Naim Rouane lauded the ‘application and attitude’ displayed by his youthful Lancing squad as he got his managerial career off to a winning start on Saturday.
Lancers fought back from a goal down to secure an opening-day 2-1 SCFL Premier Division triumph at Eastbourne United.
Lancing would have been fearing the worst when Alfie Headland fired the hosts ahead after 57 minutes.
But summer signing Lewis Finney levelled 12 minutes later before Mo Juwara won it for the visitors on 71 minutes.
It ensured Rouane won his first competitive match in senior management.
And Lancers did it without a host of senior squad members, including James Rhodes, Alex Fair, George Fenton, Josh Clayman and Alex Bygraves.
But Rouane singled out the three 16-year-olds, two 17 and the same number of players aged 18 that made up the team for the trip to Eastbourne.
He said: “It was a really good win at a very difficult place to play football.
“We took a squad down that included three 16-year-old, two 17 and two 18-year-olds.
“I was delighted with the attitude, application and courage from the boys to play football on such a difficult surface.
“We dominated large periods of the game through possession football and created a lot of guilt-edged chances.
“For me, we got what we deserved from the game.
“That’s not taking anything away from Eastbourne, they’ll be a very tough side to take points from this season. Good luck to them down there, they’re building something good.”
Lancers were quick out of the traps with Mitch Hewens testing home goalkeeper Jordan Hawkins and Kane Louis striking a post inside the opening 20 minutes.
Midfielder Tom Caplin and Lewis Finney both fired over in the closing stages of the first half as it was goalless at the break.
Lancing’s failure to convert a number of chances in the first 45 minutes came back to haunt them as Headland fired the hosts ahead just over ten minutes after the restart.
But Lancers were not trailing for long, with Finney levelling on 69 minutes.
A fantastic cross from substitute George Mitchell-Phillips was by the returning summer signing to head home.
The turnaround was then complete just two minutes later.
Juwara’s deflected drive wrong-footed goalkeeper Hawkins, leaving him with no chance. Opportunities came at either end in what proved to be a thrilling final ten minutes.
Juwara had a chance to put the game beyond Eastbourne.
But at the other end goalkeeper Matt Evans kept the hosts at bay before some brilliant last-ditch defending from Liam Hendy ensured the Lancers took all three points.
LANCING: Evans; Beresford, Juwara, Williamson, Bukleb, Hendy, Finney, Louis, Honore, Caplin, Hewens. Subs: Mitchell-Phillips (Honore, 55), Sharman (Hewens, 66), A.Bukleb, Baden, Swietlik.
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