Eastbourne United 0 - 1 Lancing
By Jack Taylor
Pulling's side took away all 3 points from The Oval on Saturday afternoon.
Eastbourne United 0 - 1 Lancing
For the second successive week Lancing made the journey to the Oval. But this time the opposition were Eastbourne Utd, struggling at one place off the bottom of the League table. Some changes in the Lancing line up saw the return of inspirational skipper Alex Bygraves, after his one match suspension, keeper Matt Evans and dynamic midfielder Dan Turner, covering for the absent Mike Wiilliamson. Dave Sharman kept his place after a sound performance against Little Common, but switching to right back with Josh Clayman unavailable.
There was a bit of an early scare for Matt Evans as a harmless looking through ball took a wicked deviation causing him to rapidly readjust his positioning to deal with the ball safely. Lancing pressure produced a series of corners and from one, Daniel Momah headed against the cross bar. This caused some panic in the Eastbourne penalty area leading to a second corner. Another pinpoint delivery from Michael Death was very inviting but no one was able to get on the other end.
Both sides were out for a win and there was some end to end play but neither goalkeeper was seriously tested in the early stages. Daniel Momah was causing problems with his pace and energy and Lancing‘s first real scoring chance fell to him as he beat the offside trap, left defenders in his wake but saw his shot fly narrowly past the upright as the home keeper Jordan Hawkins advanced from his goal line.
At the other, end a fierce drive looked goal bound but Matt Evans was relieved to see the ball nestle in the side netting and not the goal. Michael Death was prominent for Lancing, firstly with a long range effort which dropped on the roof of the net, followed by a well struck free kick which brought a good save from Hawkins pushing the ball over the bar.
Second half saw the home side raise their game and put the Lancers under more pressure. Some stirling defensive work with Nicholas Di Arienzo responding superbly to a number of attacks down his flank and with Hendy, Bygraves and Sharman standing strong, Lancing were able to deal with everything thrown at them including a clearance from a corner which was deflected onto the crossbar before being safely cleared.
The vital breakthrough came 10 minutes into the second half. The alert Matt Daniel, whose goals have been so important in the last few weeks, dispossessed the Eastbourne full back on the edge of the penalty area, and he coolly fired into the corner of the goal. Soon afterwards Eastbourne, who had been wasteful with some good chances they had created came close to equalising when Matt Evans attempted to cut out a long through ball but was beaten to it. Fortunately the ensuing lob was wide of the empty goal.
At the other end a penetrating pass from Daniel Momah, having another impressive game, set Michael Death clear but what looked like a good finish was disallowed for offside. Louis Pittock came on for the hardworking Noah Dudok van Heel with about 20 minutes to go. A quick break down the right gave Fin Pittock the opportunity to put a dangerous cross into the six yard box. A desperate defender’s clearance richocheted off a team mate and the rebound came close to being an own goal.
Eastbourne had not given up the fight but Lancing held firm although forced to take some desperate measures at times. Late in the game there was a controversial incident. Daniel Momah chased a high ball into the penalty area and leapt to head it as keeper Jordan Hawkins raced from his line to reach the ball first.
There was the inevitable collision with the young keeper coming off the worse. He recovered at after treatment and the Lancing players and supporters held their breath as referee Dainel D’Urso called Daniel over. The home supporters were screaming their heads off calling for the red card but, to our relief, it was adjudged to be worthy of only a yellow. This further incensed the home support. Daniel was replaced by Kieran Small and Lancing were able to see the game out but, during the closing stages, Matt Daniel received a yellow card as the referee was of the opinion that he was time wasting.
So, three more points from the second visit to the Oval. The unfortunate referee had to run a gauntlet of undeserved abuse as he left the field. We supporters were not spared some of the hostile comments. Eastbourne United remain anchored on place off the bottom.
Not many of us to debate the MOM, made even more difficult by the fact that there were several good candidates. In the end, we were particularly impressed by how well Nicholas Di Arienzo stood up to a lot of pressure, keeping his cool, distributing the ball well and being always ready and willing to get forward when the opportunity arose.