LANCING Football Club moved up to second in the Southern Combination League Premier Division on Saturday as they kicked off the new year in style with a comprehensive win over struggling East Preston.
Max Howell hit a hat-trick on his debut, after coming on as an early substitute, and goals from Jake Mills, Dave O’Callaghan and one each for the Finney brothers, Lewis and Elliot, completed the rout.
Lancing had won by the same scoreline against rock-bottom St Francis Rangers earlier in the season and from the moment they took a fifth minute lead always looked capable of repeating that feat.
Elliot Finney bundled home the opener from a corner to give Lancing the lead.
The same player then rattled the woodwork before Lancers lost Callum McHale to a head injury but his replacement Howell was soon in the thick of the action.
Lewis Finney doubled the hosts’ advantage with his 15th goal of the season – from the penalty spot – before Howell slammed in a superb strike to put his side 3-0 up with barely half-an-hour played.
EP were simply unable to stem the tide and Lancing scored again through the unlikeliest of sources when Dave Sharman poked home his first of the season and only fourth ever goal for the club in nearly 250 appearances.
Howell and George Fenton both went close to the fifth, before substitute Jake Mills duly obliged with an unorthodox finish just past the hour mark. Lewis Finney crossed to the back post and the full-back diverted the ball home off his cheek.
Howell completed his hat-trick with two well-taken finishes to make it 7-0.
Liam Hendy headed over before O’Callaghan slid home the eighth two minutes from time to complete the scoring.
Lancers manager Ash Bailey said: “It was important that we scored early so that we could open them up and then we were able to relax, stretch the pitch and utilise our advantage.
“I am very happy that a player of Max Howell’s quality has signed for us and for him it was the perfect debut with a hat-trick. For me it is a major headache as it’s another quality player in the squad and a real selection dilemma over who to leave out.”
Lancers host Arundel on Saturday.
LANCING: Fidler; Bowra, Hendy, Sharman. Fenton; Rouane, E.Finney; McHale, Caplin, Williamson; L.Finney. Subs: Howell (McHale 17), Mills (E.Finney 47), O’Callaghan (Rouane 68), Adams, House.
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