Lancing targeting a top-three finish in Division 1

Lancing joint boss Martin Gander.
Lancing joint boss Martin Gander.

LANCING Football Club joint manager Martin Gander is targeting a top-three finish in County League Division 1 for his side after their win at East Grinstead on New Year’s Eve.

Lancers go into 2012 in third place, nine points behind leaders Rye, with a game in hand, and five points behind stuttering second-placed Pagham.

Gander believes Lancing have already exceeded expectations by sitting third, but is happy to focus on staying there, rather than any potential title challenge in their first season back in the top division.

On the situation at the top of the table, he said: “We’re happy to be third, it’s more than we expected but I think we’ve drawn too many games to be considered title contenders.

“We’ll keep going and if we can reel in Rye and Pagham, who are always up there and good, established Division 1 sides, that’s a bonus, but a top-three finish is our aim.”

An early Charlie Walker strike put the visitors in control, and keeper JJ Banasco-Zaragoza kept their lead intact with several good stops before half-time.

Darren Boswell slotted home the second from Lee Garnham’s cross 90 seconds after the interval, and Garnham himself then made it 3-0 six minutes later to seal the points.

That killed off Grinstead’s challenge, and Lancing comfortably saw out the game to record their 13th win from 24 league games this season.

On the game, Gander added: “It was a great performance, we played really well and it was the response I was looking for after we threw away the win in the Worthing United game.

“That game and the St Francis away match are the only ones where I have any criticism and where we didn’t do ourselves justice, but, otherwise, it’s been great and an excellent first season back in Division 1.

“We had a few players out but to have JJ and Michael Sims back was pleasing and our strength in depth helped see us through to a comfortable and pleasing win.”

Lancers’ home match with Shoreham on Tuesday was postponed owing to a waterlogged pitch.