LANCING Football Club continued their steady rise up the Division 1 table after they overcame stubborn 10-man Horsham YMCA on Tuesday evening.
It was Lancers’ third win in four league games and came off the back of a disappointing cup exit at Sidley on Saturday, but a much-improved second-half showing moved them up to sixth with 13 points from eight games thanks to a 3-1 win.
Lancers manager Martin Gander said: “It was a well deserved three points and much, much better from Saturday and the response I wanted.
“I still feel we can play better, even at times tonight we were a bit sloppy and could have won by four or five.
“The sending-off made it harder for us, as often happens, but we’re pleased to win and we still have players to come back from injury so can only get stronger.
“I think perhaps I expect too much from the squad having finished second last year, but we’re doing ok and this was a decent performance and a good result.”
Darren Boswell went close early on for Lancers when he fired narrowly off target, and after Adam Hunt’s long-range strike dipped just over, the opener arrived just before the half-hour mark from an unlikely source.
Richard Hudson’s cross caused a mix up in the YM defence, Shaheen Sadough’s flicked header was clawed out by keeper Simon Lockwood, but Danny Gainsford was on hand to poke in just his second goal in 34 Lancing appearances.
That strike appeared to put the home side in command against a YM side previously limited in attack, but they equalised out of nothing three minutes before the break.
Liam Hunter’s diagonal run and shot was thwarted by debutant keeper Joel Harding, but Mike Gardner’s effort back across goal was turned in at the far post by the unmarked Martin Smith who lashed home the leveller.
Lancing continued to boss possession without reward after the interval, but they were given a golden opportunity to restore their lead on 58 minutes.
Hudson and Boswell linked up to play in Sadough, who was unceremoniously bundled over by last man Matt Crane, who received his marching orders despite protests that the Lancing striker had gone down too easily.
Sadough dusted himself down and blasted the spot-kick down the middle to give Lancers an advantage, that, this time, they never relinquished.
Lee Smith went close for the 10-man team, who rejigged to a 3-1-3-2 formation, but it was Lancers who twice went close to doubling their lead through Boswell, who fired wide and then had an effort saved.
YM were unable to test Harding despite their valiant pressing, and Lancers made the game safe through Dan Turner on 85 minutes.
Sadough missed a golden chance to make it 4-1 at the death when he completely miskicked with the goal gaping, but it didn’t matter as Lancing comfortably held on.