Lancing 2-1 Broadbridge Heath
No joy for Heath in defeat at Culver Road
For the trip to Lancing Steve Painter welcomed back his leading scorer Devon Fender for his first game since suffering a groin injury almost four months ago and he was partnered up front by another long-term absentee Javlon Campbell. On the down side though he was without Alex Parsons, Shaun Findlay, Martyn Flack, Tim Martin and goalkeeper Michael Chester.
Neither side created too many chances in the opening exchanges, the home-side played some neat passing on the 3G surface while Heath were a little more direct looking to use the pace of their wide players Gicu Iordache and Javlon Campbell to get behind the Lancers defence.
The first shot on target by either side didn’t come until the 17th minute when the ball was played in to Liam Benson some 25 yards from goal and the Lancing player hit a half-volley that flew straight at Heath keeper Conor Evento on the goal-line but the young stopper made an uncharacteristic error and the ball squirmed out of his grasp and into the net.
Straight from the kick off Heath went up the other end and skipper Tom Bold tried his luck with a right foot shot from a similar distance to Benson’s but his effort went over the crossbar. Minutes later Gicu Iordache played a cross-field ball from left to right into the path of Devon Fender and the Heath striker hit a low right foot shot that went across the face of goal and narrowly wide of the left upright.
Lancing made it 2-0 with their next attack on 24 minutes, Mike Williamson took on the Heath defence before squaring the ball to a teammate whose shot was blocked by Stuart Chester on the goal-line but the ball rebounded straight to Benson who hammered it into the net from close range. The home-side went on to have their best spell of the match and Williamson was unlucky with a shot from 20 yards that rattled the Heath crossbar and Alex Spinks put a free kick just wide of the post.
Heath pulled a goal back in the final minute of the half when Iordache broke away down the left and played the ball across the face of goal into the path of Chester who blasted it into the net from close range.
The second half started similar to the first with neither side creating too many chances, on the hour Lancing won a corner which was played out to Williamson on the edge of the penalty area and he shot low through a crowd of players but was denied by an excellent diving save by Evento pushing the ball wide of the goal.
Heath upped their game in the final quarter of the match, Javlon Campbell went close with a shot deflected off a defender, Fender had an effort saved by the goalkeeper and from the resulting corner Iordache blasted a shot into the side netting. George Cousins, another making a welcome return from injury, was introduced to the game with 15 minutes remaining and almost had an immediate impact when he cut in from the left and rifled in a low shot that was cleared off the goal-line by a defender, despite the pressure the home defence stood firm marshaled by the impressive Tyler D’Cruz in goal who helped his team to make it 6 games now undefeated.
Heath meanwhile will have to go again on Tuesday evening when they travel the long and winding road to inform Pagham.
Team: Evento, Godfrey (Morrone-Buckingham 50), Robinson, S.Chester, Sim, Howard-Bold, Weller, Andrade, Campbell (Cousins 75), Fender, Iordache.