Pitching In Isthmian League

South East Division Saturday 9th March 2024

Broadbridge Heath (The Bears) 2 v Lancing 2

Attendance :152


Despite their position, 13th on 32 points, Lancing were mindful of the strong second half performance by the Bears which tested the Lancing defence when the sides met at Culver Road. Lancing were 2-1 winners but it was a tight game. The expectation was that Lancing would have to be at their best to secure maximum points with the Bears coming in to the game on the back of successive wins against Littlehampton and Sevenoaks.

Two changes were made by David Altendorff from the starting XI which faced Beckenham Town. George Taggart had not recovered from the ankle injury which forced him off against Beckenham and this gave an opportunity for Alex Plummer and, after a strong showing when he came on as substitute in that game, Destiny Ojo was selected, with Charlie Pitcher dropping to the bench.

Two familiar faces in the Bears line-up, were ex-Lancers Ashley Mutongerwa and Kyle Sim, who had faced the Bears at Culver Road. Sim helped to form a strong looking Bears defensive unit with ex-Bridges players, Ryan Blackpool and Tad Bromage, brother of former Lancing keeper Mitch.

Lancing began brightly and had the first efforts on goal from Nic D’Arienzo, which brought a low save from keeper Alfie Hadfield who was also able to keep out a follow up from shot from Lukas Franzen-Jones. Franzen-Jones was close to latching on to a back pass to Hadfield but the keeper was able to reach the ball first. His clearance fell to Charlie Bennett but his strike on goal was blocked.

Ashley Mutongerwa came close for the Bears reaching the by-line but keeper Louis Rogers was able to reach his attempted lob without too much difficulty. Hadfield then had to deal with a well struck free-kick from Andrew Briggs, but shortly afterwards could only look on helplessly as a back pass from Tad Bromage by-passed him completely and rolled agonisingly close to going in at the far post. Bromage was a relieved man when all that he conceded was a corner.

Destiny Ojo was showing his ability to take on defenders with some powerful runs down the left and this paid dividends when, after some fine one touch passes between Alex Plummer and Lukas Franzen-Jones which put Ojo in behind, he was able to pick out Charlie Bennett with a floated pass into the box. Bennett was able deliver a firm header beyond Hadfield to notch his 10th league goal of the season and give Lancing the lead on 18 minutes. Ojo was involved in another attack, seizing on a misplaced pass to set up the unmarked Franzen-Jones. A goal looked to be a certainty but Hadfield was able to keep the ball out with his outstretched leg. Knory Scott, ostensibly operating on the right side of Lancing’s defence was popping up all over the place at times and making good use of the ball.

Sam Bull had made a number of sound tackles but referee Jacob Wright was not happy with one tackle and gave him a talking to, later he again offended sufficient to earn a caution. A free-kick ensued which called upon Louis Rogers to bravely punch the ball clear, being fouled in the process. Bull was a figure of strength and together with Jack Meeres and Nic D’Arienzo helped to form a closing of ranks to keep The Bears at bay as they got near to the Lancing box. Ben Aubrey executed a clever turn in the Lancing box but Louis Rogers was quickly off his line to get his body in the way to prevent Aubrey’s effort hitting the net.

As well as his strong defending, Sam Bull was using his left foot to deliver some inch perfect crosses from the left touchline to pick out a team mate wide on the right.

Another opportunity fell Lancing’s way when Lukas Franzen-Jones was put through but unable to apply the finishing touch. Charlie Bennett looked to have been fouled inside the box but referee Wright was unmoved.

The Bears were able to draw level on 39 minutes. Ashley Mutongerwa was put through on goal. Louis Rogers was able to spread himself and keep the ball out, but in parrying the ball away, it reached Sam Lemon who was able to plant the ball past the prone keeper.

Lancing were beginning to rue some missed chances but put this right in added time. A good build up by Knory Scott, breaking forward on the right gave him the opening to set up Lukas Franzen-Jones. Lancing’s leading scorer made no mistake, reaching 20 goals for the season to date (16 in the league) with a shot curled beyond Hadfield into the top corner.

Lancing won a corner early in the second half. The ball rebounded from the clearance off a player, almost reaching the net. Destiny Ojo’s pace got him in behind but an unkind bobble off the pitch caused him to put his cross behind the goal.

A header from a Bears free-kick came close to going in at the upright but was cleared behind for a corner by Charlie Bennett.

Neither set of forwards was able to create much of a threat on the opposing goals with both sets of defenders maintaining tight control. Lancing rang the changes on 61 minutes with Charlie Pitcher and Noel Fisher coming on for Alex Plummer and Noel Fisher.

Louis Rogers was kept busy having to leave his line to punch clear a dangerous cross into the box and this was swiftly followed by another punched clearance as a Kyle Sim long throw in reached the goal.

The Bears were gaining in momentum and Lancing were being pushed back but with Briggs and Bennett supporting the back line were able to prevent any threats on the Lancing goal. A defensive reinforcement was a called for and this brought Dan Howick on for the last 20 minutes with Knory Scott standing down. With a little over 10 minutes of normal time remaining, The Bears pressure paid off when defender Tad Bromage, The Bears joint leading scorer notched his seventh of the season, reacting first to a loose ball in the box, following a corner, to bring his side level.

A strong run by Charlie Pitcher looked to put him in with a shooting opportunity as he powered towards the edge of the box until brought down by Ryan Brackpool, earning himself a caution. Expectation was high as Andrew Briggs, proven to be lethal from the dead ball this season, lined up for the kick. Unfortunately, not one of Andrew’s best as he cleared the bar by some distance.

The final meaningful act of the game saw Dan Howick coming to his side’s rescue as he raced back to prevent the ball entering the net.

After a dominant first half, Lancing created very few threatening attacks after the interval and were on the back foot for a lot of the second half. Thankfully, the Lancing defence held firm until Bromage’s equaliser.

So, only two points out of six in the last two games. Lancing continue to hold on to 4th place but with Chichester picking up three points at home to Burgess Hill, they edge closer to Lancing’s 52 points, lying just behind on 50. Three Bridges were held at home to a draw by Herne Bay. Both sides have 48 points and each has a game in hand.

Sound defending and some excellent goal keeping from Louis Rogers were the plus points from this game and it was a defender, Sam Bull, who was the committee’s choice for Player of the Match.


Dave Wilmott

Lancing Starting XI:

Louis Rogers, Knory Scott (Dan Howick 69), Jack Meeres, Sam Bull, Nic D’Arienzo, Andrew Briggs, Alex Plummer (Leon Fisher61), Charlie Bennett, Noel Fisher (Charlie Pitcher 61), Destiny Ojo, Lukas Franzen-Jones.

Unused subs.

Charlie Gibson, Ben Pope.