LANCING Football Club manager Richard Whittington hailed his team’s performance as their “best of their season” after an impressive win over high-flying East Grinstead on Saturday.
Lancers beat fourth-placed Wasps at Culver Road and have now picked up seven points from their last three County League Division 1 games, while also keeping three consecutive clean sheets in the process.
Whittington said: “It was a excellent and a hugely important win against a very good side and we’re delighted with both the result and the performance.
“It was the best we’ve played this season, we were resilient and stayed in the game, got ahead and then defended from the front.
“Having had six points deducted, it was vital we got three of them back straight away and now, to use the old cliché, we need to win as many of our remaining games as we can and look to finish as high as we can.”
In an even opening, Dom Shepherd and Bradley Bant fired efforts over the bar early on for Lancers, while Wasps captain John Sinclar volleyed wide and Sam Schaaf had a low effort pushed round the post by Lancers stopper Darren Ford.
Lancers’ Jonno Melia had a flicked header scrambled away from inside the six-yard box, before the home side went ahead on the stroke of half-time.
There was a hint of controversy about it, too, as Owen Callaghan’s shot looped off a Grinstead defender and was fumbled back behind the line by goalkeeper Mark Fox. It appeared unclear whether the whole ball had crossed the line, but referee Adrian Harris appeared to get the decision right, judging by the mild nature of Grinstead’s protests.
Half-time substitute Ollie Davis almost doubled Lancing’s lead seven minutes after the break when he hooked an effort against the bar.
At the other end, Scott Johnston stabbed wide, Schaaf had a strike chalked off for handball and Ford comfortably saved Sinclair’s deflected shot.
Grinstead’s Aaron Watson and Rhys White were both denied by last-ditch interceptions before John Hampson’s drive was cleared off the line by George Fenton.
That was a pivotal moment in the game, as, seconds later, Wayne Joseph set Melia free down the left and the winger out-paced the Grinstead defence to fire in a low shot under Fox with 13 minutes to go.
That ended the game as a contest and Lancing saw out the game without further alarm.