Sittingbourne give Lancing an Isthmian baptism of fire
Lancing lost their first game in the Isthmian south-east division - going down 4-0 at Sittingbourne.
Lancing began their new adventure in the Pitching In Isthmian League South East League with a visit to Woodstock Park, nestled in some beautiful Kent countryside, the home of Sittingbourne F.C. (The Brickies).
There was an early scare for Lancing when a rare mis-control by Liam Hendy on the edge of his penalty area was seized on by Kane Rowland but Mitch - who was later to be named MoM - was alert and down quickly to halt progress towards his goal. But Mitch could do nothing to prevent the Brickies going in front on 15 minutes. The fast and elusive right winger, Michael Akin, finished off a good run with a firm low cross into the box. Ahmad Abdullah, making his debut, met the cross with a first-time volley which flew into Mitch’s far right corner, way beyond his reach.
Lancing’s first attack of any real promise came on 22 minutes, when some clever footwork from Ben Connolly saw him evade three tackles before slipping the ball through to Matt Daniel. Unfortunately, Matt had strayed fractionally offside. A similar fate befell Alberto Lubango, who had got in behind the home defence, minutes later, only to be given offside. A decent spell for Lancing continued with Harry Docherty picking out Alberto with a long-range cross field pass. Alberto crossed deep from the bye line, the ball reaching Mohd Zabadne on the right. Mohd put the ball back in to the danger area but it was cleared to safety.
Lightning then struck twice on 30 minutes, as Akin again skipped clear on the right, driving another firm cross which Abdullah, unmarked in the box, met with another rocket from his right boot which was in the bottom corner in the blink of an eye. To add insult to injury it took Abdullah barely 6 more minutes to complete his hat-trick. This time the ball was crossed from the right, a glancing header was not enough to clear it and it fell nicely to Abdullah who wasted no time in volleying it home with real power.
So, three attempts on goal and three conversions to seriously dent Lancing’s hopes of a successful start to their promotion season. Lancing did press forward as the half ended, winning a corner from which a more alert official might have rewarded them with a penalty, as Harry Docherty received a blatant push in the back. Another corner swiftly followed, which was played short to Darius Goldsmith. Darius floated a cross to the far post but the home keeper was able to gather the ball in on the ground as Harrison Parker tried to gain possession.
Half time changes for Lancing saw Harrison Parker and Louis Evans give way to Ollie Read and Mark Godson.
Mitch was soon tested reacting quickly to smother a close-range toe poke. Closely followed by him claiming the ball from The Brickie’s skipper Kane Rowland who had attempted to dribble round Mitch after latching on to a superb through ball by Abdullah.
Rowland was replaced by Johan Candy-Bryan. Lancing enjoyed more possession in the opposition half but were reduced to trying their luck with long range efforts from Ben (twice) and Darius. Sittingbourne exploited the greater space in the Lancing half as the new addition broke through with only Mitch to beat but again the Lancing keeper proved equal to the task. More substitutions followed for the home side with Thomas Loynes and George Monger being replaced by Nicholas Treadwell and Toby Bancroft.
Ollie Read was providing good width on the left and carrying the ball forward with some success but still Lancing were unable to seriously test Joe Docherty in the home goal. Sittingbourne were less of a threat on the flanks but Mitch was still kept busy, with an underhit header from Harry Docherty falling short forcing Mitch to block for a corner.
Lancing’s final substitution provided Bradley Campbell-Francis the opportunity to show whether he was now fit after injury. Mohd.Zabadne made way. Just when it was looking like Lancing could take some satisfaction from not conceding again in the second half, Akin who had a quieter second half, suddenly burst into life, running on to another defence splitting pass from Abdullah, to hammer an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net.
Lancing almost had the last word, when Matt Daniel executed a fine turn in the box and hit a low shot which flew narrowly past the far upright.
There can be no complaints about the result and, although one man does not make a team, Ahmad Abdullah won the game for his side with three superb goals and some intelligent passing. Lancing enjoyed some good passages of play in the second half with Finn, in particular, striving hard to create openings. Will Berry, a rock in defence was unavailable for selection and was missed.
Despite the result the Lancing supporters who made their way to Sittingbourne had a thoroughly enjoyable day out and were grateful for a friendly and hospitable welcome.
Now bring on Haywards Heath, against whom Lancing have had many a close tussle, for the Emirates F A Cup Preliminary round tie at Culver Road on Saturday.
Lancing Starting XI: Mitch Bromage, Mohd.Zabadne, Harrison Parker, Harry Docherty, Liam Hendy(Capt.), Finn Daniels-Yeoman, Louis Evans, Darius Goldsmith, Matt Daniel,Ben Connolly, Alberto Lubango. Substitutes: Kane Louis, Mark Goldson, Clayton Garner, Oliver Read, Bradley Campbell-Francis.