John Sharman had mixed emotions after Lancing Football Club’s Southern Combination League Premier Division draw at Crawley Down Gatwick on Tuesday.
Lancers trailed inside a minute, led 2-1 at the interval, before it finished all square at 2-2. Both teams finished with ten men as Lancing’s Alex Bygraves and Down’s James Day were sent off late on for an off-the-ball incident.
Lancing boss Sharman had mixed feelings at the end and said: “It’s a funny one, to be honest. You go behind inside a minute, then think ‘I’d be happy with a point’.
“We then came in at half-time ahead and I hoped we’d go on to win. Overall I’m satisfied with a point.”
Nicholas Sullivan netted inside a minute to fire Down in front.
Luke Donaldson’s angled drive levelled things 12 minutes later, before a superb control and finish from Lewis Finney turned things around on the half-hour.
James Day got Down back on terms 25 minutes from time as it ended all square.
The action was not over there, though. Lancers’ Bygraves and goalscorer Day clashed off-the-ball and both were shown red cards.
Lancers were left to rue a late show from Eastbourne Town on Saturday.
Jason Taylor struck three minutes from time, then Bright Temba secured the win for Town with an effort three minutes into second half stoppage-time.
With just five minutes left on the clock, Sharman’s side had looked destined for at least a point, before two late goals from Eastbourne Town took them to a 2-0 victory at Culver Road on the opening weekend of the SCFL season.
Lancing boss Sharman was left frustrated by his team’s display after half-time.
He said: “They looked a decent team, with plenty of options and a good squad.
“After our performance in the first 45 minutes, I was very disappointed with how we played in the second. It looked inevitable that they were going to score at some point, it was just a case of when.”
Lancers’ best chance came on the half-hour. Finney was sent racing away but Town goalkeeper Greg Nessling was out quickly to stop his attempted flick.
Lancers survived a scare with the interval approaching. Christopher Cummings-Bart tried to go round Tyler D’Cruz but Lancing’s keeper was equal to his effort.
Town were on top for the majority of the second period and got their reward three minutes from the end. A poor clearance from D’Cruz fell into Taylor’s path and he slotted home. Substitute Temba then added a second in stoppage-time to seal the win for the visitors.
Lancers are without a game on Saturday but return to action with a home Peter Bentley second-round clash with division-below Steyning Town on Tuesday.
LANCING v Eastbourne Town: D’Cruz; Clayman, Bygraves, D.Sharman, Marsh; Dramis, Aguair, E.Finney; Williamson, Wotherspoon, L.Finney. Subs: Bunch (Wotherspoon), Donaldson (Dramis), Emery (Aguair).
LANCING v Crawley Down Gatwick: D’Cruz; Clayman, Bygraves, D.Sharman, Marsh; B.Donaldson, Rudgwick, E.Finney, Williamson, L.Donaldson; L.Finney, Subs: Aguiar (Rudgwick), Sabanda (B.Donaldson), Blogg.