A SHAHEEN SADOUGH winner six minutes from time fired Lancing Football Club past the formidable challenge of Guildford City and into the third round of the FA Vase on Saturday.
It was Sadough’s ninth goal in as many games and helped Lancers beat a side top of the Combined Counties Premier League, which they won last year.
Both sides were playing their first match in this year’s competition due to last season’s exploits, in which they both reached the last 32, but Sadough’s double leaves Lancers hoping for another memorable run.
Lancers went ahead after just eight minutes. Wayne Joseph had a shot pushed behind by Guildford keeper Antony Hall and, from the resulting corner, Sam O’Regan flicked the ball on for Sadough to fire in from close range.
From then on, Guildford bossed possession, but Lancers’ resolute defence held firm, marshalled superbly by the commanding presence of keeper Tony Di Bernardo, who was forced into action when he held on to Austin Gacheru’s drive.
Ben Rayner was then guilty of spurning the best chance of the half. Tony Chaplin supplied the through ball, but with only Di Bernardo to beat, he poked his shot wide from eight yards on 28 minutes.
Gacheru then dragged an effort wide and with half-time approaching Dan Moody fired over.
The second period continued in a similar vein, with Guildford dominant in possession but Lancers content to soak up the pressure. This left Guildford vulnerable on the break, and Lancers almost took advantage twice in quick succession. Darren Boswell fired narrowly wide, and then Sadough was denied by a good stop from Hall.
The introduction of skilful frontman Jack Guilford seemed to give Guildford a lift and a switch to 4-3-3 paid dividends.
Ben Camara got free on the edge of the area, and, although he was muscled off the ball, it fell for Joel Greaves, who side-footed into the corner to equalise on 73 minutes.
Guildford now appeared to be favourites to win, and they almost went ahead through the lively Guilford, who lashed a shot narrowly over with Di Bernardo unsighted.
Lancers survived this let-off and the encounter looked set for an additional 30 minutes until the intervention of their red-hot striker. Good link-up play between Graham Martin and midfield heartbeat Dan McLoughlin sent Sadough through on goal.
Despite Guildford appeals for handball, he waited for Hall to commit himself before he calmly passed the ball into the net to restore the lead.
Guildford were not going to go quietly, though, and Lancers were forced to survive late pressure.
Di Bernardo was forced to beat away Jaydon Gibbs’ free kick, and, from the rebound, Rayner’s firmly-hit drive bounced back off the inside off the post, before Greaves deflected effort also tested Di Bernardo’s reflexes, but Lancers held on.
Lancers will host South Midlands League Ampthill Town in the next round on December 3.
LANCING: Di Bernardo; Taylor, O’Regan, Gainsford, Hunt; Hayward, McLoughlin; Boswell, Martin, Joseph; Sadough. Subs: Turner (Boswell 68), Paterson (Joseph 80), Sharman (Sadough 89), Evans, Annis. Att: 152.