Pitching In Isthmian League

South East Division

Lancing 3 v East Grinstead (The Wasps) 0


Saturday 6th April 2024

Attendance 280


After the turmoil of Easter Monday’s away fixture at Horndean, and the disappointing rejection of the appeal against the red cards administered to George Taggart and Dan Howick, which John Rea devoted considerable effort to constructing with solid evidence, this was the opportunity for Lancing to put this behind them and get back to familiar surroundings with a good backing from loyal supporters.

This was to be the final appearance of the season for Dan Howick and George Taggart (albeit he was an unused sub) in the regular season and Charlie Bennett, about to go on walk about down under. They certainly responded to the occasion with fine performances and a signing off goal from each.

There was considerable frustration as Lancing ‘s numerous efforts on goal in the first half were unproductive due to a combination of an outstanding performance by Wasps keeper Matte Pierson and some below par finishing from the normally deadly Lukas Franzen-Jones.

Ex-Lancer Matt Daniel had the first effort on goal but it was a header which fell straight into the arms of Louis Rogers. Knory Scott was looking lively from the start and created space for himself to fire a low drive from the edge of the box which had Pierson diving low to make the first of several good saves.

Ben Pope was put through but as a goal looked a certainty, Pierson was off his line in a flash getting his body in the way. The ball rebounded to Lukas Franzen-Jones. Goal !!! was on the supporters’ lips but that was where it stayed as Lancing’s leading marksman put the ball over the bar.

A well -timed interception by Sam Bull allowed him to send Destiny Ojo forward on the Lancing left. The ball was laid off to Charlie Bennett with Destiny continuing his run, anticipating a return from Bennett, but his pass was cut out.

Destiny Ojo delivered a pin point cross to Lukas Franzen-Jones and a goal once again looked to be there for the taking, but Pierson appeared from nowhere to make a superb save.

This was more than matched by Louis Rogers at the other end at full stretch to keep out a well struck free kick from Kiye Martin which was heading for the top corner. Matt Daniel embarked on a threatening run towards the by-line and a solid challenge by Dan Howick, which brought the run to an end was deemed to be a foul. A threatening dead ball low into the Lancing box was cut out by Charlie Bennett.

Knory Scott was enjoying a lot of freedom and looking like the international he is as he made good use of the ball in the final third. A superb cross field pass from him wide on the right looked as if it would drop perfectly for Destiny Ojo in behind the full back on the left but it just fell short allowing the defender to nod it back to his keeper.

Lukas Franzen-Jones was again denied by Pierson keeping out a close-range effort. Knory Scott, twisting and turning to hold on to the ball, slipped a pass to Ben Pope who drove the ball powerfully across the box with no-one able to apply the finishing touch. Scott looked to have been put in on goal by Charlie Bennett but had the ball taken away from him for a corner.

Louis Rogers had to be alert to come from his area to head the ball away as a Wasps forward managed to get clear of the Lancing back line and was close to reaching the ball.

The Wasps came close to taking the lead against the run of play when Omar Folkes got beyond Nic D’Arienzo and laid a fine pass for Matt Daniel bursting into the six-yard box but to Lancing’s relief he got underneath the ball skying it over the bar. Ben Pope was competing well for the high balls and got up well to head the ball to Knory Scott but he cleared the bar with his shot.

Knory Scott was again the creator of another scoring chance for Lancing, breaking down the right before setting up Ben Pope but his effort was well clear and this was followed by Destiny Ojo, set up by the excellent close control by Charlie Bennett, stroking the ball the wrong side of the upright.

Lancing defended well to halt a dangerous run down the right by Kiye Martin and a quick counterattack set Destiny Ojo clear but his attempt to put Knory Scott in on goal saw the ball go out of play.

A goalless first half was a concern to Lancing but chances were being created and a bit more care in front of goal would surely pay off. This proved to be what was needed as, with a little over ten minutes gone in the second half, Lancing got their nose in front. Knory Scott slipped the ball to the overlapping Dan Howick whose low hard cross was met by Lukas Franzen-Jones, who executed a clever back -heel to get the ball across the line from a couple of yards.

An exquisite touch by Knory Scott set up Ben Pope but his strike on goal was blocked. The ball dropped invitingly to Destiny Ojo well positioned to try for goal but he was flagged offside. The powerful striker Omat Foulkes was the main danger to Lancing but the back four were in commanding form and gave him few opportunities. Matt Daniel is always capable of producing a goal but he was dropping deep as the game progressed and trying to build up from the Wasps half.

With only a slender 1-0 lead, Lancing needed to try and make their dominance count. Ben Pope was working hard across the Wasps back line to try and work an opening. This almost paid off, but a promising strike was blocked away for a corner.

Lancing made their first substitution on 71 minutes with Noel Fisher coming on for Destiny Ojo. Within minutes of this Knory Scott got forward and hit a low cross which cut through the Wasps defence and only needed a touch for a goal but both Lukas Franzen-Jones and Charlie Bennett were inches away from making contact as they slid in. A defensive error gifted the ball to Scott who laid the ball in the path of Lukas Franzen-Jones but his profligacy in front of goal, once again, saw him miss the target.

Knory Scott continued to cause havoc in the final third. He received the ball at the edge of the box, which he quickly laid off to Charlie Bennett who had the ball in the net to give Lancing a 2-0 lead on 86 minutes. Leon Fisher then came on for Lukas Franzen-Jones and with a minute left of normal time Lancing got a deserved third. Knory Scott was again the instigator, clipping a delightful pass over the full back for Dan Howick to run on to. Most were expecting across but Dan had other ideas and drove the ball into the net low and hard just inside the near upright. This was his first Lancing goal and you will not witness a more joyful reaction as he whirled away in celebration.

Charlie Gibson was brought on for Charlie Bennett for added time and it looked at one point as if he might have a chance to try a potshot from the edge of the box but there was a slight hesitation and the opportunity was lost.

So, after a less than successful spell, Lancing returned to winning ways. A three-goal margin was not an accurate reflection of the gulf between the teams on the day. Matte Pierson looked for a while as if he would remain invincible. His performance and a strangely off day from Lukas Franzen-Jones contrived to keep the score low. In truth, The Wasps did not pose a sufficient threat to disturb a solid back four and to negotiate a way past a determined, hardworking Andrew Briggs.

It was good to see Charlie Bennett finish his season with a goal and also to make the best tackle of the game when he prevented ex-Lancer Harrison Parker from driving forward at power, as he is wont to do.

Very pleasing too, that Dan Howick can forget the injustice meted out to him at Horndean and relive the moment when he scored his first Lancing goal. With Three Bridges and Chichester winning, Lancing occupy 6th place on 59 points. Bridges are 5th on 61 with a game in hand and Chichester, well clear with 65 points, being the nearest teams. Lancing travel to Sittingbourne next, who sit in third place on 67 points and with two games in hand on Lancing.

A toss-up between Knory Scott and Dan Howick for Player of the Match. Very little to choose between them. Dan defended superbly, making a number of good tackles and headed clearances but what swayed it was his assist for Lukas and his fine goal. So, Dan was our chosen man.

Finally a thank you to everyone who brought in seeds and garden equipment for the Globe Primary and for all of those who stayed for the race night – especially those from East Grinstead – which was a great evening.

Dave Wilmott

Lancing starting XI:

Louis Rogers, Dan Howick, Jack Meeres, Sam Bull, Nic D’Arienzo, Andrew Briggs, Knory Scott, Charlie Bennett (Charlie Gibson 90), Destiny Ojo(Noel Fisher71), Lukas Franzen -Jones(Capt).Leon Fisher 87),Ben Pope

Unused subs:

Alex Plummer, George Taggart