Bon voyage to Adrian…

Adrian HowellAdrian Howell today performed his final matchday duties as the club’s General Manager as he leaves to take up a position at the Sussex County FA’s Lancing HQ. His official last day is on Wednesday.

Adrian has been at the club for some three years. When he first arrived, we basically gave him every job going – General Manager, Commercial Manager, Community Manager and Academy Manager! Unsurprisingly, the workload proved a bit too much and over time we have been able to bring in specific people in each area.

The club and everyone who has worked with Adrian would like to put on record our boundless gratitude for all his efforts over the years and wish him much luck in his new role.

Next time you see him at a Rooks’ match, buy him a pint as that’s the least he deserves…

(The General Manager’s role is now being replaced with a slightly revised position of Operations Manager. Simon Ingram has kindly stepped in on an interim basis whilst we advertise the position).


The Dripping Pan hosts FA Replay

On Wednesday night The Dripping Pan will host the FA Cup Preliminary Round replay between Guernsey and Phoenix Sports, kick off 7:45pm. The FA rules mean that Guernsey cannot host FA Cup replays at their own ground but rather within 30 miles of Gatwick Airport.  The club approached us in the summer and asked whether we would be their “nominated” ground and after negotiations, we agreed.  Twenty four hours later we discovered we could be playing them in the next round of the cup!

The two sides drew 2-2 on Saturday, with Phoenix Sports claiming a last gasp equaliser.  With the winners due to host Lewes on the weekend of the 11-13th September, there will be some interest from the Rooks fans on who the winner will be.

Kick off is 7:45pm and admission is £8 for Adults, £5 for Concessions and £1 for Under16’s.  No Lewes season tickets or passes will be valid on the night.

Rocks leave Rooks with Bank Holiday Blues

A disappointing display saw Lewes fall to their fifth defeat of the season, as two first-half goals from Jason Prior helped Bognor to a comfortable win in this Sussex derby at the Pan.

Steve Brown made four changes to the side that had lost 5-1 at Farnborough in their previous game, with Chris Breach, Jordan Badger, Ronnie Conlon and Alex Laing being replaced in the starting line-up by Steve Sutherland, Fraser Logan, George Brown and Elliott Levy.

The unavailability of Breach and Badger saw a defensive reshuffle for the Rooks, with Jay Lovett playing alongside Sutherland in the centre and Leon Redwood filling in at left-back.  Bognor took the lead after just 11 minutes, as Alex Parsons dispossessed Lovett on the edge of the area and squared for Prior to finish past Will Godmon.

The Rooks suffered a further blow just five minutes later, as Redwood was forced off with an injury and was replaced by Alex Summerfield.  Bognor were enjoying the majority of the possession, and looked capable of causing the Lewes back four problems with their pace every time they went forward.

The visitors also boast arguably one of the best strikers in the Ryman Premier in Prior, who sent a header from a Harvey Whyte cross straight at Godmon as Bognor looked to find a second goal.  The doubled their lead after 22 minutes, Prior beating Richie Welch to another dangerous cross from Parsons to send a powerful header back across Godmon and into the far corner.

Lewes enjoyed their best spell of the game just after half-time, as they kept the ball better and saw substitute Troy Williams hit the outside of the post from a tight angle after a Logan cross had caught out Grant Smith in the Bognor goal.  The visitors were soon back on top though, as Prior sent a powerful far-post header from a Parsons cross against the crossbar.

The Rooks continued to work hard to try and find a way back into the game, with Levy seeing a goal-bound effort blocked in the six-yard box by Whyte after a corner had not been cleared.

Bognor always looked capable of adding to their lead and were unfortunate not to do so, as Alfie Rutherford capitalised on hesitant defending by Sutherland but saw his effort from the edge of the area hit the bar and bounce clear.

Lewes were unable to build a spell of pressure to try and find an unlikely route back into the game during the closing stages, with the visitors looking the more likely scorers, as both Ollie Pearce and Stuart Green went close in stoppage time.

The Rooks will look to put this result behind them when they travel to VCD Athletic on Saturday for a crucial game, kick-off at 3pm.

Lewes: Godmon, Welch (Williams 47), Redwood (Summerfield 16), Logan, Lovett, Sutherland, Levy, Brown, Crabb, Wilson, Muggeridge (Pring 83).

Unused Subs: Laing, Hutchins.

Booked: Wilson.

Bognor Regis Town: Smith, Whyte, Crane, Tuck (Rutherford 49), El-Abd (Field 71), Robson, Green, Beck (Charman 66), Prior, Pearce, Parsons.

Unused Subs: Wollers, Nilsen.

Booked: Charman.

Referee: Matthew Goldsmith

Attendance: 568

Bognor Regis Preview

“The Past is Prologue” is a well-known line from Shakespeare’s The Tempest and we can only take that view as the go into the game on Bank Holiday Monday against Bognor Regis Town.  Last season we met the Rocks on four occasions, with Lewes running out the winners on three occasions, the last time on Easter Monday when two Elliot Romain goals were enough to see the Rooks run out 2-1 winners at Nywood Lane.  The two sides had contrasting fortunes on Saturday with Lewes going down 5-1 at Farnborough and Bognor reversing their poor recent form by coming from behind to beat Billericay Town 3-1.  Our recent record against Bognor Regis Town has been good, with four wins from our last eight meetings.

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Bognor’s form so far this season has been inconsistent to say the least.  They won their first two games of the season against Merstham and Staines Town, then lost to Met Police and Tonbridge Angels in a remarkable 5-0 home defeat.  However, their ten points from six games means that they sit in 6th place coming down the A27.  Their key man is striker Jason Prior, signed from Margate in the summer who has already got 5 goals this season.

Steve Brown will be waiting on news to the injury to Jordan Badger and Steve Sutherland before being able to name his squad.  Any suspension to Will Godmon in relation to his red card on Saturday will not kick in for a few weeks so he will likely start in goal.

Gloves off as Rooks suffer at hands of Farnborough

lewes fc flagThe Rooks suffered an away day horror show as they went down 5-1 at Farnborough, writes Barry Collins.

Without Steve Sutherland (absent for family reasons), Steve Brown was forced to reshuffle his back line, bringing Jay Lovett back alongside Chris Breach (who was also carrying an injury) and pairing Alex Laing and Nathan Crabb up front.

Having finally been granted permission to start their season by the league, Farnborough wasted no time in lifting themselves off the bottom of the table. Bobbie Dale took only eight minutes to give the home side the lead, with Will Godmon only able to parry the striker’s initial shot back into his path, from where he made no mistake at the second attempt.

Lewes had two decent chances to equalise – a Badger cross finding Laing unmarked at the far post, but only able to volley the ball over, and a speculative Muggeridge effort from 20 yards that slammed into the side-netting – before Lewes suffered the first of two serious blows.

Badger was left prone in the opponents’ area for well over a minute before the officials finally decided to halt play, the left-back leaving the field with an ankle injury and replaced by debutant Alex Summerfield.

The second, more decisive setback occurred on the half hour, when Lovett’s soft backward header left Breach chasing a 50/50 with the Farnborough forward. Breach beat his man to the ball with a sliding challenge, but it merely trickled the ball into the striker’s path, leaving him one-on-one with goalkeeper Godman. The loanee stopper dived at the striker’s feet, and though at the time there was little argument about the award of the penalty and the subsequent red card, the video evidence suggests both were harsh, with Godmon appearing to divert the ball away before colliding with the striker.

With no goalkeeper on the bench, George Brown was forced to re-enact his father’s heroics for Charlton, donning the gloves and pulling off a string of impressive saves, although he couldn’t keep Williams’ penalty out to leave the Rooks trailing 2-0 with ten men.

Lewes had their best spell of the game once two down. Redwood blazed over the bar at the start of the second half, and a terrific move down the left saw both Laing and Wilson stretching to reach a low cross to the back post from Redwood, but neither of the Rooks could quite reach it.

After that the floodgates opened. Dale’s shot deflected wickedly off Breach to give Farnborough a three-goal lead after 69 minutes. Williams grabbed his second two minutes later, when his low shot squirmed under Brown. And he completed his hat-trick when put clean through on 79 minutes, before chipping the ball delightfully over the onrushing Brown.

Jordan Wilson scored a fine solo effort as the game petered out in the 80th minute, but it was scant consolation for the travelling Rooks fans.

Lewes: Godmon, Welch, Lovett, Breach, Badger (Summerfield, 25), Conlon, Redwood, Muggeridge, Wilson, Crabb (Brown, 31), Laing.

Unused subs: Logan, Williams, Levy

Sent off: Godmon

Farnborough Preview

So the honour to kick off the new season for Farnborough falls to The Rooks.  The Ryman League’s ruling on Thursday cleared the way for the Cherries to start their season some five games behind everyone else and whilst the sanctions handed down by the league could have far reaching consequences come the end of the season, for the here and now, Farnborough and their fans will be simply glad to be able to play competitive fixtures.  Obviously they will have an advantage of being able to have watched how we are set up and played in the opening three weeks of the season, whilst we haven’t been afforded the same luxury so their line up is likely to be a mystery to us.

The club have kept themselves busy, playing friendlies against willing opponents such as their 1-1 draw this week away to a Wealdstone XI.  Quite what team takes the field on Saturday at Rushmoor Stadium – their website lists fourteen players although now that their fate has been decided, they may bring in a number of last minute additions.

Our last game against Farnborough was a pre-season friendly back in August 2012 when the Rooks won 4-2.  With just two points taken from our opening five games what we would give for a result like that on Saturday.  The Rooks certainly battled hard on Wednesday night against Hampton & Richmond Borough and Steve Brown will be looking to build on that against the unknown threat of Farnborough on Saturday.  James Fraser and Jimmy Muitt are both out, whilst George Brown may have shaken off his achilles injury to return to the squad.

Redwood spot on as Rooks claim a point


Photo 26-08-2015 20 20 31More late penalty drama at the Pan saw the Rooks claim a point from Hampton & Richmond Borough, writes Barry Collins.

Referee David Spain hadn’t been back to the Pan since a similarly rain-drenched evening last August, when he controversially allowed an AFC Hornchurch goal to stand after seemingly blowing his whistle to stop play. This time, however, it was the Rooks who benefitted from the referee’s decision.

A through ball gave substitute Alex Laing a one-on-one chase with keeper Seb Brown in the 76th minute. Brown and Laing tangled and slipped on the wet surface as the striker bore down on goal, and the referee saw enough to award the penalty and Brown a red card.

A delay of four minutes ensued as Hampton protested and prepared sub keeper Pierson to take over in goal. The delay didn’t disrupt the concentration of Leon Redwood, who – as he did a week earlier against Harrow – calmly converted, slotting the ball to the left of the substitute stopper.

All that came after the Rooks gave themselves another uphill battle by failing to deal with a free-kick in the first half. Sutherland was harshly punished for attempting to win an aerial challenge against the statuesque Richard Pacquette, and the resulting free-kick was lofted to the back post. Defence and goalkeeper Matt Godmon seemed to leave it to one another, allowing the towering centre-back Diarra to pop a free header into the net.

The Rooks had the best of the remaining chances in the first half. Leon Redwood had two great strikes from the edge of the box, both saved by Brown. Chris Breach also caught a sweet half-volley on the cusp of half-time that barrelled a yard over the bar.

It was tougher going in the second half, as Hampton dug in and the Rooks struggled to put pressure on the visitors. A Lewes corner from the right, which flashed across the six-yard box and yet somehow evaded both attack and defence, was the closest the Rooks came to an equaliser, before the rain and Spain finally eased the Rooks’ pain.

Lewes: Godmon, Welch, Badger, Breach, Sutherland, Lovett, Redwood, Conlon, Muggeridge, Wilson (Levy, 84), Crabb (Laing, 71)

Unused subs: Hutchins, Logan, Williams

Hampton: Brown, Kamara, Jelley, Murphy, Diarra, Hutchinson, Newman, Casey (Hicks, 90), Pacquette (Moone, 61), Kabamba, Josephs (Pierson, 78)

Unused subs: Federico, Rose

Booked: Hutchinson

Sent off: Brown

Referee: David Spain

Attendance: 349