A league season which began with the first home fixture at Culver Road in summer sunshine on 12th August 2023, with a new management team and an almost completely new team (Tyrone Madhani and Alieu Secka remained, both have since moved on) and with a 1-0 win against Merstham, in front of 201 spectators and ended with the final home fixture in April sunshine but a cold wind in front of 365 spectators and a 4-2 win against Ashford United.

One change saw the return to the starting line-up of Shay Matthews at full back. Shay had appeared in Lancing colours earlier in the season. He was Player of the Match in the 4-2 F.A Trophy victory over Chipstead on 13.09.2023 but the last time he played was as a sub in a 3-1 loss away to Herne Bay on 14.10.2023. Since then, he has been playing for Loxwood in SCFL.

Lancing controlled the game from the back dominating possession with a slow and patient build up probing for openings but always happy to move the ball around denying the opposition any time on the ball, until Ashford did seize an opportunity to break down the left and hit a dangerous ball across the face of the goal, touched away for a throw in which led to an untidy scramble in the box, which Lancing were able to clear. Andrew Briggs took on the major responsibility in the centre of midfield, in the absence of the two players who had formed the partnership with him for most of the season, namely Charlie Bennett and George Taggart. Alex Plummer proved again how important it is to have a player capable of filling the breach so well, despite not being a regular starter. Briggs began the move which led to Lancing taking the lead on 10 minutes. He hit a long curling pass from wide on the left which reached Shay Matthews on the opposite flank. He set Lukas Franzen-Jones on a run towards the bye-line from where he delivered an inviting cross for Ben Pope to fire home.

Noel Fisher looked full of confidence taking the game to the opposition. He advanced into the penalty area twisting and turning past defenders but without being able to create sufficient space for him to strike on goal. Lukas Franzen-Jones was proving to be a handful for the visitors to contain which looked to have earned him a penalty as he came to ground but referee Andrew Dunn was unimpressed. Lancing increased their lead on 22 minutes. Noel Fisher was quick to intercept a mis hit clearance from keeper Chiedoze Nwosu, which allowed him to run through and plant the ball into the net.

At this point Lancing were in cruise control and it seemed to be only a question of when the next goal would come as both Noel Fisher and Knory Scott were leading the opposition a merry dance .A third goal looked to be on the cards just over the 30 minute mark, following a neat exchange of passes between Scott and Ben Pope which led to a pass to Franzen-Jones on the edge of the six-yard box but his attempt to volley the ball home was sliced wide..

Ashford were then gifted a route back into the game when Louis Rogers advanced outside his area to head a bouncing ball clear. However, the ball glanced backwards off Rogers’s head. He looked to have made a superb recovery, reaching up to scoop the ball away from Noah Carney who would have been presented with an open goal. Unfortunately, referee Dunn considered that the Lancing keeper had unfairly impeded the striker, awarding a penalty and issuing a caution to him. Carney sent Rogers the wrong way driving the ball home from the spot.

Joseph Watts earned the only caution of the game for Ashford for a foul on Andrew Briggs as he was impeded bringing the ball out from the Lancing half. Despite having very little of the play and no serious efforts on the Lancing goal, Ashford found themselves level shortly before half time with Noah Carney capitalising on Lancing losing possession leaving him able to run through to score with Louis Rogers stranded from goal.

A free-kick by Lukas Franzen-Jones for a foul on Ben Pope was fumbled by keeper Nwosu but he was able to reclaim the ball just in time.

Lancing began the second half with an early strike from Knory Scott which Nwosu was able to keep out with his feet. Noel Fisher finished off a good passage of play, cutting inside and hitting a powerful effort on goal which cleared the bar. Andrew Briggs shrugged off a caution for a shirt pull by sending Knory Scott forward. Scott laid the ball on for Ben Pope but his shot was blocked behind for a corner. The corner was driven in low by Andrew Briggs reaching Lukas Franzen-Jones who reacted with a thunderbolt of a volley low into the bottom corner to restore Lancing’s lead on 57 minutes. Noel Fisher created another scoring opportunity as he cleverly worked his way through a couple of tackles to reach the bye-line. He looked up, spotting Franzen-Jones in the six-yard box and delivered a chipped pass which Franzen-Jones headed goalwards bringing a good save from Nwosu.

Lancing made their first substitution on 66 minutes with Callum Erskine coming on for Ben Pope and he was soon showing his energy with a pacy run on goal. Knory Scott came close to increasing Lancing’s lead, after evading a couple of tackles, finishing with powerful drive from 30 yards which had Nwosu at full stretch to fingertip the ball over the bar.

Lancing were in complete control at this point and Callum Erskine almost had his first senior goal for Lancing as he flung himself to connect with a great cross from Lukas Franzen-Jones. He was able to get his head to the ball but unable to keep it low enough to hit the net. Charlie Gibson came on for Nic D’Arienzo , followed by Leon Fisher for Alex Plummer.

Lancing mounted a series of onslaughts on the Ashford goal. After a strong from Noel Fisher the ball reached brother Leon who saw his effort on goal blocked. Knory Scott and Noel Fisher then joined forces with Fisher having his shot deflected behind. Charlie Gibson curled the corner in from the right, the ball dropping just under the cross bar but Nwosu was able to palm it away. More efforts on goal came but it was not until the 89th minute that Lancing were able to get their reward for some fine attacking play when Lukas Franzen-Jones secured his 24th league goal (28 in total) getting on the end of a ball over the top to lift it over Nwosu as he came from his line to try and claim it.

Callum Erskine came close again after Charlie Gibson had worked a short corner with Andrew Briggs who laid the ball on for Erskine who fired just wide of the upright.

Four goals was scant reward for what was an excellent team performance. Two soft goals took the gloss off a well-deserved three points, and the double over The Nuts and Bolts. This win secured 6th place in the table, just one place of the promotion play off zone. With only the way game at Hythe Town to come, Lancing are hoping to complete April’s fixtures undefeated.

Some strong candidates for Player of the Match. Lukas with two goals, Knory for some superb mesmerising ball control, Andrew Briggs ,playmaker supreme in central midfield and a very encouraging return to the team by Shay Matthews. You could make a case for a number of others but the overwhelming favourite was Noel Fisher, who has developed into an essential and valuable member of the team.


Dave Wilmott


Lancing starting XI: Louis Rogers, Shay Matthews, Jack Meeres, Sam Bull, Nic D’Arienzo(Charlie Gibson 77), Andrew Briggs, Alex Plummer (Leon Fisher80), Knory Scott, Noel Fisher, Ben Pope (Callum Erskine 66), Lukas Franzen-Jones (Capt.)

Unused subs: Alfie Knight, Rory Marashi.