From the soaring heights of last weekend’s FA Cup triumph over Slough Town, Whitehawk’s imperfect start to the league lengthened with defeat by virtue of a laudable Lancing turnaround.
Ross Standen’s group were full of zip in the early exchanges and earned their just reward through James Fraser. There was little thunder in the side from along the coast but they struck level minutes later courtesy of Finn Daniels-Yeomans. The Hawks whacked the Lancing wall but found it impenetrable as the visitors stole the points late on as Matt Daniel tapped home.
The sounds of drums, cowbells and smacked scaffolding fizzed around the Din as Henry Muggeridge stroked the ball back to Adam El-Abd from the centre circle. The game was underway. It was attritional in the beginning but Javaun Splatt had the best opening; spanking his elevated shot into the roof of the stand’s ceiling having found a sizable amount of space.
Not to worry. For this game would burst into life in the 23rd minute. Ollie Munt the supplier, he had time to identify a man in red with a beautiful cross. Fraser would then be wheeling away in delight as his cushioned header nestled in the bottom corner to hurl the Hawks in front.
But Lancing would soon draw level. Not ten minutes later, Mahamadou Juwara whipped a precise cross into the box that found the head of Finn Daniels-Yeomans who adroitly and authoritatively nodded the ball home.
Nathan Stroomberg-Clarke was required in the Hawks’ net to thwart some late first-half pressure. Demonstrating his mettle, the ‘keeper rushed out of goal to block Brad Campbell-Francis’ low-effort. A more even affair on the pasture, the score would remain equal as the shapes of light blue and red trudged down the tunnel for their half-time oranges.
On came Stephen Okoh for Munt with the belief that some infused extra pace would enhance the pattern of the contest. Daniels-Yeomans eyed his second though. Just to the right of the box, his shot towards goal was clawed over the crossbar by Stroomberg-Clarke.
It just so transpired that Whitehawk found the Lancers’ ‘keeper Alieu Secka in immense form. A crucial, once implausible double save from Fraser and then Splatt preserved the 1-1 scoreline. Omarr Lawson slipping Fraser in at goal, Secka saved with his legs before Splatt side-footed one viciously at goal. It’s a little close to Secka, but he sticks out his lower limb to divert the ball across the face, and out for a corner. Magnificent stuff.
Fraser now yearning his second, there he was standing over a free-kick just centimetres from the white-boxed paint. Secka offered some space on his side so Fraser opted for that corner; lacing the ball to that exact area where Secka’s glove managed to tip it past the post as the Hawks peppered the opposition.
But football’s a funny old game. There’s no real logic to it, and that’s why we treasure it. On this occasion, we’d probably argue against that as Lancing swiped the points away from Whitehawk in the final ten minutes. Juwara skipped past Muggeridge prior to his whooshed ball across the face. Daniel as free as a starling dancing in the sundown sky, he billowed the net to send his side in front. Juwara’s second assist of the afternoon.
So that was that. Such euphoria that followed last Saturday’s famous FA cup victory, cruelly dashed as the Hawks lose their fourth consecutive league game. No need for concern, there’s floodlight football on Tuesday to put things how they should. Burgess Hill Town the guests, an evening under the white lights awaits.