LANCING Football Club secured their best finish County League finish in 48 years on Saturday as they secured the runners-up spot in Division 1.
A 6-0 thrashing of AFC Uckfield combined with Three Bridges’ victory in a title decider against Rye United saw Bridges clinch the title, while Lancers finished three points behind in second.
Lancing joint boss Martin Gander hailed his sides season and players for what he admitted has been a dream season for the Culver Road club.
This time last they were second in Division 2 and had been looking for a top-half finish at best, but a phenomenal showing had seen them still involved in the title race up to the penultimate week of the season.
Lancers joint boss Martin Gander now has silverware in their sights next year and hopes they can retain their current players for the 2012/13 season.
He said: “When the season started we were hoping just to finish in the top half, come Christmas we were thinking the top half dozen, then with the brilliant run we went on we were looking at the top three and we kept picking up points and it came down to second on the last day.
“It’s been a fantastic season. On Saturday on not the best surface, and with the recent weather we were expecting a tough game but we were very, very good.
“It was a fantastic performance as we knew what we had to do finish second and they were first class.
“The lads all went out on Saturday night together which shows the camaraderie they have both on and off of the field – it’s the complete team really.
“It’s been extraordinarily great for myself and the two Jasons (Rutherford and Tighe) as we have had such a great squad to pick players from.
“Because I am a Lancing guy it really means a lot to me, what we have achieved. We have all hard to conversation of where we have slipped up against Worthing United twice, but that doesn’t matter.
“Next season we want to win something, that’s the aim, it has got to be now. I sent the Three Bridges boss Paul Faili a congratulations message and he replied saying he thinks we should be the side looking to win the league now next year which was nice.
“I think the majority of players will stay with us, although it’s hard as everyone of them is capable of playing higher and some may get offers.
“It’s a case of not wanting to hold people back and some offers financially may be too good, hopefully though most will stay.”
Charlie Walker had given Lancers a 2-0 lead over Uckfield at half-time on Saturday, before a late Titus Paterson hat-trick and Lee Garnham strike completed a comfortable afternoon.
More in this week’s Lancing, Worthing and Shoreham Herald.