Rooks squad taking shape

Steve Brown has added to the Rooks squad ahead of the 2015-16 season with Jordan Wilson, Steve Sutherland, Dan Hutchins, Elliot Levy and Alex Laing all joining the club.

Lewes boss Brown along with Assistant Jay Lovett have been working hard to add the right players to the squad and have taken their time to put together a mix of youth and experience which they are confident will build on some impressive pre-season performances.

Wilson was with Ryman Premier Division rivals Grays Athletic last season, scoring in their 3-2 defeat at The Dripping Pan, while he can also list Fulham, Histon, Carshalton Athletic and Tooting & Mitcham as former employees. The pacey wide man, 25, excelled in last Saturday’s friendly against Brighton & Hove Albion at right back while Wilson is also able to play further forward as a winger.

Commanding centre half Sutherland has also demonstrated to the Lewes management and supporters alike that the 33 year old former Met Police man will be a huge asset for the Rooks this season. With the Met he was a member of the 2010/11 Ryman League Division 1 South Championship winning team and captained the side that beat AFC Wimbledon in the London Senior Cup final in 2010 and has also appeared for Tooting & Mitcham and Walton Casuals.

Hutchins joins the club from Eastbourne Borough as a graduate of their Academy. The young goalkeeper kept four consecutive clean sheets this pre-season and has been in excellent form having only been beaten by two late Eastbourne Borough strikes. Eagle eyed Rooks fans may remember a 17 year old Hutchins making his Rooks debut back in December 2013 in a Ryman Cup tie against Redhill, while dual signed from Borough, although it was a night to forget as the goalkeeper was injured and had to be replaced before half time.

After taking a season out of football, pacey winger Levy has impressed over the course of pre-season and once his full sharpness returns big things are expected from the former Brighton and Hove Albion youngster. Still only 20, Levy joined Eastbourne Borough in 2013 and was a regular for the Sports as they finished tenth in the Conference South table.

And finally, Alex Laing has also agreed terms with the Rooks. The lively forward has terrorised defences over the last month and the young versatile striker or winger steps up from last season’s Development Squad. Alex was also a regular scorer for Shoreham in the County League last season and had a spell at Worthing.

We welcome all five to the club and hope they enjoy a long and successful spell in Red and Black.

In the other direction, left back Ronayne Marsh-Brown’s short spell at the club has ended. Marsh-Brown signed for the Rooks last month but has found the travel to Lewes difficult and re-joins Met Police.

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Borough take the spoils in bruising affair

Two late goals saw Lewes suffer their first defeat of pre-season against local rivals Eastbourne Borough at the Pan reports Tom Harper.

More concerning for manager Steve Brown and the Rooks fans will be injuries to three important players however, as Steve Sutherland, Nathan Crabb and Henry Muggeridge all had to leave the field after strong challenges from the visitors.  After four encouraging performances and results in pre-season up to this point, it was unsurprising to see the Rooks start the game brightly, with Jay Lovett heading the first chance of the game wide from a Leon Redwood free-kick.

As the half progressed though, it was clear to see that the visitors would provide Lewes with arguably their toughest test of pre-season so far due to their direct style of play and higher level experience.  It didn’t lead to many chances for Borough in the first half however, with a trialist sending a curling effort from the edge of the area just wide in what was their only real opportunity before the break.

Lewes were creating few clear-cut chances themselves, but should have taken the lead when Steve Brinkhurst sent a close-range effort high and wide after a through-ball from Lovett had been mis-judged by Borough right-back Craig Stone.  The half finished on a disappointing note for the Rooks though, as key players Steve Sutherland and Nathan Crabb both went off injured in the space of six minutes.

The second half followed a similar pattern to the first, with Lewes attempting to play the ball out from the back but not really creating any chances, while Borough’s more direct style was causing the Rooks very few problems defensively.

The visitors came very close to taking the lead around the hour mark with the first chance of the half, as Darren Lok saw a curling effort hit the underside of the crossbar before being cleared by Jordan Badger to prevent a Borough player with the easiest of finishes in front of goal.

The introduction of Henry Muggeridge with just over 25 minutes remaining gave Lewes more of an edge in the final third, and his link-up play with fellow substitutes Jack Rowe-Hurst and Alex Laing gave the Borough defence plenty to think about without forcing their goalkeeper Lewis Carey into action.

Laing came closest to doing so with just over 15 minutes remaining, as he held off several challenges on the edge of the area before sending a curling effort just wide.

It was therefore slightly against the run of play when the visitors opened the scoring after 78 minutes. Substitute Kane Haysman was the scorer, finishing from close range after a goal-bound Nathaniel Pinney effort had been blocked.  Lewes played their best football of the game in the closing stages as they looked to score a deserved equaliser, with Lovett shooting over and Redwood sending an effort wide at the end of good passing moves.

The Rooks were punished for these missed chances during injury-time, as Dan Hutchins was only able to parry a long-range effort, leaving Haysman with a simple tap-in for his and Borough’s second goal of the game.

Things got even worse for Lewes in the final minute, as Haysman made a completely unnecessary high challenge on Muggeridge that could well have resulted in a red card in a competitive game and left the impressive midfielder requiring treatment for several minutes before being helped off the pitch.

Having impressed throughout pre-season after missing most of last season through injury, the Lewes management team and supporters will be hoping that Muggeridge’s injury isn’t as serious as it first appeared.

There were plenty of positives for Steve Brown to take from the performance in general against a side from a higher level, with the Rooks passing the ball well at times and perhaps deserving a draw on the balance of play.  However, losing three key players to injury less than two weeks before the opening league game was the worst possible outcome as Lewes look to build on an impressive pre-season.

Lewes finish their pre-season preparations with a home game against a Crystal Palace XI on Saturday, kick-off at 3pm.

Lewes: Hutchins, Wilson, Badger, Lovett, Breach, Sutherland (Welch 36), Levy (Rowe-Hurst 56), Redwood, Crabb (Laing 42), Conlon (Muggeridge 64), Brinkhurst (Williams 56).

Unused Subs: Marshall, Pring, Coppola, Stroomberg.

Booked: None.

Eastbourne Borough: Carey, Stone, Watts, Worrall, Simpemba, Khinda-John, Lok, Collier, Pinney, A Trialist, Romain.

Subs: Rogers, Evans, Haysman, McCallum, Wilson, A Trialist.

Booked: Haysman.

Referee: Jacob Miles

Attendance: 324

Specsavers Continue To Support!

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Lewes store sponsors Kids Go Free initiative for another season.

Lewes Football Club are delighted to announce that Specsavers Lewes are once again sponsoring the club’s highly successful ‘Kid’s Go Free’ initiative, enabling every child under 16 free entry to every home Lewes FC league game for another season. The company, who have also been Club sponsors for the last two seasons, will also continue to provide 25% discount at their store in Lewes for all 1,100 owners of the club, and have extended their advertising and sponsorship packages as well.

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Managing Director of Specsavers Lewes Trish Lofting is delighted to continue her support of the Mighty Rooks.

“We have a superb relationship with Lewes FC, and have done for a number of years, so we are delighted to be able to support them once again. It’s a great initiative, and it encourages more and more mum’s & dads to take their kids along to see their local team, and in that respect we are more than happy to continue the association. It’s a very exciting time for Lewes FC, and wish them every success”.

Kevin Miller, Lewes FC’s Commercial Manager said:

“We are so grateful to Trish and her staff at Specsavers for continuing to be so supportive in what we are trying to do here at Lewes FC, and absolutely delighted that Specsavers will be continuing their sponsorship of the Kids Go Free initiative for another season. It’s a great fit for both of us, and the fantastic 25% discount they Specsavers provide creates a real sense of loyalty to our owners, a lot of whom live within the Lewes area. I look forward to welcoming Trish and all the staff to matches here at the Pan next season”.

The Kids Go Free offer launches at tonights pre-season home friendly against Eastbourne Borough, kick-off 7:45pm, and again for the visit of a Crystal Palace Xl this coming Saturday (August 1), kick off 3pm. The first Ryman Premier League game of the 2015/16 season is against the Met Police on Wednesday, August 12, kick off 7:45pm

To take advantage of Specsavers superb 25% discount,  and over 70 other discounts in stores around the Lewes area you need to become an owner of Lewes FC! 

Visit http://www.lewesfc.com/become-an-owner/ and own your very own football club!

Conlon scores hat-trick as Hassocks are hit for six

IMAG0309With the cricket season still in full swing, Lewes hit Hassocks for six as the Rooks’ unbeaten pre-season run continued, writes Barry Collins.

On a glorious day on the South Downs, the only thing raining was goals, as Lewes dismantled their County League opponents with controlled possession, a relentless work-rate and some exceptional finishing.

It took only three minutes for Lewes to take the lead. A long ball over the top from Sutherland found Muggeridge in behind the Hassocks back four. The dinky midfielder trapped the ball beautifully before flicking it into the path of Nathan Crabb, who slotted home.

Muggeridge doubled the lead on ten minutes, with Lewes profiting from the most generous of penalty decisions. A firm but fair challenge on Levy was adjudged to have been a foul, to the bemusement of both sets of players and supporters, and Muggeridge’s low drive from the spot compounded the injustice.

The referee evened up matters later in the half, though, when Levy was blatantly bundled off the ball in the box. With the howls of protest from the previous decision still ringing in his ears, the referee added bodychecks to the list of legitimate tackling techniques and played on.

No matter, as Lewes still had plenty in reserve for the second half. Ronnie Conlon – who’d earlier replaced the injured Josh Marshall – extended the lead on 50 minutes. Muggeridge baffled the Hassocks defence with about eight step overs, before delivering a peach of a cross for Conlon, who volleyed home into the top-right corner.

The fourth came courtesy of trademark harrying from sub striker Alex Laing, who nicked the ball off the Hassocks centre-back, broke free and slid the ball through to the onrushing Conlon, who tickled it past the keeper.

Conlon completed his hat-trick minutes later. Laing was once again the provider, laying the ball to Conlon, who spent so long dancing around the keeper he got a “seven” from Len Goodman on the sidelines as well as the match ball to take home.

Alex Laing had enough chances to claim a hat-trick of his own in the closing stages, but it wasn’t the young striker’s day. Instead, it was Steve Brinkhurst who rounded off proceedings with a glorious dipping volley from 25 yards.

The Rooks have scored ten but are yet to concede a goal in pre-season, but with Eastbourne Borough (Tuesday) and a Crystal Palace XI (Saturday) coming up at the Pan, sterner tests await.

Lewes: Hutchins, Wilson (Courtney), Sutherland ©, Lovett, Redwood, Muggeridge (A Trialist), Brown (A Trialist), Vickers, Marshall (Conlon), Levy (Brinkhurst), Crabb (Laing)

Unused subs: Stroomberg, Breach

Referee: Had one

Attendance: Deaksy, Cynical Dave, Dave Lamb, The Other Dave, Boyesy, Terry, PJ’s crew, Alex, Graham, Liam, Browny’s family, Ekey, Kev, George (in full kit), Me, some other Rooks I’ve cruelly forgotten and some Hassocks fans

Rooks defence ensures the rebels are defeated

An early goal from Dean Bown and an encouraging team performance helped Lewes to victory at old rivals Worthing, and saw the Rooks maintain their unbeaten start to pre-season reports Tom Harper.

Lewes started brightly and were ahead after just six minutes, the impressive Ronnie Conlon going on a purposeful run down the right and delivering a superb cross from what seemed like an impossible position for Bown to powerfully head into the top corner from close range.

The Rooks were enjoying the majority of possession, with Conlon and Henry Muggeridge looking capable of causing Worthing problems whenever they were on the ball.  They were unfortunate not to increase their lead minutes later, as Fraser Logan sent a half-volley from just inside the area into the bottom corner after a corner had not been fully cleared.

Unfortunately for the Lewes fans who had made the short journey up the A27, the ball had deflected off Bown, who was in an offside position, on its way into the back of the net.  The Rooks came close to doubling their lead again after 25 minutes, as Muggeridge dispossessed Steve Metcalf on the edge of the area and attempted to round Jack Fagan in the Worthing goal, who narrowed the angle and saved Muggeridge’s effort.

Worthing came into the game more in the lead up to half-time and had a number of set-pieces, but were unable to force Lewes goalkeeper Dan Hutchins into any meaningful action before the break.

The hosts started the second half brightly however, and saw Ryan Quirke force the Rooks’ substitute goalkeeper Nathan Stroomberg into a smart save within minutes of the restart.  From the resulting corner, former Lewes defender Gary Elphick headed onto the roof of the net as Worthing pushed for an equaliser.

The Rooks continued to look dangerous when they got the ball down in midfield though, and nearly scored against the run of play when Conlon found space in the area but saw his low effort well saved by the foot of Fagan.

Worthing were soon enjoying their best spell of the game, and Stroomberg had to be alert to save bravely at the feet of Mark Goldson at the end of a quick counter-attack before Jazz Rance hit the crossbar with a similar chance just minutes later.

The Lewes back four, which now included trialists Jordan Wilson and Leon Redwood, were being given a stern test at this stage and were fortunate to see Goldson send an effort from the edge of the area just wide after Elphick had chested a free-kick into his path.

Despite being under the cost for periods of the second half, Lewes very nearly increased their lead in bizarre circumstances with eight minutes left, as Fagan misjudged a pass-back from Elphick and had to race back to clear the ball off his own line.  The Rooks nearly scored again in the closing stages, but saw substitute Nathan Crabb denied by Fagan at the end of an incisive counter-attack.

This was another encouraging display from Lewes, who once again passed the ball well and also withstood heavy pressure at times from a Worthing side tipped to be among the promotion contenders in Ryman South this season.

Next up for the Rooks is a trip to Hassocks on Saturday, kick-off at 3pm.

Worthing: Fagan, Piper (Kimber 46), Sparks, Metcalf, Elphick, Hurley (Crooks 65), Morey (Rance), Quirke (Axell 70), Gale (Goldson 46), Bugiel (Barnes 67), Dawes (Newton 37).

Unused Subs: None.

Lewes: Hutchins (Stroomberg 46), Brinkhurst (Wilson 46), Marsh-Brown (Redwood 57), Logan (Vickers 65), Breach, Lovett, Levy (Marshall 74), Muggeridge, Bown (Crabb 46), Conlon, Laing (Brown 65).

Unused Subs: None.

Referee: Matt Lee

Lewes FC announce major kit deal with hummel

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Lewes Football Club can exclusively announce a major kit deal with global sportswear manufacturer hummel, in a partnership that could extend through to the end of the 2017/18 season. The company, based in Denmark, supply sportswear for major sports around the world including football, basketball and rugby league, and will provide first team home and away kit for both the mens & ladies first teams in year one, and the remaining Lewes teams from 2016/17. 
 
One of the biggest independent sportswear companies in the world, hummel will also provide the Rooks with training and management kit, as well as practical and promotional support as the fan-owned community club continues its rapid evolution. The Lewes first teams currently play in the Ryman Premier League and FA Women’s Premier League South respectively, and the kit was on show at the first men’s home pre-season game on Saturday (18th), as the Rooks earned a creditable 0-0 draw with Chris Hughton’s Brighton & Hove Albion.
 
Rooks Commercial Manager Kevin Miller says that the deal is a real turning point for the Club. 
 
“Lewes Football Club are currently riding a period of enormous and exciting change, and we’re honoured that we have managed to attract the attention of such a brilliant partner in hummel. Their philosophy on community, their ethical and educational stance on how a sports business should be run is something that matches our ambition, and this announcement is another progressive step for the future of our fan-owned football club and it’s local community. The new kit is superb, and we’ll be working with hummel and partners Premier Sports & Leisure and their teams throughout this period to create new community programmes, new initiatives and of course hope that our teams and the clubs owners and fans enjoy wearing it!”
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Tom Sinclair, Sport Market Manager for hummel in the UK said; 
 
“hummel is looking forward to this new collaboration: It would be hard to find two brands better suited to partnership than Lewes FC and hummel. Both partners place great value in tradition, character and local ties, and we are proud to be working with The Rooks and Premier Sports and Leisure as the Rooks open a new chapter in the clubs ongoing development.”
 
The new kit will be available in the Club shop before the first home game of the season and the visit of The Met Police on Wednesday, 12th August. If you would like to reserve one now contact Barry Haffenden on lewesfcclubshop@gmail.com stating your size required.

Eastbourne Borough – now Tuesday 28th July

In a minor change to our pre-season programme, we have brought forward our home friendly fixture against local rival Eastbourne Borough by 24 hours.

The match will now be played on Tuesday 28th July, kick off 7.45pm. Admission for this match will be £6 for adults, £3 for concessions with under 16s free.