Tonbridge Angels Preview

After a battling performance on Saturday could we have asked for a more difficult follow up than taking on the team who are top of the current form table, Tonbridge Angels.  Despite a last minute defeat in their last league game at home to Leiston (who they also lost to in the FA Cup on Saturday), they have taken 13 points from their last six games.  Sitting comfortably in fifth place currently, Tonbridge are the league’s top scorers with 25 goals so far including seven goals from former Rook Luke Blewden.  They’ve recorded some impressive wins this season including putting five past Bognor Regis Town away from home and seven against VCD Athletic.  As well as Luke, their attacking threat comes from another former Dripping Pan favourite Nicky Wheeler, Tom Phipp and Nathan Elder.

Our two meetings against Tonbridge Angels last season are our only recent encounters.  We recorded a painful 2-0 defeat away at Longmead last August where we lost defenders Alex Malins and Gary Elphick to injury in the first half as well as Jordan Sanderson and Ollie Rowe to red cards.  The return fixture in December was a little bit more sedate with the points shared in a tepid 0-0 draw.


It looks like the Rooks squad will be unchanged for the game, although there is an outside chance that Chris Breach could have recovered from his ankle injury.  James Fraser and Jimmy Muitt are still out through injury.


Rookettes win on the road to restart campaign

Lewes Ladies ended a tough run with a convincing 3-1 win away at QPR on Sunday. After a nightmare journey that saw the team arrive barely 30 minutes before kick-off, Lewes could have been forgiven a shaky start. The hosts took full advantage, Lauren May sliding the ball past the on-rushing Dolbear in the 3rd minute to rock the Rookettes back on their heels.
Lewes grew into the game as the half wore on, Lane and Heather running at the R’s back four with Lock ever-busy between them. Sienna Howell and Claire Capon impressed alongside the experienced Palmer and Wells as Lewes built from the back. Fifteen minutes in Lock levelled the scores, racing onto Walder’s measured pass to fire low past Humble. The goal spread confidence through the Lewes ranks, not least to Lane and Lock. Lock took the ball down, turned and fired just wide, Lane finishing a trademark burst with a fine cross, Walder’s header deflected for a corner.
Rangers rallied, Elly Maggs heading a cross inches over. The home side’s ill-discipline started to count against them, though. Lopes had already tangled with McIntyre and Lane before she tripped Walder wide left. McIntyre delivered and the ball bounced up towards the waiting Lock. Lock leaped, back to goal, and with a deft flick sent the ball spinning past Humble for 1-2. Lopes tested the referee once more, this time with a challenge on Heather. A warning sufficed but it was clearly a last chance for the Rangers right back. HT 1-2
After the restart Fogarty tested Capon with a series of runs, the Lewes defender working hard to keep her in check. Dani Lane ran in to fire at Humble, who held well under pressure from McIntyre. Newton had a great chance, chipping over Humble and just wide from outside the D. Finally Lopes collected her booking, for a late challenge on Lane. McIntyre sent in another testing free kick, turned past her own keeper – and just past the post – by Denny. From the corner Walder’s powerful header was hacked off the line.
Rangers fought hard but found Newton and McIntyre irresistible in midfield. Puddlefoot collided with Wells and was forced to make way for Richardson, Lewes bringing Johnson on for Sian Heather as Donoghue changed formation, Lock and Lane now up front as a pair.
With ten left Lopes picked up her second yellow for another trip on the elusive Lane. Moments later Rangers paid an even heavier price. McIntyre’s free kick caused chaos in the six yard area. Despite two attempt to clear, one striking the post, Newton bundled the ball over the line for 1-3.
A studs-up whack on the shin for Johnson cost Fogarty a booking before Louis-Joseph replaced Walder. Into added time there was still time for Claire Capon to make the tackle of the match, racing back to deny May inside box. FT 1-3
Skipper Kelly Newton was pleased to see her side get a hard-earned win. “There’s more to come from this team. Amazing support today, anyone would think we were the home team.” Manager John Donoghue was quietly pleased with a result that he feels has been coming. “We’ve shown our qualities in the last few games without reward. This result will lift the players and help us get our season back on track.”
MvP: Ellie Lock
Humble, Maggs, Lopes, Denny, Rackham, Cooper, Layton, Puddefoot, May, Wilson, Fogarty
Bench: Colepio, Richardson

Dolbear, Capon, Wells, Howell, Palmer, Newton, McIntyre, Walder, Lane, Heather, Lock
Bench: Johnson, Spice, Louis-Joseph

Rooks edged out by late Billericay winner

A spirited display was not enough to help Lewes win their first home game of the season, as a late goal saw the Rooks suffer a disappointing defeat to Billericay at the Pan reports Tom Harper.

Following the resignation of manager Steve Brown during the week, the interim management team of Jay Lovett, Martin Hinshelwood and Steve Eke made one change to the side that had lost 2-1 at Burgess Hill on Wednesday, with Fraser Logan replacing George Brown.  The Rooks also included new signing Phil Appiah on the bench, with the midfielder returning to the club after spending a few months at the Pan last season.

Both sides pressed early on, with Lewes looking to play through midfield and cause Billericay problems with their pace in attacking areas, while the visitors attempted a more direct style in a bid to worry the Rooks defence.

Lewes took the lead after 22 minutes, Robin Deen beating Jack Giddens in the Billericay goal at his near post after a cut-back from the right had hit Alex Laing and fallen kindly for him.  The visitors almost responded immediately though, as substitute Onome Sodje saw a goal disallowed for offside after an error from Nik Tzanev, who then redeemed himself with a fine save at the feet of Mike Fondop-Talom after Jordan Badger had misjudged a long ball.

Billericay were able to equalise just before the half-hour, as a close-range effort from Connor Hubble hit Fondop-Talom and wrong-footed Tzanev to level the scores. The Rooks spent much of the remainder of the first half under the cosh, as Hubble hit the crossbar with a long-range effort and Sodje missed the target with two headers.

Lewes made a double substitution at half-time, with Laing and Leon Redwood being replaced by Nathan Crabb and George Brown.

The visitors started the second half as they had finished the first, with Fondop-Talom being denied by Tzanev after beating the offside trap and the impressive Tom Derry then seeing his effort saved on the rebound.

The Rooks came close to taking the lead themselves minutes later, as Brown saw his effort pushed over the bar by Giddens after an excellent passing move.  Billericay were continuing to cause problems with their direct style, and saw a close-range header cleared off the line by Henry Muggeridge and Tzanev tip the follow-up from Fondop-Talom onto the crossbar and over.

The visitors took the lead after 61 minutes, as a weak Elliott Levy back-pass played Tzanev into trouble and left Fondop-Talom with a simple finish into the empty net.  They should have increased their lead almost immediately, with Hubble volleying a Derry cross over from close range.

The Rooks were showing plenty of character, however, and equalised within three minutes, as Muggeridge capitalised on uncertainty in the Billericay defence to score through a crowd of players after Lewes had been denied what looked like a stonewall penalty in the build-up for a foul on Fraser Logan.

Both sides pushed for a winner as the game moved into the final 15 minutes, with Tzanev keeping out a Fondop-Talom effort before Levy shot straight at Giddens when clean through at the other end.

Lewes were made to pay for this missed opportunity, as the visitors regained the lead with just eight minutes remaining, with Sodje sending a free header at the near post from a Teddy Nesbitt corner past Tzanev and into the back of the net.  There was still time for the Rooks to very nearly find an equaliser though, as Badger headed a Deen cross over the bar from inside the six-yard box.

Despite falling to a disappointing defeat, the Lewes players were applauded off the pitch by the supporters at full-time after a much-improved display that arguably deserved a point based on chances created.

The Rooks will hope to build on the performance and pick up their first home win of the season on Wednesday when Tonbridge Angels are the visitors to the Pan, kick-off at 7.45pm.

Lewes: Tzanev, Muggeridge, Marsh-Brown, Logan, Badger, Lovett, Conlon, Redwood (Brown 46), Deen, Laing (Crabb 46), Levy.

Unused Subs: Appiah, Welch, Hutchins.

Booked: Badger.

Billericay Town: Giddens, Williams, Nesbitt, Curley, Okosieme, Ellul (Sodje 23), Derry, Hazelwood, Akurang (Edwards 54), Fondop-Talom (Bloomfield 83), Hubble.

Unused Subs: Cojocarel, Sefer.

Booked: None.

Referee: Aji Ajibola

Attendance: 351


Billericay Town Preview

Billericay Town arrive in East Sussex on the back of a 6-0 win against a depleted Met Police on Saturday. I’m sure their confidence will have been boosted by the news of the departure of Steve Brown on Thursday. However, there will be shortage of experience on the sidelines as Steve Eke and Martin Hinshelwood will be working with Jay Lovett in preparing the side.

Billericay’s form this season has been inconsistent with three wins in the Ryman Premier League and five defeats. They’ve exited both cups at the first stage with defeats to Aveley and Enfield Town respectively. On Tuesday they hit Met Police for six, with six different scorers including one from the dangerous Shane Cojocarel, on loan from Barnet.  On the past six league games they have won two and lost four, compared to Lewes’s one win and a draw.

Last season we went down 2-0 to a the Blues at The Dripping Pan and then suffered injury time heartache on a chilly December afternoon in Essex when Billericay equalised with a last-gasp controversial penalty that saw Dean Lovegrove red carded. Previous seasons have been a mixed bag for the Rooks with our last win against Billericay coming in December 2013 when Nathan Crabb’s goal was the difference between the two sides in a stormy affair that saw Jack Walder red carded.

P6  W1  D1  L3  GF7  GA5

The squad for the game tomorrow is likely to be unchanged from that that tasted defeat on Wednesday night although some 11th hour activity could see one new face join the squad in time for the game.  Kick off at The Pan is 3pm.

Rooks suffer local derby defeat

Two goals in the space of three minutes cost Lewes victory in the Sussex derby with Burgess Hill, writes Barry Collins.

Lewes were under the cosh from the kick-off, with Burgess Hill laying siege to Nik Tzanev’s goal before the moisture had even dried on the referee’s whistle. Indeed, the on-loan keeper made two outstanding saves to prevent Burgess Hill from taking the lead in the opening 15 minutes.  It was against the run of play, therefore, that the Rooks took the lead on 23 minutes. A Redwood free-kick from the right-hand side found Jay Lovett lurking unmarked at the back post. The captain for the night was unerring with his close-range header.

The goal did nothing to ease the pressure on the Lewes goal, however, and within ten minutes the home side were level. Yet another corner was launched into the Rooks’ box and this time the clearing header fell to Saunders on the left-hand side of the box, who half-volleyed home past Tzanev.  Three minutes later, Burgess Hill claimed what proved to be the winner. Tzanev made another outstanding full-stretch save to deny Pat Harding, but Saunders was first to the rebound, poking the ball past the prone keeper.

The second half was certainly more even than the first, although the Rooks once again had Tzanev to thank for keeping the game alive, with the young international twice denying Burgess Hill when left one-on-one.  Lewes had chances of their own. Henry Muggeridge was a constant threat from the right-hand side. He had a low, long-range effort well saved by Josh James, and a similar effort just minutes later rebounded to Lovett, but the club’s unlikely dangerman couldn’t get a firm contact.

Laing and Conlon both had half-chances to even the scores, but in truth it would have been an injustice on the home side had an equaliser arrived.

Lewes: Tzanev, Muggeridge, Marsh-Brown, Brown, Badger, Lovett, Conlon, Redwood, Deen, Laing, Levy

Unused subs: Hutchins, Wilson, Williams, Crabb, Logan

Burgess Hill: James, Pointing, Fisk, Budd (Bolton), Pearson, Miles, Pearse (Kirkwood), Keehan, P Harding, Saunders (Perry), L Harding

Unused subs: Smith, Wiltshire

Attendance: 638

Club announcement regarding Steve Brown

After last night’s defeat to Burgess Hill Town, manager Steve Brown tendered his resignation which the Board have accepted. Whilst results have been disappointing, the football club appreciates the hard work Steve has put into the role so far this season and we all wish Steve the best of luck in his next position.

Steve was appointed Interim Manager in February and led the team to Ryman Premier safety with five wins in our last eleven league games. After our appearance in the Sussex Senior Cup Final in May he was offered the job on a permenant basis.

Jay Lovett, along with Martin Hinshelwood and DS manager Steve Eke will take care of first team affairs for Saturday’s vist of Billericay Town.

The search for a new manager is now underway. Any interested parties should send a covering letter with their CV to

Burgess Hill Town preview

Tonight we make the short trip up the B2112 to Burgess Hill for our most local of local derbies this season against The Hillians.  It’s been some time since we faced Burgess Hill Town in a league game although we have been fairly regular foes in pre-season and cup games in the last few seasons.  Our last encounter was in December 2013 in the Ryman League Cup when Burgess Hill won 3-1 with our goal coming from a Jack Dixon penalty.

The last 18 months has seen Burgess Hill storm up the league, taking the Ryman South title almost at a canter last season.  They’ve started the Ryman Premier season well, with five wins and a draw from their opening ten games although they did surprisingly exit the FA Cup two weeks ago away to County League Horsham YMCA. They have a team full of attacking players – Pat and Lee Harding have weighed in with goals whilst neither being traditional forwards, whilst Chris Smith who scored a bag-full of goals for South Park last season has been more of an impact player from the bench.  Other former Lewes players who may be in the squad tonight are Joe Keehan and Andy Pearson.  Last Saturday they recorded a good win against a strong Dulwich Hamlet side, with Pearson scoring a late winner in the 3-2 win.

Steve Brown has two new faces in the squad tonight with Ronayne Marsh-Brown returning to Lewes after impressing in pre-season and then not settling at Metropolitan Police to fill the problematic left-back slot and Brighton & Hove Albion striker Robin Deen joining the Rooks on a month’s loan.  Chris Breach will be missing after being carried off on Saturday with a head and ankle injury (Chris doesn’t do things by halves!).

Kick off at Leylands Park is 7.30pm.