After suffering consecutive home defeats to sides below them in the early SCFL Premier Division table, AFC Uckfield Town will face less expectation as they travel to Lancing FC today, and will look to use the expectations on their 2nd-placed hosts to their advantage.
Against the only side unbeaten in all matches lasting 90 or 120 minutes in the entire ninth tier of English football this season, however, the Uckers will certainly have their work cut out for them in their visit to Culver Road, writes Will Hugall.
While an otherwise highly encouraging Uckers season has had the brakes placed on it after two defeats in the space of four days against Saltdean United and Horsham YMCA, Anthony Storey’s side will know that, with the margins as fine as the 2-1 scorelines in both games suggested, they are not far from putting things right.
Going into this meeting, one excuse the Uckers are unlikely to use for those results is the history between the clubs.
While they were winless in league meetings with Saltdean and YM in 2018-19, the Uckers picked up six points from their meetings with Lancing last season, and also in 2017-18 – a feat which applies an interesting secondary plotline to more recent form.
If the Lancers’ early form can be sustained throughout this season, however, the Uckers may have reason to be cautious, as they have only won three points from sides that went on to finish in the Premier Division’s top two since promotion in 2015.
Last season, that story could have be very different in all four meetings with Chichester City and Horsham YMCA, as they lost by a single goal on each occasion and were only denied points on the road by a 94th minute goal at Chi and two late goals after leading 3-2 at Gorings Mead.
Opposition Lowdown – Lancing FC
Formed in 1941 and having never played higher than the Sussex County League Division One or SCFL Premier Division – with a highest finish of 2nd achieved in both the 1964-65 and 2011-12 seasons – Lancing’s form so far this season, it is fair to say, has been something of a revelation.
Coinciding with the appointment this summer of former captain Naim Rouane as manager, the Lancers’ 20-game run without defeat (other than a penalty shoot-out exit to Egham Town in the FA Cup) has seen them match Eastbourne Town in setting the pace for other promotion hopefuls, with only goal difference keeping them from the top of the table after eight matches.
Despite having scored two fewer than Town in the league, for goals in all competitions the West Sussex side are joint leaders in all three divisions of the SCFL, alongside Montpelier Villa, after bagging an astounding 42 from 14 matches.
Pivotal to those feats has been the form of striker Lewis Finney, who himself has 20 goals from just 13 appearances in league and cup, making him comfortably the deadliest goal threat in the SCFL so far this season.
Finney has not been alone on the scoring front, with Alex Fair also plundering seven and James Rhodes contributing four, while at the other end goalkeeper Taylor Seymour has kept four clean sheets, making the Uckers’ task of upsetting such form an extremely stern one.
Lancing FC vs AFC Uckfield Town kicks off this afternoon at 3 p.m. at the Lancers’ home of Culver Road, also the HQ of the Sussex County FA.
Directions to Culver Road (Lancing, BN15 9AX) are available, via the SCFA website, here.
Admission is £6 for adults, £4 for concessions, and £2 for U16s.
Live updates will be available throughout the match on both the @AfcUckfieldTown Twitter page and on the Saturday Sport programme with David Eggleston, live here on Uckfield FM from 2-6 p.m., while a full report will also follow in the hours after the game, available here at Uckfield FM.
Come on you Uckers!