On examining Sussex league division two, I discovered that I hadn’t visited any of the grounds. I’ve certainly been to fixtures in this league before but all the clubs I’d visited had been either promoted or relegated. I skimmed through the fixtures for this round and Lancing were the first side from this league that caught my eye.
The journey is remarkably simple, from London to Brighton and then a branch line to Lancing from where the ground is only a 5 minute walk away.
On arriving at Brighton station, the place was swarming with police. I couldn’t establish any particular reason and my confusion was increased when one officer walked up to a guy sitting on a bench, said “Okay, let’s go again” and then pulled out a camcorder. You certainly see some diverse looking people in Brighton, the places makes London look positively boring.
On arriving in Lancing, I set about finding my lunch venue. There is an Asda right next to the station & I popped in there to see if they have a café. They don’t, but what I found left me open-mouthed! I have been to Canada twice recently and they have a chain of fast-food shops called ‘Tim Horton’s’. They are designed a bit like McDonalds and are found with the same kind of regularity at every roadside and junction. Instead of burgers, Tim Horton’s sell coffee and donuts. The stores are clean, the food and drinks are tasty and remarkably cheap. I was under the impression that there were no such outlets in this country. But low and behold, on entering Asda, there was a little Tim Horton’s, serve yourself area with donuts and hot drinks to go.
I left the shop in a state of shock and found a little café where I sat at a table whilst texting my family details of my find. Lunch at the very British and friendly ‘Rainbow café’ was an omelette and chips. It won’t win any awards but was hot and nice enough and I always like to support this type of establishment. I then rushed with excitement back to Asda for my hot chocolate and donut. I left to find the ground, a happy and contented guy.
Lancing FC is also the headquarters for the Sussex FA and the parking and clubhouse buildings all look very modern and well maintained. There is a good sized function room and other areas that I did not have access to. This clubhouse complex is part of the same building used as the main stand which has ample seating. The pitch was good but the rest of the ground was of a much lesser standard. High netting behind each goal is essential to protect surrounding houses but looks ugly. There are doors leading up to the near corner flag that looked like lock up garages, very odd in a football ground. The far side has some mounds behind the hard standing but they were very bare with little grass and you get the overriding feeling that so much more could be done here. Obviously, it’ easy to say that, but would cost loads of money. On climbing the bank, you get a view of two pitches the other side of the fence and I spent a happy ten minutes watching some local games.
The second half of the match was interrupted by a small red, stunt plane performing aerobatics on the horizon. Very impressive, but you would not get me in one of those for love nor money.
The match itself started as a scrappy affair but settled down and was ultimately quite entertaining. Lancing scored on 37 mins after some nice trickery on the left and Dorking equalised 5 minutes later. Lancing went ahead again on 75 mins only for Dorking to quickly equalise again after a man was left criminally unmarked at the far post from a corner. Dorking pulled away in extra time with Lancing clearly exhausted. Two goals in the first period pushed them past the finishing line.
An interesting day full of surprises played in glorious, warm sunshine on the South coast.