share team Welling Utd ‘s FA Trophy fixture against Chesterfield on Saturday taking precedence over the scheduled Isthmian League match. The Deres and Lancing last met in season 2010/11 in the course of Lancing’s most successful F.A.Vase run. Lancing were eliminated by Holbrook Sports after winning through 5 rounds, including a 2-0 victory over The Deres.
The Deres languish in 19th place with only Beckenham Town below them but, with a new manager in place, Lancing were not approaching the game with a sense of complacency. There was a strong starting eleven with only two changes from the team that drew with Cray Valley, Charlie Pitcher and Harry Heath coming in for Knory Scott, who had received a knock in that game, and Ben Pope, who was on the bench.
The Deres began brightly and had the first effort on goal in the third minute with a well struck shot which swerved wide. Lancing gradually exerted some control with Lukas Franzen-Jones prominent, laying a pass into the path of Alex Laing who had made strides towards the box, but his finish was way off target. Harry Heath was busy on Lancing’s right flank and finished a good break with a pass in to Lukas Franzen-Jones but he was beaten to the ball when keeper Dillon Addai raced from his line to clear. Franzen-Jones was again in the thick of the action when the ball was rammed into George Taggart, rebounding to the Lancing striker in the clear on the left but his shot was blocked. He came close to opening the scoring after good interplay on the left between Charlie Pitcher and Charlie Gibson ending with a precision cross which Franzen-Jones met with a header which struck the cross bar.
Lancing took the lead on 26 minutes, Charlie Pitcher proving once again what a good signing he has been. Harry Heath executed a sublime flick of the ball over an advancing defender, which Charlie Pitcher met with a block buster of a volley which beat the keeper on his near post landing in the top corner.
The Deres came close to levelling when a low hard drive from a free-kick came back off Louis Rogers and it was a bit of a scramble in the Lancing six-yard box before the ball was eventually cleared. Harry Heath had a header saved before he put Lancing two up on 32 minutes. Keeper Addai was put under pressure by Lukas Franzen-Jones, the ball dropping to Charlie Gibson. He looked to have put himself in position to score but, unselfishly laid the ball into the path of Harry Heath, in a better place, who fired into the unguarded net.
Khemani Aiyanyo was showing some fine skill on wide left for The Deres and it needed Andrew Briggs to win the ball from him to prevent a dangerous attack from him.
The pass of the game saw Sam Bull hit a 50-yard cross field pass from deep on Lancing’s left to reach Harry Heath on the right touchline. He cut in towards goal and let fly with his left, the ball whistling past the far upright. Bull’s fine passing then picked out Alex Laing who had motored from the right back position and who came close with a well struck shot. This was the final meaningful action of the first half in which the hosts had failed to seriously test Louis Rogers, apart from an early free kick-kick.
Lancing introduced Alex Plummer for George Taggart for the second half. The Deres looked much sharper in the opening 15 minutes or so of the second half. Khemani Aiyanyo dispossessed Jack Meeres and broke towards the goal but failed to take advantage of a good opportunity to try for a goal and was soon closed down.
Harry Heath relieved some continued pressure on the Lancing goal, sprinting clear before releasing the ball to Lukas Franzen-Jones. Charlie Pitcher had made a supporting run but the pass fell behind him. The Deres had not given up and made some good progress towards the Lancing box but Lancing were dangerous on the counter attack. Alex Plummer set Harry Heath in on goal but his effort on goal was just wide.
Charlie Gibson made way for Dan Howick on 70 minutes, followed soon afterwards by Eliot Jenks replacing Andrew Briggs, as Lancing settled into a possession game preserving energy, no doubt with the forthcoming fixture against Hythe Town, barely 48 hours away, at the back of their minds.
Louis Rogers had enjoyed a fairly quiet spell but had to bring off a fine save getting a hand to the ball before it was volleyed clear. Lancing finally killed off any lingering hopes The Deres might have had of getting something out of the game, when Sam Bull broke down the left and drove the ball low and hard towards the near upright. Charlie Bennett was sharp enough to make contact steering the ball home with keeper Addai unable to keep it out, despite getting down low. Four minutes of normal time were left and Lancing saw the game out comfortably.
Lancing remain in 4th place, one point behind Sittingbourne but more tough challenges are looming when, firstly Hythe, then Cray Valley visit Culver Road.
For his overall energetic display, a fine assist for Charlie Pitchers goal and a good finish himself, Harry Heath was selected as Player of The Match.
Lancing Starting XI:
Louis Rogers, Alex Laing (Capt.), Jack Meeres, Sam Bull, Charlie Gibson, (Dan Howick 70) Andrew Briggs (Eliot Jenks 71), George Taggart( Alex Plummer45), Charlie Bennett, Harry Heath, Lukas Franzen-Jones, Charlie Pitcher.
Unused subs: Jacob Thompson, Ben Pope.