Pitching In Isthmian League South East Division

Lancing 0 v Cray Valley (The Millers) 1

Attendance: 443


These two sides met eleven days after their 1-1 draw at The Artic stadium. The Millers then thought they had secured all three points from the penalty spot but their penalty taker made the mistake of hitting the ball in the net after it came back from the upright, not having touched anyone else.

The Millers away record boasts 7 wins out of seven with only 4 goals conceded and they occupy second place on 41 points. Lancing are just behind with 41 points but an inferior goal difference and have played four games more.

An intense schedule means that, once the forthcoming away games against East Grinstead and Littlehampton have been played, Lancing will have played 10 games in 32 days. This has taken its toll of the Lancing squad, and, as a result, both Charlie Pitcher and Knory Scott have picked up injuries which ruled them out of this game. In addition, although Charlie Bennett thought he had recovered from the muscle strain which forced him to leave the field in the Hythe Town game, he only lasted 45 minutes. Fortunately, there is depth in the squad and this provided the opportunity for Noel Fisher to make his first appearance since the away game at Sheppey United on 24th.Octber. Brother Leon was on the bench that day and took his place among the substitutes for this game.

The Millers were on the front foot from the kick off and, in the first minute, a long ball gave Barney Williams the opportunity to get in behind and, from his cross, the visitors came close to opening the scoring, but the ball was chipped over the cross bar from a few yards. Lancing enjoyed some good spells of possession, playing the ball confidently from the back. The Millers were testing the Lancing defence with some probing long balls but they were coping well. A cross field pass from Sam Bull was intercepted on the edge of the box, but Bull made a superb tackle to recover possession and snuff out what could have been a real threat on the Lancing goal.

Ben Pope was being tightly marked but was able to come off his marker and bring others into play as the ball was laid into him. A fine pass on the turn from Pope found George Taggart who headed goalwards but was closed down at the edge of the box.

Their most promising move came from Noel Fisher. He showed excellent close control, weaving in and out of several defenders but was closed down close to the goal before he could put in a shot

Sam Bull was in the right place on the goal line to prevent a shot from the pacy Michael Ademuluyi giving the Millers the lead on 22 minutes. An inch perfect dropped volley of a pass from Louis Rogers reached Noel Fisher on the half way line but he was quickly closed down before he could make much progress.

Andrew Briggs and George Taggart were working the ball well through the middle and Lancing were a threat from Alex Laing’s surging runs from the right back position. Lancing’s final pass was not clinical enough and was either overhit or intercepted by an alert Millers’ defence. Charlie Bennett did well to steal the ball as The Millers were bringing it out and appeared to have a clear run in on goal but his control deserted him before he could get a shot away.

Marcel Barrington forced his way to the bye line but hit his cross landed in the arms of Louis Rogers, who then had to be alert to dive low and gather in the ball to prevent Barrrington reaching the ball laid into him by Ademiluyi

Neither side could break down the well organised defences and the first half finished goalless. Lancing brought on Harry Heath and Dan Howick or the restart for Charlie Bennett and Charlie Gibson. An early corner almost produced a goal for The Millers but Alex Laing was able to head the ball away and clear a follow -up effort. Laing delivered a fine cross to Ben Pope who let the ball drop over his shoulder to set himself for a shot but, although on target, it was straight at the keeper.

The stalemate was broken on 62 minutes after a scramble in the Lancing box, following a disputed corner award, the Millers were putting the Lancing defence under pressure leading to a shot from the edge of the box from Denzel  Gayle, which Jack Meeres was able get down to and block, the ball being deflected from him to Barrington who bundled the ball into the net as he tumbled into the goal.

This acted as a motivator to The Millers and Lancing lost their way for a while. But Harry Heath was getting on the ball and driving forward.

A foul on Noel Fisher led to a free-kick, taken by Andrew Briggs. Dan Howick rose well to get his head to the ball which went the wrong side of the upright. Lancing re-energized as the game reached the final quarter. Dan Howick picked out Sam Bull with a long cross field pass and he delivered a cross which was cleared from the goal and out for a throw in. Alex Laing came out of a strong tackle with the ball and hit it towards Lukas Franzen-Jones but it was fractionally ahead of the striker.

The Millers seemed to be content to see out the game with some solid defending but Ademiluyi did bring a good save from Louis Rogers. Lukas Franzen-Jones linked up with George Taggart who delivered a cross to the far post. It dropped too low for Alex Laing to get any power into his header. In added time, Dan Howick hit a good cross into the box. Lukas Franzen-Jones cleverly back-headed it and Ben Pope met it with a diving header which just shaded the upright. Although Lancing finished the game strongly, they could not break down a solid defence which allowed Lancing very few clear-cut openings. At the other end, the Lancing defence was equally sound and reduced the Millers attack to very few good chances.

Two games against a side with the potential to finish top of the table and only one goal separated them, which is a massive compliment to Lancing which a good home crowd appreciated.

The choice of Player of the Match focussed on the Lancing defence. Sam Bull distinguished himself with some sound positional play, vital tackles and excellent distribution. So, a unanimous choice of Sam.

Dave Wilmott

Lancing Starting XI:

Louis Rogers, Alex Laing (Capt.), Jack Meeres, Sam Bull, Charlie Gibson (Dan Howick46), Andrew Briggs, George Taggart, Noel Fisher, Charlie Bennett (Harry Heath 46), Lukas Franzen-Jones, Ben Pope.

Unused subs:

Leon Fisher, Eliot Jenks, Alex Plummer


Dave Wilmott

Lancing F.C.