Pitching In Isthmian League
South East Division
Saturday 10th February 2024
SEVENOAKS TOWN (The Oaks) 4 LANCING 2
Lancing arrived at the Bourne Stadium on the back of a convincing 2-0 mid-week away win over East Grinstead and were looking to reverse a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of The Oaks in October. A solitary Lukas Franzen-Jones first half goal was overturned in the second half.
The Oaks had been briefed by manager Mark Dacey to expect a tough game, describing The Lancers as being “in a rich vein of form”, and saying that “they have nothing but respect” from him and that “they play great stuff”.
This obviously had the desired effect to motivate his players. In a game of ebb and flow Lancing came back from a half-time 2-0 deficit to level at 2-2 mid way through the second half but, just when it looked as though Lancing would go on to secure three points, the tide turned in the Oaks favour with two late goals.
Skipper Alex Laing was not fit to play so Dan Howick continued in the Lancing defence and Noel Fisher occupied a more defensive role on Lancing’s left midfield.
The Oaks recently said goodbye to Fumnaya Shomotun, whom I have previously described as “a thorn in the flesh” for Lancing. His ability had been recognised by National League South team, Dartford, to whom he had recently transferred. But The Oaks still had plenty of pace and trickery left, particularly from their no.7 Emmanuel Mensah on their right wing. It was Mensah who was providing a real challenge to Lancing on the left of their defence with his pace and close control. It was a burst from Mensah which took him into the Lancing box and which led to The Oaks taking the lead on 10 minutes. Mensah exploited space on Lancing’s left and as a couple of Lancing players got in a tangle trying to halt his run, the ball ran clear on the edge of the six-yard box, providing a simple tap in for Daniel Bennett.
Lancing were not deflated by this and mounted several good attacks getting the ball into the box and earning several corners. A clearance from a corner fell to George Taggart who tried his luck from distance but saw his drive clear the cross bar. A melee of players in the Oaks box frustrated Lancing attempts to get a strike on goal. Taggart and Knory Scott were at the heart of Lancing’s most promising moves. Scott found space and used the ball well, drifting in from wide on the right and linking well with team mates in support.
A deep cross from the right by Dan Howick only needed a touch to get the ball over the line but it cleared both attackers and defenders, going behind for a goal kick.
A loss of possession by Lancing just outside the box let Kieron Cadogan in but he dragged his effort wide of the upright. Shortly afterwards Cadogan received a dressing down from referee Thomas Way and a caution for what appeared to be a combination of a foul and failure to release the ball for a Lancing free-kick.
A Sevenoaks free kick put Emmanuel Mensah in on goal forcing Louis Rogers to dive low to make a save but the ball bounced up from him falling nicely for Mensah to head into an empty net. Lancing were up against it. Two down on29 minutes. Emboldened by this The Oaks piled on the pressure and Dan Howick had to be alert to head away a dangerous cross to the far post, quickly followed by Louis Rogers leaving his line to prevent Mensah getting to the ball.
Lancing finished the half on top. Knory Scott reached the bye-line but was blocked before he could deliver a cross. Lukas Franzen-Jones pivoted on the ball and struck for goal but got underneath the ball.
Lancing had a lucky escape when the usually safe handling by Louis Rogers deserted him momentarily but he made a superb recovery to reclaim the ball to prevent what would have almost certainly led to an open goal.
Noel Fisher was able to make some decisive passes at the end of the half setting up Lukas Franzen-Jones whose control let him down, followed by a good ball to Ben Pope but he was fouled thus preventing any attempt on goal.
No changes were made by David Altendorff for the second half. The left flank of Lancing, which seemed vulnerable in the early stages of the first half, was less open to the pace of Mensah.
Lancing came close to closing the gap after a good build up between Dan Howick and Ben Pope created an opening for Franzen-Jones but he found the side netting with a powerful effort. Good refereeing by Thomas Whay allowed Lancing to play on after Lukas Franzen-Jones had been pulled back. This provided Ben Pope with a shooting opportunity, but keeper Daniel Colmer was able to deal with it without too much difficulty.
Oaks sub. Daniel Carr played a one-two with Emansah and brought a fingertip save by Louis Rogers. Daniel Bennett and Carr both had efforts on goal blocked by Jack Meeres.
With 67 minutes gone, Lancing threw on another forward, Charlie Pitcher, taking off defender Dan Howick. This seemed to be the catalyst for Lancing to get back in the game a couple of minutes later. Andrew Briggs received the ball 10 yards or so outside the box, twisted one way and turned back onto his right foot and curled the ball into the far corner.
Lancing maintained the pressure and a sweeping pass from wide on the left from George Taggart landed at the feet of Knory Scott on the left. He quickly spotted Lukas Franzen-Jones moving into the box and laid the ball on for him to hammer the ball home. Two goals in less than 5 minutes and the sides were level.
But with less than 10 minutes of normal time left The Oaks were awarded a free-kick. Lancing defenders seemed to get in each other’s way, resulting in the ball running loose to Daniel Carr who restored The Oaks lead.
Two final substitutions were made by Lancing with Charlie Gibson and Harry Heath coming on for Lukas Franzen-Jones and Noel Fisher.
Lancing launched themselves forward. Andrew Briggs delivered a powerful effort on goal but Colmer was able to palm the ball down. Some good crosses were put towards The Oaks goal but no real chances were created. The Oaks had the final say catching the Lancing defence out of position as Jeraid Aboagye raced clear down the right laying the ball off for Kieron Cadogan in space and unmarked and able to pick his spot as the game went into 5 minutes added time.
One final attempt on the Oaks goal came from Knory Scott driving the ball towards the goal line from where it was volleyed clear.
A disappointing result for the Lancers to concede two late goals after clawing their way back into the game with some quality finishing and, with three points in sight they strove to make a second half comeback.
No change to Lancing’s place in the table. They still occupy 4th spot on 47 points. The Oaks edge closer but still only have 33 points in 9th place.
A lot of appreciation for some excellent ball control and disciplined positioning from Knory Scott, with a great assist for the second goal. A minibus full of supporters chose him as their Player of the Match.
Words – Dave Wilmott
Picture – Andy Weller
Video – Motohopper @kc_mcqueen
Lancing Starting XI;
Louis Rogers, Dan Howick (Charlie Pitcher), Jack Meeres, Sam Bull, Noel Fisher (Charlie Gibson85), Andrew Briggs, George Taggart, Charlie Bennett, Knory Scott, Ben Pope, Lukas Franzen-Jones (Capt.) (Harry Heath 85)
Unused subs; Eliot Jenks, Alex Plummer