Rooks suffer four shades of Grays

A below-par first-half display saw Lewes suffer a disappointing defeat at Grays Athletic ahead of games against the top two sides in the league reports Tom Harper.

Garry Wilson made two changes to the side that had won 5-1 at Cray Wanderers in their previous game, with Jay Lovett and Sam Gore replacing Ben Austin and the injured Matt Crabb in the starting line-up.

Despite not seeing much of the ball early on, it was Lewes who had the first chance of the game when Luke Blewden latched onto a Jack Dixon through-ball but put his effort just wide of the post when under pressure from a Grays defender.  The hosts strikers Joel Nouble and Leroy Griffiths were causing the Rooks defence plenty of problems with their movement, and Rikki Banks was forced into smart saves to deny both of them in the opening stages.

Banks was powerless to prevent Lewes falling behind after 21 minutes though, as an inch-perfect cross from the right by Craig Pope was headed into the bottom corner by Danny Bunce. Grays could have doubled their lead moments later, as Banks had to be alert to deny Alex Cruickshank from close range after an impressive passing move.

Lewes should have equalised just after the half-hour, as Blewden beat the offside trap and rounded Lloyd Anderson in the hosts goal only to see his effort from a difficult angle hit the side-netting.  Two minutes later, Grays punished the Rooks for this missed chance by doubling their lead. Nouble was the scorer, as he was given too much time and space on the edge of the penalty area to place an effort into the bottom corner.

The Rooks very nearly got back into the game right on the stroke of half-time, as Nick Wheeler cut inside from the left and saw his effort parried by Anderson into the path of Blewden, who saw his attempt blocked by a superb last-ditch challenge.

The second half could not have got off to a worse start for Lewes, as they fell further behind just five minutes after the break.  The goal was scored by Ruddock Yala, who sent a free header from a Lee Flynn free-kick across Banks and into the far corner to give the Rooks a real mountain to climb.

Three minutes later however, the travelling Lewes fans had something to cheer as Blewden latched onto a Fraser Logan through-ball and lifted the ball over the onrushing Anderson to convert arguably the toughest of his chances.  Just two minutes after letting Lewes back into the game, Grays restored their three-goal advantage as Nouble outpaced the Rooks defence to a ball over the top, rounded Banks and passed the ball into the empty net.

Once again though, Lewes found a route back into the game. Dixon was the scorer, drilling the ball across Anderson and into the bottom corner after finding space in the penalty area with 29 minutes remaining.  Just minutes later, the Rooks very nearly moved to within one goal of Grays as substitute Jack Maloney found himself clean through on goal after a scuffed clearance, but saw his tame effort comfortably saved by Anderson.

Lewes continued to enjoy the better of the play in the closing stages without really testing a resolute home defence, although Anderson had to be alert to keep out a free-kick from Ross Treleaven and another close-range effort from Blewden.

Ultimately, it was a poor first-half display that cost Lewes this game, as they arguably created enough chances to get a point over the course of the 90 minutes.  There can be few complaints about the result though, as Grays were more clinical in front of goal and stayed organised defensively during the Rooks best spells of the game.

Next up for Lewes is a game against top-of-the-table Dulwich Hamlet at the Pan on Saturday, kick-off at 3pm.

Grays Athletic: Anderson, Pope, Flynn, Kirby, Yala, Cruickshank (Mtyanda 64), Bunce (Small 75), Beaney, Nouble, Griffiths (Moses 88), Carlos.

Unused Subs: Greene, Maxwell.

Booked: Yala, Beaney, Griffiths.

Lewes: Banks, S. Crabb (Treleaven 80), Gore, Pearson (Austin 63), Lovett, Walder, Wheeler, Dixon, Blewden, N. Crabb, Logan (Maloney 68).

Unused Subs: Murrell-Williamson, Badger.

Booked: None.

Referee: Ian Fissenden

Attendance: 156

 

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Beer Festival – Friday 28th Feb

Beer Festival poster

Friday 28th February sees the Supporters’ Club hosting one of their classic Beer Festivals at the picturesque setting of the Rook Inn.

 

There will be some twenty ales and ciders available (plus the odd lager for that mate that insists on coming with you).

Hot food will also be on offer and who knows what else. Plus, you’ll get a free commemorative Lewes FC pint glass that will make you the envy of all your friends.

Tickets are just £5 and are are available at The Gardeners Arms, Hartleys off-license or the Club Office from this weekend.

Any tickets left will be sold on the night too.

Doors open at 5pm.

Contact norm@lewesfc.com or 07709 557742 for more details.

Connor at the double

After a ten week break of postponements and frustration, a new look U18s side picked up an away point at a blustery Piddlinghoe Avenue versus a resolute Peacehaven side reports Kevin Brook.

Youth managers Dave Amiet and Darren Teague gave debuts to three U16s players – 15 year old goalkeeper David Carruthers, center back Liam Wilson and midfielder George Corp – while another 16 year old, James Maynard was named on the bench for the first time. Jacob Bassett made only his third start of the season at right back, while James Hobbs shuffled inside from his usual left back slot to partner Wilson at centre back. George Laughlin filled in at left back and a midfield consisting of captain Ollie Stevenson, Corp, Jarvis Kelly, Harry Millar, with Josh Marshall supporting Callum Connor who led the attack.

During the first half the Magpies had the strong wind at their backs and after a quarter of an hour gone they deservedly took the lead with a stunning 20 yard angled drive from the dangerous right winger Ian Robinson.

This was the wakeup call the young Rooks needed and within 90 seconds they were level. An inch perfect 40 yard through ball from Wilson, gave Callum Connor the opportunity to round Jordan Harris and slot home into an empty net. One one.

Unfortunately two further Peacehaven goals in the closing stages of the first half gave Lewes everything to do in the second period. Some hesitant defending in the 39 minutes gave captain James Hammond the chance to volley the ball into the net from the edge of the box, then after giving away a cheap free kick on the stroke of half time, Billy Pout smashed a wickedly curling effort which Curruthers got a hand to but couldn’t keep out the powerful free kick.

After taking a knock to the head towards the end of the first half, Millar was replace by Reece Willis-Brown at the break, with Jarvis Kelly switching wings. Despite the Rooks best efforts the bobbly pitch and strong wind made it difficult to play their usual passing game but they stuck at their task admirably. Dan Huet replaced the injured Josh Marshall on the hour and the change paid dividend when Huet powerfully headed home his sixth of the season with 15 to play.

It was all Lewes now and after a penalty area tussle, Callum Connor was hauled to the ground and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot despite the vocal protests from the Peacehaven players. Connor dusted himself down and fired the perfect penalty into top right corner for his 11th goal in 14 matches this season, which ensured a point for the Rooks.

Whilst it was disappointing not to take all three points, coming back from a two goal deficit with only 15 minutes remaining showed the spirit of the squad which would have impressed on looking first team manager Garry Wilson and U21 manager Gary Croydon. And with four u16 players making their debut, a number playing out of position and some players playing through the pain barrier towards the end of the 90 minutes there were definitely positives to be taken out of the gusty Monday night in Peacehaven.

Next up for the U18s is a trip to Horsham on Thursday night (27th February), 8pm kick off at Broadbridge Heath FC, while the next time you can catch the lads at the Pan is Thursday 6th March when we welcome Peacehaven, 7.45pm kick off.

Lewes line up: Carruthers, Bassett (Maynard 78), Laughlin, Stevenson (c), Hobbs, Wilson, Kelly, Corp, Connor, Marshall (Huet 60), Millar (Willis-Brown 46). Subs not used: Okafor, Colmer

Goals: Connor 17, 85 (pen) Huet 75.

Cautions: Huet, Stevenson.

MOM: James Hobbs.

Five Star Rooks

A superb second-half performance helped Lewes to their biggest victory of the season in their first game for over four weeks due to the recent bad weather. Garry Wilson was able to select from an almost full squad, with only Sam Gore unavailable due to a one-match ban. Report by Tom Harper.

The Rooks were kicking into the strong wind during the first half, but comfortably contained the hosts in a quiet opening 15 minutes.  Lewes then enjoyed their best spell of the half, with Ben Austin seeing a powerful header from a Nick Wheeler corner superbly tipped onto the crossbar by Cray goalkeeper Darren Behcet, who then kept out a curling effort from Fraser Logan just moments later.  He was powerless to stop the Rooks taking the lead after 17 minutes though, as Austin headed home at the far post following an excellent left-wing cross from the impressive Wheeler.

The remainder of the half passed by with little incident, although Lewes were forced into an early substitution due to an injury suffered by Matt Crabb, with Steve Brinkhurst replacing him at left-back.

12724459583_39b6858cca_bA quiet start to the second half was ended after 64 minutes as Lewes doubled their lead. Luke Blewden was the scorer, as he cleverly glanced a near-post header across Behcet and into the far corner after a perfectly-weighted cross from Nathan Crabb.  The Rooks were playing some of their best football of the season, with the impressive Jack Walder controlling the game in midfield and Wheeler causing the Cray back four all kinds of problems with his pace.  After 71 minutes, it was 3-0 as Jack Dixon confidently converted a penalty he had won after being tripped in the area.  The penalty decision did not go down well with the home side, who saw one of their coaches sent from the dugout for his comments towards the referee.

Just three minutes later, Lewes made it 4-0. Dixon was the scorer, calmly slotting the ball home from the edge of the penalty area after being cleverly teed up by Luke Blewden following an excellent passing move in the Rooks midfield.  With the three points now in the bag, the Rooks’ management were able to hand Portsmouth loan signing Jack Maloney his debut off the bench and also give Rhys Murrell-Williamson a chance to impress in only his second appearance for the club.

Cray continued to look to find a way back into the game though, as Steve Smith forced a fine save from Rikki Banks with a powerful cross-shot from the left wing.  In terms of team goals, Lewes undoubtedly saved the best until last, as another intricate passing move in midfield ended with Sam and Nathan Crabb exchanging passes on the edge of the penalty area before the former sent a low effort across Behcet and into the bottom corner to make it 5-0 with seven minutes remaining.  The hosts had the last word on an otherwise miserable day for them however, as substitute Moses Ashkodi sent an excellent curling effort looping over Banks and into the back of the net after 89 minutes.

This was a superb display by Lewes, who showed no lack sharpness despite having not played since the end of January.  It has seen the Rooks move up to 11th in the table and sets them up well for a tough run of fixtures, starting at Grays Athletic on Thursday, kick-off at 7.45pm.

Cray Wanderers: Behcet, Udoji (Ashkodi 68), Bird, James-Lewis, Koo-Boothe, Orome, Berry, Stavrinou, Vines, Campbell, Smith.

Unused Subs: Simpson, Gianoulis, Obamwonyi, Beckett.

Booked: Udoji, Vines, Campbell.

Lewes: Banks, S. Crabb, M. Crabb (Brinkhurst 33), Pearson, Austin, Walder, Wheeler (Murrell-Williamson 74), Dixon, Blewden (Maloney 74), N. Crabb, Logan.

Unused Subs: Treleaven, Lovett.

Booked: M. Crabb, Walder, Maloney.

Attendance: 317

 

Rookettes rue missed chances as Charlton edge a 5 goal thriller

The Rookettes were left to think on what might have been as Charlton took the spoils in a breathless encounter at Thamesmead. Lewes, welcoming Charlotte Bennett back from long-term injury but missing defenders Vicky Elcome and Lel Smith, opened the match on the front foot. Charlton struggled to cope with the marauding Sian Heather as Clare Trafford, Catherine O’Hagan and Nikki Payne fed her a series of tempting through-balls reports Ash Head.

Charlton Athletic WFC 3 Lewes Ladies FC – 23 February 2014, Sporting Club Thamesmead, FAWPL South

O’Hagan almost opened the scoring on 12 minutes, her 18 yard strike beating Lynch only to cannon off the cross-bar. Three minutes later Harrison cut loose, rounding Beazley to pull her shot wide with a lone defender on the line. Kelly Newton covered every blade of grass as she drove her side forward, yet Charlton matched the work-rate. On 21 minutes Kit Graham turned her marker, twisting inside to fire low and wide from the edge of the box. Moments later Trafford found Newton on the right, the Lewes skipper’s perfectly weighted strike tipped over by the back-peddling Lynch.

Katie Baker, Newton and O’Hagan fought hard in midfield. McCullock had a shot blocked, Wells released Heather, certain to score until Simmons poked it past her own post. Charlton looked increasingly dangerous on the break. On 33 minutes Simmons sent a free kick high into the six yard area. Graham rose to head past the out-rushing Beazley, following up a goal line clearance with a brave finish in off the right post: 1-0.

Lewes raised the tempo, Heather’s low finish beating Lynch but also the post. Heather latched onto a Simmons back-pass and again beat Lynch, this time with a chip that fell just wide. Charlton continued to create chances, Sam Pittuck heading over on the stroke of half-time.

Charlton came out for part two with the wind at their backs and their tails up. Agnew called for more effort and her team responded, yet Charlton pressed, Graham fizzing in a shot that squirmed under Beazley, the Lewes keeper clawing the ball back off her line.

The game became a mirror of the first half, Charlton looking long, Lewes to counter. On 53 minutes Cath O’Hagan cut inside Rosie Paye on the goal-line. Her cross picked out Heather who’s sliced shot across Lynch was met by Kelly Newton on the charge, sliding the ball home from four yards. 1-1.

Both sides pressed for the lead. O’Hagan played in Heather who was fouled. McIntyre’s free kick dropped for Newton as Lynch pounced. Charlton’s back four stepped up, catching Heather and O’Hagan offside. On 68 minutes the home side regained the lead with a goal worthy of winning any match. Sam Pittuck’s vicious, dipping volley, struck on the run from Paye’s ball over the top, scorched past Beazley, drawing a collective gasp from the crowd. The angle wasn’t as tight but the strike was every bit as clean as Van Basten’s finish v Russia in ’88.

Lewes continued to play on the break, McCullock and O’Hagan seeking out the tireless Heather, but the offside trap was well-set. As Heather made way for Spice, the visitors’ quest for a leveller inevitably left gaps. On 76 minutes Harrison chased down a long Lynch clearance, her first-time cross leaving Pittuck a far simpler finish. 3-1. With ten minutes to go Payne made way for Bennett before Spice clipped a smart shot over Lynch and onto the roof of the net. The referee capped his performance with a series of harsh hand-ball decisions. First Newton then McIntyre (booked for vocalising her incredulity) were penalised when struck on the arm from close-range. On the stroke of 90 minutes, to the disgust of the locals, he awarded a penalty against the unfortunate Paye for handball as Newton looked to meet McIntyre’s free kick. Up stepped O’Hagan to wrong-foot Lynch. 3-2.

Alas, it proved too little too late and the match ended seconds after the restart.

Afterwards Jacquie Agnew and Dave Cole agreed that a failure to convert early chances had cost the side what would have been a deserved point from an excellent contest.

MvP: Kelly Newton

Lewes: Beazley, McIntyre, Palmer, Wells, Baker, Newton, McCullock, Payne (Bennett 80), Trafford, O’Hagan, Heather (Spice 72)

Charlton: Lynch, Houlihan (Hardaker 69), Simmons, Paye, Flack, Coombs (Singyard 63), Clifford,

Re-arranged games

Some news on our re-arranged games.

Next THURSDAY (27th February) we now travel to play Grays Atheltic away (at Aveley FC).  This game has been pushed back by 24 hours on the instruction of the Ryman League due to Grays playing in the Ryman League Cup on Tuesday night

On Tuesday 8th April we will hope to make it third time lucky when we travel to Enfield Town away, kick off 7:45pm

On Wednesday 16th April we will host Wingate and Finchley at home, kick off 7:45pm.

Don’t forget our game this weekend is away at Cray Wanderers on SUNDAY 23rd February, kick off 3pm.

U18s washout continues

The imposed midseason break continues for the Lewes youth team as tonight’s scheduled match against Worthing has been postponed due to another waterlogged pitch. Dave Amiet and Darren Teague’s lads haven’t had the chance to play since a 6-0 thumping of Hastings United back on the 9th December…now over an incredible 10 weeks ago.

To attempt to ease the fixture congestion, the U18s hopefully tackle two matches next week – a trip to Peacehaven on Monday, followed up by an away game at Horsham on Thursday evening (who play at Broadbridge Heath FC).

Fingers crossed for some dry weather!