Pitching In Isthmian League

South East Division Saturday 24.02.2022

Attendance 160

Three Bridges 4 Lancing 1

Attendance 160


When these two sides last met at the end of October Three Bridges were occupying top position on 23 points with Lancing sitting just above mid-table, some 14 points adrift. The tables have turned since that day when Lancing inflicted a heavy 4-0 defeat. Bridges have slipped down the table having accrued 38 points and Lancing have moved up to 4th place on 50 points. But, as I said when I reported on that game, and, to quote Greavesy again, “It’s a funny old game Saint”

Lancing were missing skipper Alex Laing absent through illness. This opened the way for new signing, ex Lancer from a few years back, and more recently, a Burges Hill regular, Nicholas D’Arienzo, to make his debut.

There was much jubilation at the Jubilee Playing Field from the supporters of the men in black and amber but only the blues from the considerable away support (which boosted Bridges average gate by some distance) for the men in blue, as Bridges struck early to lead by two nil after 11 minutes.

It was hard to believe one’s eyes to witness the usually solid and reliable Sam Bull being dispossessed twice as Bridges began with energy giving Bull no time to dwell on the ball. Lancing survived the first loss with the ball being put behind for a corner but they were punished on the second occasion as Bridges raced away with the ball and set up Noel Leighton. Bridges leading scorer, on 16 goals, is not one to spurn a golden opportunity and put his side ahead on 9 minutes. Sam Bull then played a part in Bridges second goal, although in no way culpable. He will have played the ball back to Louis Rogers countless times and the Lancing keeper will have played the ball out safely and accurately. But, not on this occasion. Louis was guilty of a mis control and as he desperately tried to recover the situation only helped to prod the ball over the line as he stretched to keep it out.

Lancing came close to reducing the lead with a good strike from Knory Scott. The ball flew upwards off keeper Jasper Sheik before being cleared with a spectacular overhead kick. Lukas Franzen-Jones received a pass from Andrew Briggs, shooting on the turn but into the arms of Sheik.

Louis Rogers found himself in trouble, having lost the ball under pressure, but able to recover and concede a corner. Sheik was also in trouble as he was closed down by Charlie Bennett blocking the keeper’s clearance. With a large slice of luck, the ball might have rebounded from Bennett into the empty net. Instead, it swerved away for a goal kick.

Nicholas D’Arienzo had been showing that he possesses a peach of a left foot but also that he has another useful asset, a long throw in. He was able to reach into the heart of the six-yard box from some distance but The Bridges defence were able to prevent him doing any real damage.

Lancing were fortunate to survive losing possession to Ibrahim Jalloh which saw him bear down on the Lancing goal but waste a good chance clearing the cross bar.

Lancing were working hard to try and resist Bridges’ high tempo game and were able to create some goal scoring opportunities in the latter stages of the half. Noel Fisher and Knory Scott combined to enable Scott to drive the ball towards the goal only for it to strike a defender and go behind for a corner. Noel Fisher won a tussle for the ball and curled a shot just wide of the far post.

Bridges threatened to increase their lead with a quick breakaway but Louis Rogers was alert, coming off his line to secure the ball. Dan Howick delivered a cross which Sheik fumbled under pressure from Charlie Bennett but the keeper was able to regather the ball before Lancing could react. Dan Howick put Sheik under pressure causing him to lose the ball which fell to Howick who tried to get the ball into the net but was blocked.

Lancing made a substitution for the second half introducing an attacker, Charlie Pitcher for defender Sam Bull. Charlie was keen to make an instant impression and after an interchange of passes with George Taggart found Charlie Bennett with a cross into the box. Bennett shot on the turn but cleared the cross bar.

Bridges wasted a good opportunity to increase their lead when Nabeel Ghannam was put through by Jalloh but fired wide. Pitcher took on the Bridges defence with a pacy run sending the ball to Knory Scott who came close with a shot which ended up in the side netting. Lancing had another lucky escape when Brannon O’Neill broke through but also hit his shot wide.

Lancing were struggling to break down some close marking and create openings and on 68 minutes brought on another forward, Ben Pope for defender Dan Howick but, before he could make any impact, Noel Leighton sealed Lancing’s fate with his second after some clever footwork in the Lancing box.

An Andrew Briggs free-kick almost caught keeper Sheik out but he just managed to get a hand to the ball as it dropped perilously close to going in under the cross bar. Louis Rogers was also under pressure, twice having to punch the ball clear.

Lancing made their final substitution on 83 minutes with Charlie Gibson replacing Noel Fisher. Noel Leighton was denied a hat trick when a thunderous strike from outside the box rattled the cross bar. Referee Joseph Dann Pyke had managed to control the game without having to resort to any cautions until very late on. Ibrahim Jalloh. was dilly dallying on the ball, showing off a bit and a frustrated George Taggart brought that to an end unceremoniously to the displeasure of the official. Not satisfied with his first foul, Taggart committed a second on Jalloh from which a free-kick came close to be turned in at the upright.

Charlie Pitcher continued to take on the Bridges defence earning a corner from which Jack Meeres headed home for his first goal of the season but with 6 minutes of added time showing this was to be no more than a consolation. The final word came from 16-year-old Bridges substitute, George Falzon, making his debut, which he crowned within two minutes of his entry by diving low to a free-kick to head past a diving Louis Rogers.

Not quite cancelling out their 4-0 drubbing at Culver Road but it was a hardworking and energetic display from Bridges closing Lancing down and giving them little time to settle on the ball and establish any sort of rhythm. There can be no complaints at the 4 -1 score line. The two soft early goals seemed to have an adverse effect.

Not many performances worthy of earning a Player of the Match commendation but we felt that Knory Scott showed some sublime touches on the ball and was Lancing’s most creative player and so was our selection. Nicholas D’Arienzo settled into the team well.

A disappointing day out for a good Lancing following. Let us hope that this was a mere blip which will be corrected for the next game, at home to bottom of the table Beckenham town.


Dave Wilmott

Starting XI:

Dan Howick (Ben Pope 68), Nicolas D’Arienzo, Jack Meeres, Sam Bull (Charlie Pitcher46), Andrew Briggs, George Taggart, Noel Fisher (Charlie Gibson 83), Knory Scott, Lukas Franzen-Jones, Charlie Bennett.

Unused subs: Alex Plummer, Will Berry.