Pitching In Isthmian League
South East Division Tuesday 6.02.2024
East Grinstead (The Wasps) 0 v Lancing 2
Both sides came into this re-arranged fixture looking to bounce back from defeats in their previous game. The Wasps were smarting from a surprisingly heavy 7-1 defeat away to Chichester and Lancing had suffered a 3-0 home defeat at the hands of Herne Bay.
Skipper Alex Laing was back for the Lancers and Ben Pope, who had suffered an injury and had to be replaced in the first half of the Herne Bay game, was fit enough to take his place on the bench. Charlie Pitcher was still not ready to return.
Two former Lancing favourites, Matt Daniel, now recovered from a broken leg sustained playing for The Wasps at Hythe in March 2023, and Harrison Parker, skippering his side, lined up against The Lancers.
Lancing began with a determination to show that their dip in form against Herne Bay was a mere aberration, as they used their left flank to good effect. Crosses came in from George Taggart and Sam Bull but too much elevation took them out of reach beyond the far post. Knory Scott was enjoying good possession and his attempt to deliver a clever through ball, which would have put Lukas Franzen-Jones within striking distance of the goal, caught a deflection off a defender but as the defender did not deliberately play the ball Lukas was correctly ruled offside.
A clever back heel by Scott set Sam Bull in behind and his dangerous cross was headed clear for a corner. Lancing continued to dominate the early play and earned the reward for some enterprising play with a superb goal after 11 minutes. Jack Meeres combined with Lukas Franzen-Jones on the left and this allowed Lancing’s top scorer time to look up and pick his spot curling a right foot shot into the far top corner.
Noel Fisher and Alex Laing combined on the right with Laing being set up for a cross which culminated with a low drive from Sam Bull, which keeper Matte Pierson dealt with comfortably.
The Wasps had their first serious attempt on the Lancing goal with a burst in behind with Lancing looking for an offside decision which did not come. The ball was delivered across the penalty area where Camron Lawson stretched to reach it but it struck a defender and was deflected for a corner.
Matt Daniel, who, over the years, has made a habit of scoring against his former club, looked as if he would keep up that record but Louis Rogers came to his sides’ rescue coming off his line in a flash, spreading himself to keep the ball out.
Alex Laing was making good progress from the right back position and laid the ball into the path of Charlie Bennett with only the keeper to beat but he was thwarted by Pierson, the ball coming back to him. Knory Scott received the ball from Bennett and brought another save from the keeper. Laing continued to get forward on the right hitting a deep cross to Knory Scott but he was closed down, winning a corner.
Laing latched on to a fine pass, running from deep, and turned in from the right and struck a left foot drive heading towards the top corner which had Pierson stretching to get a hand to the ball, conceding a corner.
An accurate cross from Dan Howick from the right touchline reached Sam Bull wide on the left. Bull responded with a delicate flick of the ball to Charlie Bennett but he mishit his effort on goal, the ball lacking any power as it rolled towards Pierson.
For the second time, Louis Rogers had to deny Matt Daniel in almost identical circumstances with the keeper once again showing his speed off the line to block the effort on his goal.
The Wasps maintained some late pressure on the Lancing goal as half time approached with a mad scramble in the Lancing box as the ball ran loose before it was cleared away for a corner. Lancing were a danger along both flanks and were making threatening inroads into the final third but The Wasps created a couple of attempts on goal which could have punished Lancing but for the alertness shown by Louis Rogers.
It took Lancing less than 10 minutes to increase their lead when Charlie Bennett turned goal-wards from the left and drove the ball low into the far corner. A third goal almost came shortly afterwards. Andrew Briggs lofted a well-judged pass into the path of Lukas Franzen-Jones who brought a good save from Pierson. Pierson did even better when his outstretched leg denied Noel Fisher what looked a certain goal as he hit a powerful shot from the edge of the box.
The Wasps were making good use of Harrison Parker’s ability to deliver a long throw in but the Lancing’s defenders Dan Howick, Sam Bull and Jack Meeres were able to win the ball in the air and repel any danger. A headed clearance found Charlie Bennett in space in middle of Lancing’s half. He seized the opportunity to use his pace to motor into the opposition half but he was brought down by Harrison Parker, earning himself a caution.
Lancing needed to show some good game management to preserve their lead and maintain control. Fresh legs would help, so two substitutions were made around the 70-minute mark. Ben Pope and Harry Heath came on for Lukas Franzen-Jones and Noel Fisher, both of whom had worked hard, particularly in closing down the opposition. Andrew Briggs patrolled the centre of midfield, just in front of the back line to stifle Wasps attempts to play through the middle.
Heath had an early effort on goal with Pierson down low to make a save. Sam Bull was on hand to make a vital tackle as a gap opened up which could have proved fatal. Lancing benefitted from a good decision from referee Oliver Morris-Sanders to allow advantage after a foul on Ben Pope, the ball running to Knory Scott who hit a powerful left foot shot which Pierson just managed to push behind for a corner.
Lancing made their final substitution on 78 minutes with Leon Fisher coming on for George Taggart. Wasps sub Jerson Dos Santos showed some good control to give himself a shooting chance but fired his effort over the bar. Lancing’s final effort on goal came after Harry Heath had made a good break winning a corner from which it looked as if a Lancing header had found the net. It did but the side netting!!
Harrison Parker had the last word for The Wasps finishing off a strong run with a shot, bent with the outside of his left foot and grazing the outside of the upright, after a deflection.
Lancing thoroughly deserved their three points, which keeps them in 4th place on 47 points, 7 more than 5th place Sheppey. East Grinstead languish in 16th place with 24 points. For once, Matt Daniel came off the pitch goalless against his former club.
The Lancing defence looked assured and confident on the ball from start to finish. One of our loyal supporters expressed the view that you could not choose between any of the excellent centre backs for Player of the Match. A perfectly valid opinion, but after discussion we settled on Dan Howick, by a narrow margin. So well done Dan.
Lancing Starting XI:
Louis Rogers, Alex Laing (Capt.), Dan Howick, Jack Meeres, Sam Bull, Andrew Briggs, George Taggart (Leon Fisher 78), Charlie Bennett, Noel Fisher (Harry Heath 69), Knory Scott, Lukas Franzen-Jones (Ben Pope 68).
Unused substitutes: Alex Plummer, Charlie Gibson.