Fightback is in vain for Lancing at Sevenoaks – Heath punished at Herne Bay

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Lancing remain fourth in the Isthmian south east division after losing 4-2 at Sevenoaks on Saturday.

Lancing arrived at the Bourne Stadium on the back of a convincing 2-0 midweek away win over East Grinstead and were looking to reverse a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of the Oaks in October. A solitary Lukas Franzen-Jones first half goal was overturned in the second half.

The Oaks had been briefed by manager Mark Dacey to expect a tough game. This obviously had the desired effect to motivate his players. In a game that ebbed and flowed Lancing came back from a half-time 2-0 deficit to level at 2-2 midway through the second half but, just when it looked as though Lancing would go on to secure three points, the tide turned in the Oaks’ favour with two late goals.

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Skipper Alex Laing was not fit to play so Dan Howick continued in the Lancing defence and Noel Fisher occupied a more defensive role on Lancing’s left midfield.

Lancing, in blue, in recent action at Littlehampton | Picture: Stephen GoodgerLancing, in blue, in recent action at Littlehampton | Picture: Stephen Goodger
Lancing, in blue, in recent action at Littlehampton | Picture: Stephen Goodger

The Oaks recently said goodbye to Fumnaya Shomotun, but still had plenty of pace and trickery left, particularly from their No7 Emmanuel Mensah on their right wing. It was Mensah who was providing a real challenge to Lancing on the left of their defence with his pace and close control.

It was a burst from Mensah which took him into the Lancing box and which led to the Oaks taking the lead on 10 minutes. Mensah exploited space on Lancing’s left and as a couple of Lancing players got in a tangle trying to halt his run, the ball ran clear on the edge of the six-yard box, providing a simple tap in for Daniel Bennett.

Lancing were not deflated and mounted several good attacks getting the ball into the box and earning several corners. A clearance from a corner fell to George Taggart who tried his luck from distance but saw his drive clear the bar. A melee of players in the Oaks box frustrated Lancing attempts to get a strike on goal. Taggart and Knory Scott were at the heart of Lancing’s most promising moves. Scott found space and used the ball well, drifting in from wide on the right and linking well with team mates in support.

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A deep cross from the right by Howick only needed a touch to get the ball over the line but it cleared both attackers and defenders, going behind for a goal kick.

A loss of possession by Lancing just outside the box let Kieron Cadogan in but he dragged his effort wide of the upright. Shortly afterwards Cadogan received a dressing down from referee Thomas Way and a caution for what appeared to be a combination of a foul and failure to release the ball for a Lancing free-kick.

A Sevenoaks free kick put Mensah in on goal forcing Louis Rogers to dive low to make a save but the ball bounced up from him falling nicely for Mensah to head into an empty net. Lancing were two down on29 minutes.

Emboldened by this the Oaks piled on the pressure and Howick had to be alert to head away a dangerous cross to the far post, quickly followed by Rogers leaving his line to prevent Mensah getting to the ball. Lancing finished the half on top. Scott reached the by-line but was blocked before he could deliver a cross. Franzen-Jones pivoted on the ball and struck for goal but got underneath the ball.

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Lancing had a lucky escape when the usually safe handling by Rogers deserted him momentarily but he made a superb recovery to reclaim the ball to prevent what would have almost certainly led to an open goal.

Fisher was able to make some decisive passes at the end of the half setting up Franzen-Jones whose control let him down, followed by a good ball to Ben Pope but he was fouled,preventing any attempt on goal.

No changes were made by Lancing boss Dave Altendorff for the second half. The left flank of Lancing, which seemed vulnerable in the early stages of the first half, was less open to the pace of Mensah.

Lancing came close to closing the gap after a good build up between Howick and Pope created an opening for Franzen-Jones but he found the side netting with a powerful effort. Good refereeing by Whay allowed Lancing to play on after Franzen-Jones had been pulled back. This provided Pope with a shooting opportunity but keeper Daniel Colmer was able to deal with it without too much difficulty.

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Oaks sub.Daniel Carr played a one -two with Emansah and brought a fingertip save by Rogers. Bennett and Carr both had efforts on goal blocked by Jack Meeres.

With 67 minutes gone, Lancing threw on another forward, Charlie Pitcher, taking off defender Howick. This seemed to be the catalyst for Lancing to get back in the game a couple of minutes later. Andrew Briggs received the ball 10 yards or so outside the box, twisted one way and turned back onto his right foot and curled the ball into the far corner.

Lancing maintained the pressure and a sweeping pass from wide on the left from Taggart landed at the feet of Scott on the left. He quickly spotted Franzen -Jones moving into the box and laid the ball on for him to hammer the ball home. Two goals in less than five minutes and the sides were level.

But with less than 10 minutes of normal time left the Oaks were awarded a free-kick. Lancing defenders seemed to get in each other’s way, resulting in the ball running loose to Carr who restored their lead.

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Two final substitutions were made by Lancing with Charlie Gibson and Harry Heath coming on for Franzen-Jones and Fisher.

Lancing launched themselves forward. Briggs delivered a powerful effort on goal but Colmer was able to palm the ball down. Some good crosses were put towards the Oaks goal but no real chances were created. The Oaks had the final say, catching the Lancing defence out of position as Jeraid Aboagye raced clear down the right laying the ball off for Kieron Cadogan in space and unmarked and able to pick his spot as the game went into five minutes added time.

One final attempt on the Oaks goal came from Scott driving the ball towards the goal line, from where it was volleyed clear.

It was disappointing for the Lancers to concede two late goals after clawing their way back into the game. There was no change to Lancing’s place in the table. They still occupy 4th spot on 47 points.

Scott was chosen by Lancing supporters as MoM.

Next up Lancing host Phoenix Sports on Saturday.

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Lancing: Louis Rogers, Dan Howick (Charlie Pitcher), Jack Meeres, Sam Bull, Noel Fisher(Charlie Gibson85), Andrew Briggs, George Taggart, Charlie Bennett, Knory Scott, Ben Pope, Lukas Franzen-Jones(Capt.)(Harry Heath 85). Unused subs; Eliot Jenks, Alex Plummer.

Herne Bay 3 Broadbridge Heath 1

Isthmian south east

For the trip to Herne Bay Heath manager Chris Simmons welcomed back Matt Penfold and Mason Doughty, who both missed the midweek trip to Horndean – but he was still missing skipper Ryan Brackpool and the influential midfield maestro Louis Evans.

Within a minute of the start, what must have been the quickest yellow card of the season was shown to Tad Bromage for a trip on prolific striker Michael Salako as he drove towards the Heath penalty area but the resulting free-kick was comfortably saved by Heath keeper Alfie Hadfield.

Heath’s first chance came on six minutes when Sam Lemon combined well with Jamie Chesworth down the left flank before the defender floated a deep cross towards Ashley Mutongerwa running in at the far post – but his first-time right-footed effort flew wide of target.

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Within a minute the Bears were a goal down as a counter-attack down the right saw Gil Carvaho’s cross converted from close range by Salako, sneaking in at the far post ahead of Kyle Sim to head home past Hadfield.

Heath responded well and created the better openings with Lemon’s right-foot shot from distance flying inches wide of the post, Bromage heading over the bar from Sim’s long throw, Mutongerwa’s looping header dropping on to the roof of the net and Lemon again heading narrowly wide from Chesworth’s left-sided corner – but it remained 1-0 at the break.

Heath were punished for those missed chances four minutes into the restart when Salako made it 2-0 by converting a left wing cross from close range.

Gradually the Bears got back into the game and pulled a goal back on 57 minutes when Stan Berry played a 1-2 with Lemon on the edge of the box before dispatching a right-foot shot into the bottom corner of the net, his first senior goal of the season on his starting debut.

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Heath again looked the more likely side to score with Sim going on a mazy run, beating three players before firing a left footed shot from the edge of the penalty area that was saved at the second attempt by the Herne Bay keeper.

On 77 minutes, against the run of play, the hosts made it 3-1 and again that man Salako was the difference when a corner from the right was played to the far post where it was headed back across the goal to Salako who was on it in a flash to head home from close range and complete the scoring.

The Bears should take a lot of credit from their performance – they did create a lot of good chances but just weren’t clinical enough on the day.

MoM Stan Berry

Boss Simmons said afterwards: “It was a much improved performance compared to the Horndean game, but again very sloppy defending for all three goals which is unusual by us and we needed to be more clinical in the final third.”

Team: Hadfield, Sim, Chesworth (Acheampong 45), Waddingham, Bromage, Terry (Lindsey 88), Penfold, Mutongerwa, Doughty, Lemon, Berry.

The Bears host Sevenoaks this evening (Tues 13th).