LANCING Football Club won for the eighth successive league match on Friday evening, although joint boss Martin Gander afterwards admitted his side were fortunate to beat Horsham YMCA 2-1.
YMCA belied their 16th-place league position and played much better than a side who had not won in the league since December and had lost six of their previous nine league games.
They looked lively going forward and caused Lancers’ defence all sorts of problems, with Tony Di Bernardo kept busy in the Lancing goal. But a clinical finish from in-form Charlie Walker on the stroke of half-time gave second-placed Lancers all three points.
Gander said: “Horsham YMCA worked so hard and should have won the game. It could have been that we came into it expecting to win but they played us off the park and you can’t argue with that.
“We got three points for nothing, although we’ve played well ourselves in other games and got nothing.
“They missed their chances and we got lucky but you have to win ugly sometimes.
“We’re happy to take the points and we’ll look forward to the next game. This might do us some good. It was a disappointing performance and the players know that.
“I’m not going to rubbish the players, though. We’ve won eight games in a row, so I can’t moan – Horsham YMCA just put in a great performance tonight.”
Lancers went ahead after just 10 minutes on Friday when Walker raced on to Grant Philpott’s long ball forward but his powerful shot was parried away by YM keeper Simon Lockwood. Titus Paterson knocked the ball back into the danger area and Dan Turner looped a header over Lockwood to give the home side the lead.
With the sides’ respective form, it would not have been a surprise to see Lancing run away with the match but the opposite happened and YM should have levelled on 23 minutes when Dean Wright got through but shot wide from 15 yards with just Di Bernardo to beat.
They got the equaliser they deserved on 32 minutes, though, when Wright got away from Sam O’Regan and crossed for Nick Sullivan, who volleyed into the roof of the net from five yards.
Di Bernardo then kept out Shane Graham’s low shot, before Lancers went back ahead in first half injury-time. Stacey Freeman played a ball over the top of the YM defence for Walker, who coolly chested the ball down and lobbed home his 12th Lancing goal in just 10 appearances.
YM put Lancers under plenty of pressure as they searched for an equaliser in the second half. Di Bernardo dived full length across goal to keep out Patrick Soan’s shot after a mazy run, before Sullivan missed his kick when well placed.
YM had full-back Harry Lowe booked for a dive in the penalty area, before they went close again when substitute Tim Martin cut in from the left and toe-poked the ball just a couple of inches wide of the far post.
That was the closest they went to levelling as Lancers had the better chances to add to the scoring in the closing stages but Lockwood kept out Walker’s stinging effort, Titus Paterson’s shot was easily saved and Lancers’ penalty appeals were waved away when substitute Graham Martin went down in the penalty area.