A solid display saw Lewes pick up an encouraging draw against a Charlton Athletic development side managed by former Premier League player Jason Euell reports Tom Harper.
With Henry Muggeridge available after picking up an injury in the friendly at Whitehawk last week, Garry Wilson was able to name an almost full-strength squad with the exception of Jack Walder and Nathan Crabb, who both remain unavailable through injury.
The visitors started brightly, with the pace of Tareiq Holmes-Dennis and Anthony Jeffrey down the left causing the Lewes back four one or two problems early on. It was a purposeful run down the left from Jeffrey that created the first chance of the game, with Rikki Banks forced to push a powerful cross-shot away from danger. Just minutes later though, Lewes could have taken the lead with their first chance of the game, as a deflected free-kick from Jack Dixon found its way to Terry Dodd in front of goal, but the in-form striker was denied by a smart save from Dillion Phillips.
Both sides were trying to keep the ball on the ground, with Lewes looking particularly dangerous when they got the ball out wide and looked to aim crosses towards Dodd and Luke Blewden in the penalty area. Despite this, it was the visitors who had the better chances before the break. Fortunately for the Rooks, Banks was alert to keep out two powerful long-range efforts from Zak Ansah. Both sides used the early stages of the second half to make changes, with this leading to a slight drop in tempo from what had been an entertaining first half.
Charlton had the first clear-cut opportunity of the second half and arguably their best chance of the game 20 minutes after the break, as a rare moment of hesitation in the Lewes defence allowed Ansah run through on goal, only to be denied by another fine save from Banks. The visitors were continuing to look dangerous in the final third, and had another opportunity to go ahead minutes later when Karlan Ahearne-Grant dragged an effort wide of the far post from a tight angle. Lewes had their best opportunity of the second half with about 15 minutes remaining, as Blewden saw a powerful snap-shot from a difficult angle just inside the penalty area parried by Phillips.
Both sides had half-chances to win the game late on, with substitute Stephane Valcy sending a presentable chance across the face of goal for Charlton before Blewden saw an effort from the edge of the penalty area comfortably saved by Phillips, but the match finished as a stale-mate.
This was an encouraging performance from Lewes, who matched their professional visitors for long periods and might even have won the game had they been a bit sharper in the final third. The Rooks were also grateful to Banks for several fine saves though, especially in the first half, to ensure they picked up their first clean sheet of pre-season.
Lewes conclude their pre-season preparations on Saturday, when they travel to Conference South side Eastbourne Borough for a 3pm kick-off.
Lewes: Banks, Malins, Cole (Brinkhurst 46), Rowe, Elphick (Stinson 70), Logan (Branford 60), Wheeler, Dixon (Napper 52), Dodd (Romain 70), Blewden, Muggeridge (Treleaven 60).
Unused Subs: None.
Charlton Athletic XI: Phillips, Nego, Holmes-Dennis, Munns, Dawa (Osbourne 46), Thomas, Muldoon, Browne (Gerard 46, Valcy 77), Ansah, Ahearne-Grant, Jeffrey (Cumberbatch 68).
Unused Subs: Beeney, Lee, Pyke.