A late Greg Berry own goal helped Lancing Football Club to a vital three points as they got their quest for Southern Combination League Premier Division glory going with a 2-1 win at AFC Uckfield on Saturday.
Lewis Finney’s early strike had been cancelled out by Matthew McLean to see things all square at the break.
The game turned in ten second half minutes as Uckfield’s Daniel Barnard and Anthony Storey both saw red for fouls.
Despite having a two-man advantage, it looked like Lancing were going to have to settle for a point before Berry put past his own goalkeeper.
Lancers boss Ash Bailey felt it was far from his side’s best display but was satisfied to come away with all three points.
He said: “We didn’t play well but we won the game and that’s all that matters.
“At times last season we played some good stuff and failed to win matches, so for us to win when we weren’t at our best was pleasing.
“Lewis put us ahead early on and I felt we could well have kicked on from that point.
“They scored from a set-piece and what I felt was a really poor goal for us to concede. It’s still early days this season and you are going to struggle in the first few weeks.
“The game then turned after their two sending offs but they stayed strong and it looked like we’d only get a draw.
“But credit to us we kept going, pushing for that winner and thankfully we got it.”
Finney fired Lancing ahead with a fierce drive with just 15 minutes gone.
Lancers were wasteful, blazing several chances wide before McLean made them pay as he levelled things up ten minutes before the break.
Bailey’s backline failed to deal with a whipped free-kick and McLean was on hand to poke home.
As time was running out a crazy ten minute spell cost the home side. First, substitute Barnard was dismissed for a challenge on Alex Bygraves with 20 minutes to go.
In another twist, Storey received his marching orders for a late tackle on Dave Sharman.
Despite Lancers having the numerical advantage, Uckfield were standing strong before disaster struck on 85 minutes.
A fine whipped delivery from Alex Fair left Berry with no choice but to try and clear but he could only divert the ball into his own goal.
Lancing host Broadbridge Heath in the league tomorrow.
LANCING: Green; Mills, Bygraves, Pollard, Fenton; Sharman, Williamson, Quirke; L.Finney, McHale, Fair. Subs: E.Finney (Williamson), McCarthy (Bygraves), Adams (McHale).
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