Lancing seal surprise FA Cup win over division-higher Haywards Heath Town
Lancing stunned Bostik League South East new boys Haywards Heath Town to reach the FA Cup preliminary round on Saturday.
Striker Charlie Pitcher’s early penalty and a stoppage-time strike from Jack Langford sealed a shock 2-0 extra preliminary round success for Lancers at Hanbury Park.
Bouncing back from defeat at Pagham last time out, Lancing clinched Â£2,250 in prize money and face a trip to Heath’s league rivals Greenwich Borough in the next round on Saturday week.
Lancers started strongly as striker Matt Daniel was brought down in the area after two minutes, earning a penalty which was dispatched clinically by Pitcher.
Despite defender Louis Pittock being forced off with an injury midway through the first half, Lancing were able to hold their own against a side in the league above and sealed a surprise cup win in second half stoppage-time thanks to Langford’s strike.
Player-coach Mark Pulling, who provided the assist for Langford’s late goal, praised Lancing’s performance and the professionalism to see the game out having scored an early goal.
He said: “It was a good performance, much improved from last two games.
"When you get an early goal it can work against you. You can go in that defensive mode by holding on but anyone at the game saw that the result was more than a fair reflection of the game, we could have had more.”
Pulling was also full of praise for young defensive pair Adam Willard and Tom Butler, who was introduced midway through the first half after Pittock went off injured, as the away side managed to keep a clean sheet.
He added: “We had a couple of players missing so we had young Adam Willard at right-back, who’s only 19, and another young lad, Tom Butler, came on at left-back. They were both absolutely outstanding.”
After a win and loss to start this season, the FA Cup came as a distraction from league proceedings. Pulling said: “The FA Cup is lovely to play in, it doesn’t matter what level, you just want to play in it. Everyone wants to do well.
“It’s always nice for a little cup run, we’ve got Greenwich Borough away in the next round which is another one where we can go and have a go.
“The result gives a little bit more belief. I think the players and the staff know you can’t get carried away with one win. It doesn’t define the season, it’s what you do over next four or five games. We’re looking at it in mini-blocks to see where we are.”
Lancing are back in league action on Saturday as they entertain Newhaven before East Preston are the visitors on Tuesday.
LANCING: D’Cruz; Willard, L.Pittock, Bygraves, Sharman; Hendy, Langford, Williamson, Pitcher; Saunders, Daniel. Subs: Pulling (Pitcher, 66), Westlake (Saunders, 80), F.Pittock, Butler (L.Pittock, 23), Gunn.