LANCING Football Club left it late at Culver Road against Shoreham on Tuesday evening as Dan McLoughlin’s last-minute strike secured them a perfect 10.
The skipper’s 89th-minute goal secured Lancers a 1-0 win which was their 10th consecutive league victory and extended their unbeaten run to 13 games as they kept up their County League Division 1 title pursuit.
Having beat leaders Three Bridges 2-1 on Saturday, Lancing made heavy weather of gaining the three points against a spirited Shoreham side, who played 67 minutes with 10 men and who had lost their previous four league games.
A frantic start to the game saw Lancers on the front foot with both Titus Paterson and Grant Philpott putting efforts wide of Ronan Callaghan’s goal, while Josh Clayman had an effort saved for Mussels.
The first real talking point came after 14 minutes as combative Shoreham midfielder Kevin Keehan went in strongly on Shaheen Sadough, which led to respective handbags and referee Paul Saunders showing both players a yellow card.
This was to prove costly for Keehan as nine minutes later he tripped Darren Boswell and picked up another caution to get first use of the showers.
The dismissal did not seem to turn the game in Lancers’ favour, however, as they struggled to break down a solid Shoreham team, with Callaghan having to make just one save a minute before the break from former Mussels frontman Charlie Walker.
The second half continued in the same vein with Shoreham happy to soak up the pressure as Lancers played increasingly long balls in a bid to break down the visitors’ resistance. Paterson had an effort saved on 59 minutes and Ben Lucas failed to direct a header on target on 66 minutes, but the home side rarely threatened.
The hosts almost took the lead on 70 minutes, though, as Walker shot from the edge of the box only for the ball to rebound off the post to safety. Shoreham then had a chance to take the lead as substitute Matt Beeston played in Aaron MacMillan, but the striker’s effort sailed over the bar.
The deadlock was finally broken when a scuffed corner found McLoughlin’s feet at the front post, he turned and fired into the roof of the net to break Shoreham hearts.
Lancers joint manager Martin Gander said: “I think Saturday’s game took a lot out of us and that had an effect on our performance tonight.
“I felt going down to 10 men galvanised them somewhat and we really struggled to break them down. I’m obviously pleased with the three points, though, and looking forward to a bit of a break as we don’t have a game for 10 days or so.”