LANCING Football Club progressed into the quarter-finals of the Peter Bentley Cup with a late 1-0 win against Mile Oak on Tuesday evening.
Anthony Whittington’s Oak side pushed his brother Richard’s division-higher outfit all the way and looked set to force extra-time until Josh Spinks headed in an 86th-minute corner to seal Lancers’ spot in the quarter-finals, where they will host Newhaven.
Chances for either side were at a premium throughout a largely attritional encounter but, after Oak’s Lloyd Skinner drove an effort wide, both goalkeepers were called into action early on.
Oak keeper Aaron Stenning saved from Owen Callaghan, while Lancers stopper Darren Ford kept out a Craig Hall volley and then produced a superb diving save to deny Danny Curd from close range.
The only other clear-cut opportunity in the first half fell to Lancers’ best player on the night, Mike Williamson, but he fired narrowly wide.
Upon the resumption, Williamson went close again when Stenning blocked his effort and he then had a header cleared off the line by Jude MacDonald.
Chris Paine lashed an effort wide at the other end in an increasingly open encounter as both sides looked to catch the other on the counter-attack.
With both sides lacking an end product, an additional 30 minutes seemed a near certainty but Lancers had other ideas and, having lost twice to late goals in recent games, struck at the death themselves.
Stenning had reacted brilliantly to tip over Williamson’s dipping strike but, from skipper Naim Rouane’s resulting flag-kick, Spinks squeezed home a header through a crowd of players.
Paine put a free kick over as Oak were unable to find a response and Lancers moved into the last eight.
Oak boss Anthony Whittington was pleased with his side’s showing and said: “We out-passed them in the first half and were the better side, despite what Tricky may say, but you have to score when you’re on top and we didn’t do that.
“The second half was very even, both teams had decent spells and both keepers have made good saves but we acquitted ourselves and got done by a set piece in the last few minutes.
“It’s a disappointing way to lose a close cup tie against a side a league above us but I was pleased with the performance.
“Aaron Ransom has just come back from injury and picked up a knock, as did Lloyd Skinner and Craig Hall, while Andy McDowell’s still not 100 per cent fit after illness, so we had to reshuffle the team a bit but we played well and, in my view, the better team lost.”
Lancing manager Richard Whittington said: “We made hard work of it and had to stay patient. In the first half, their keeper has made some very good saves to keep them in it and the second half could have gone either way.
“It’s a pleasing win against a side managed by my brother, in what was a cup final for them.”
Lancers travel to local rivals Shoreham for another derby on Saturday, while Oak face a trip to Midhurst in the Division 2 Cup.
LANCING: Ford; Fenton, Spinks, Bowra, Hendy; Callaghan, Adams, Davis, Rouane; Williamson, Robertshaw. Subs: Conway (Rouane 87), Phillips, Mills, Vine, Porter.
MILE OAK: Stenning; C.Hall, Paine, MacDonald, Marsh; Skinner, Garrod, J.Hall, Turley-George, Ransom; Curd. Subs: McDowell (Skinner 58), French (Ransom 75), Pulling (C Hall 86), Gillingham.