Pitching In Isthmian League

South East Division Saturday 16th March 2024

Lancing 3 v Erith and Belvedere (The Deres) 1

Attendance :361


After two successive draws against teams below us in the table, Lancing were anxious to get back on the winning trail. Having experienced how a team at the bottom of the table could mount a determined challenge, Lancing expected that the Deres would be desperate to close the four-point gap between them and Phoenix, just outside the relegation zone.

Lancing were well prepared by the coaching team tactically, mentally and physically, having faced a strong Worthing Utd in a behind-closed-doors midweek friendly, which they won 3-1. With George Taggart, and Charlie Pitcher not having recovered from their injuries and Destiny Ojo carrying a slight muscle strain after the friendly, some changes were necessary, so in came skipper Alex Laing, and Charlie Gibson as full backs and Ben Pope to partner Lukas Franzen-Jones in a twin spearhead.

The Deres were a little over eager trying to make their mark early in the game giving away a couple of fouls and this was to prove a pattern of their play as they mounted up 6 yellow cards before the game ended. But, on a positive note, they did have the first serious attempt on goal with well struck snapshot from 25 yards from Macey Mallon which flew narrowly too high.

Lukas Franzen-Jones had Lancing’s first effort on goal, swivelling on to a pass but firing wide of the upright. Franzen-Jones and Charlie Bennett combined to attack down the right winning a corner. Charlie Gibson’s in swinger reached Sam Bull just beyond the far post but his attempt to slice the ball in at the near post went wide.

Lancing came close to conceding from a well driven free-kick from Dave Martin but Louis Rogers, at full stretch, made an excellent save. It was Jordan Gillmore’s turn to show his skill between the posts, making a good save from Franzen-Jones who latched on to a through ball from Alex Laing. Charlie Bennett was just beaten to the ball, palmed away by Gilmore.

Knory Scott was seeing plenty of the ball and initiating some good build up play. He was able to get forward well and lay the ball off to Charlie Bennett who tried his luck from distance without success.

The Deres threatened with a burst down the right and a cross into the box. Charlie Bennett rose above everyone to clear the ball behind for a corner and followed this by another header to send the ball away from the box as it came in from the corner. Sam Bull won possession at the edge of the Lancing box and ate up some yards advancing forward before putting Charlie Bennett within shooting range. The move ended disappointingly as Bennett cleared the bar. He looked to be about to put himself in position for another effort on goal, breaking over the half way line before being tripped by Dan Parkinson, earning himself the first caution of the match.

Both Noel Fisher and Knory Scott were showing an ability to take on the opposition, twisting and turning keeping the ball glued to their feet, and getting into the opposing half before feeding the ball to Lancing’s twin strikers. A foul on Ben Pope by Cameron Andrews brought a second caution for the Deres and this was quickly followed by Alex Laing offending and receiving a yellow card.

Lancing were under pressure from a series of corners. Louis Rogers met the ball in with a punch clear, leading to a second corner, Alex Laing heading away but reaching the corner taker who curled a cross into the six-yard box which Rogers was able to, again, punch behind for corner which was met with a volley which flew wide.

Alex Laing got on the wrong side of referee James Colley a second time but earned a ticking off and, thankfully, nothing more.

Lukas Franzen-Jones was again put through and able to strike for goal but had his shot deflected for a corner. A rare slip by Gillmore saw him fail to hold on to the ball from the corner but he quickly recovered to reclaim it from Sam Bull.

As half-time approached Lancing got their reward for some good attacking play. Noel Fisher was solid into a tackle, winning the ball before laying it off to Franzen-Jones who wasted no time in hitting a dipping shot from 30 yards, which deceived Gillmore on its way into the roof of the net. A second goal looked on for Franzen-Jones as he closed in onto the ball being flicked goal wards by Charlie Bennett but it ran away from him. Lancing maintained the pressure on The Deres in added time and a well struck drive from Noel Fisher brought a good save from Gillmore but the ball ran clear from him to Ben Pope who reacted by steering the ball home as he fell. A two nil half-time lead was merited on the balance of play. The Lancing defence were in defiant mood, with Nic D’Arienzo faultless.

With the second half only seven minutes old, Lancing stretched their lead to three goals. Ben Pope rose to the ball at the edge of the box putting defender Rob Strachan under pressure, with the ball dropping to Lukas Franzen-Jones who coolly stroked the ball past Gillmore, giving the Deres a mountain to climb.

Lancing took the opportunity to rest Sam Bull, bringing on Dan Howick on 56 minutes. Noel Fisher continued to torment the opposition with another strong run which took him to the edge of the box, finishing with a shot heading for goal until deflected. Knory Scott took his cue from this and his close control took him into the box with a finish which was blocked behind for a corner. Scott, revelling in his call up for The Bermudan National team and their forthcoming fixtures against Brunei and Guinea, was showing his international class with his trickery with the ball at his feet, and weaved his way through a couple of defenders but was fouled as he was about to pull the trigger. Charlie Gibson, whose left foot had been put to good use as he passed the ball out from the back, was given the responsibility of taking the free-kick. It took a magnificent save from Gillmore to keep out Gibson’s effort which was curling into the top corner and which would have earned him his first goal of the season.

Alex Plummer replaced Andrew Briggs on 64 minutes and within two minutes, The Deres gave themselves a glimmer of hope when sub. Obed Yeboah found himself in acres of space as he was the unintended beneficiary of a long back pass from Ben Pope .Yeboah kept his cool and found the net on 66 minutes.

Lancing were not content to sit on a 2 goal lead and almost struck back immediately. Alex Laing and Knory Scott combined on the right to put Ben Pope on a run towards the bye-line but he could only find the side netting. Lancing looked to be exposed as Alex Laing, as sole defender in position, had to deal with an awkward bouncing ball but he remained calm, heading the ball back to Louis Rogers. With the Lancing defence well in control, Charlie Gibson had licence to get forward and tried again for the elusive first goal with another left foot effort from the edge of the box but it took a wicked deflection away from the goal.

Lancing made their final substitution on 82 minutes with Leon Fisher coming on for Charlie Bennett but were still looking to increase their lead with Lukas Franzen-Jones, with a second hat trick in sight, being tackled as he advanced on the goal. Knory Scott picked up the loose ball and brought another superb fingertip save from Gillmore. The resultant corner was knocked back from Dan Howick to Ben Pope who hit the ball on the turn but over the bar. With the game in added time Gillmore, once again, pulled off point blank save from Franzen-Jones, receiving a well-placed lay off from Ben Pope. Further scoring opportunities came Lancing’s way in the dying minutes. Knory Scott won a free-kick which Charlie Gibson delivered into the six-yard box and which Ben Pope was inches away from getting his head to. Scott again created an opening for Franzen-Jones with a superb pass but Gillmore was not to be beaten again. Ben Pope had the last word with shot on the turn, narrowly the wrong side of the upright.

In the end, a disciplined Lancing defence were able to contain The Deres, who put a lot of effort into trying to disrupt Lancing’s rhythm but were guilty of a number of fouls, culminating in 6 cautions. Keeper Gillmore was responsible for denying Lancing a greater margin of victory with some fine saves. The selection of twin strikers paid off with Lukas reaching 22 goals, and a welcome goal from Ben Pope, after a brief barren spell.

Lancing continue to occupy 4th place on 55 points, two points above Chichester who will be at Culver Road on 30th March. Behind them, 6 points below, sit Three Bridges and Herne Bay, both of whom have a game in hand. Ramsgate are next in line for Lancing. They are 2 points clear of Cray valley at the top. They have only lost 3 games this season, but one of those was 4-2 at Culver Road.

It was an almost impossible task to select Player of the Match. Apart from the eventual choice, names in the hat were Noel Fisher, Knory Scott, Charlie Gibson, Lukas Franzen-Jones. But, out of respect for our most senior committee member, who was full of praise (undoubtedly well deserved) for his selection, we agreed that Nic D’Arienzo was a worthy choice. I don’t think he put a foot wrong in the entire 90+ minutes, Nic has settled in well since his return to Lancing from Burgess Hill.


Lancing Starting XI:

Louis Rogers, Alex Laing (Capt.) Nicholas D’Arienzo, Sam Bull (56 Dan Howick), Charlie Gibson, Andrew Briggs, Noel Fisher, Knory Scott, Charlie Bennett (Leon Fisher 82), Ben Pope, Lukas Franzen-Jones.

Unused subs: Jack Meeres, Destiny Ojo.


Dave Wilmott