Lancing battle back to force FA Cup replay

Mike Williamson's bicycle kick goal earned Lancing an FA Cup replay. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj

Lancing came from two goals behind to earn an FA Cup first round qualifying replay with division-higher Bostik League South East Phoenix Sports yesterday.

Lancers, looking to reach the second round qualifying stage for the first time in 51 years, hit back in the second half with efforts from Matt Daniel and Mike Williamson as it ended 2-2 at Phoenix's Mayplace Road East home.

Ash Bailey's side came in to the tie full of confidence, having beaten Phoenix's league rivals Haywards Heath Town and Greenwich Borough in the two previous rounds to reach this stage.

Goalkeeper Tyler D'Cruz pulled off a couple of early saves to deny the home side but Jeff Duah-Kessie broke the deadlock eight minutes before the break to give Phoenix a slender 1-0 advantage at half time.

Danny Young added a second less than a minute after the restart and Lancing's FA Cup run looked to have ended.

Lancers kept fighting, pulling one back through Daniel on the hour to set up a thrilling final 30 minutes.

Williamson's spectacular bicycle kick found the net 20 minutes from time to get Lancers level.

Both teams had chances to win it in the closing stages but it stayed level, meaning the sides will have to do it again in a replay.

First team coach Mark Pulling felt Lancers deserved at least a replay for their efforts and said: "I thought we started really brightly then started to sit back and our ball retention perhaps wasn’t as good as it could have been. The second goal was a disappointing one to lose, but even then I felt we were still in the game. We kept creating chances and were the stronger side from then on.

"I don’t think we did anything different at that point, we passed the ball better and got in behind
them a bit more. It was a very good team performance, I felt we ended the game the stronger and,
although at 2-0 down you’re always happy with a draw, I felt we could have won it.

"I think a replay was probably a fair result.”

Lancers welcome Phoenix Sports to Culver Road on Tuesday (7.15pm), with the winners booking a spot in the second round qualfying.

Lancing's scheduled SCFL Premier Division clash against Arundel on the same night will now be arranged for a later date.

LANCING: D'Cruz; Willard, Bygraves, Knight, L.Pittock; Saunders, Rowe-Hurst, Williamson; Pulling, Pitcher, Saunders. Subs: Tighe (Willard, 57), Gardener-Lowe (Pitcher, 78), Hendy (Pittock, 82), Tredrea, F.Pittock, Sharman, Gunn.

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