LANCING Football Club went top of the Southern Combination League on Saturday with victory over in-form Arundel.
Lancers won the game within the first hour to maintain their title challenge on a wet and windy afternoon at Culver Road.
The hosts’ first chance came after just five minutes after Ross Adams had robbed Jordan Dudas on the right wing and teed up Alex Fair eight yards from goal. His initial shot was straight at James Fernandes in the Arundel goal and the follow-up a wild swipe wide of the mark.
The tenth minute saw Max Howell time his run to perfection to meet skipper Naim Rouane’s slide rule pass but Fernandes was off his line quickly to clear the danger.
Lancers finally took the lead when Fair’s ball inside left-back Ash Hunter found Howell, who waited for Fernandes to commit himself before slotting into the bottom corner on 13 minutes.
The lead was short-lived, however, as Lancing failed to clear their lines which allowed right-back Lewis Jenkins to score from close range just two minutes later.
The frenetic action did not stop there as the hosts went back ahead in the 18th minute. Lewis Finney’s jinking run down the left wing culminated in a square ball to Fair, who curled his shot into the top corner from the edge of the area with Fernandes a spectator.
Lancing scored a third in the 22nd minute with Howell making Hunter’s afternoon increasingly uncomfortable but in the process tweaking his hamstring as he crossed for Adams, who easily out-muscled Ryan Peake to net from five yards.
Despite more joy down both wings, Lancing could not increase their lead before half-time.
The final goal of the game came from the penalty spot as Hunter’s rash challenge on Mike Williamson was correctly deemed illegal and Finney expertly placed the ball in the bottom corner to rub salt into the left-back’s torrid afternoon after 56 minutes.
Hunter was forced to don the goalkeeper’s jersey in the 66th minute after Fernandes was forced off following a clash of heads, suffering suspected concussion, but the score never looked like changing as Arundel upped their game while Lancers were content with their three-goal cushion.
Lancing boss Ash Bailey said: “I thought we were good in the first half but took our foot off the gas in the second.
“Arundel have been on a good run so I knew this would be a test for us which makes the result very pleasing. Hopefully Max’s hamstring is not too bad, he tells me it’s easing off, but that three points keeps us in the hunt.”
LANCING: Fidler; Bowra, Fenton, Spinks, Sharman, Hendy, Howell, Rouane, Adams, Fair, L.Finney. Subs: Williamson (Howell 23), Fair (Caplin 60), Greenfield (Adams 82), Mills, House.
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