Rooks hold high-flying Beavers in the Trophy

The Rooks went into the First Qualifying Round of The FA Trophy bereft of a number of players due to injury and ineligibility but produced their best display of the new Freeman era to match high-flying Hampton & Richmond Borough.

The Rooks started brightly in the Autumn sunshine with Henry Muggeridge at the centre of the early action sending a couple of dangerous balls into the box. Twenty two minutes in and Strong’s intelligent ball put Phil Appiah in on goal but the midfielder pulled his shot wide of the far post.

It took the visitors nearly 30 mins to create their first chance which in itself was very fortuitous as Taylor’s shot was charged down by Cotton but the ball rebounded off Taylor and flew just wide. Two minutes later Hippolye-Patrick’s header from a Casey free-kick was palmed away by Winterton.

In the final seconds of the half Alex Malins made a superb blocking tackle to deny Charlie Moone a certain goal on the six yard line. Honours even at the break.

The second half started slowly with Hampton gaining the upper hand but it was Lewes who had the first chance on the hour when Muggeridge twisted and turned in the box and delivered a great ball to the far post but no one was there.

On 75 minutes Phil Appiah tested the Hampton keeper from twenty yards as Lewes had their best spell of the half. Yasin Ben El-Mhanni’s near post shot was well saved leading to a corner that saw Malins rise above the defence but his header was comfortably saved by Mark Smith. Cotton then headed wide from another corner after Muggeridge had turned the Hampton defence inside out.

In injury time Hampton’s Joe Hicks came within a coat of paint of heading home from a Casey corner then Winterton pulled off a fantastic save from Richard Pacquette’s shot. However, it was honours even at the end of the day, with the two teams having to meet for the fourth time this season on Tuesday night.

Lewes FC: Winterton, Brinkhurst, Redwood, Appiah, Freeman, Malins, Muggeridge, Cotton, Deen, Strong, Ben El-Mhanni

Subs: Conlon, Laing, Howell, Stroomberg

Bookings: Brinkhurst, Ben El-Mhanni, Appiah

HRBFC: Smith, Kamara, Jelley (Hicks 82), Murphy, Diarra, Taylor (Pacquette 70), Sinclair, Hutchinson, Casey, Moone, Hippolye-Patrick (Federico 60)

Subs: Brown

Bookings: Sinclair

Attendance: 325

Man of the Match: Phil Appiah

Referee: Phil Rowley


Hampton & Richmond Borough Preview

It’s been a busy week down at the Pan with a few comings and goings.  Robin Deen’s loan from Brighton & Hove Albion has been extended for another month, whilst we have signed Yasin Ben El-Mhanni from Farnborough just ahead of the Metropolitan Police game on Tuesday night in which he made an encouraging debut. The winger/forward came through the ranks at Aldershot Town and Barnet and is highly rated 20 year old.  Also joining the squad for tomorrow is Gary Charman who has come in from Bognor Regis Town.

In the opposite direction Roynane Marsh-Brown has left to join Farnborough. Jordan Wilson, Fraser Logan and Elliot Levy have all been released and have joined Tooting and Mitcham, Peacehaven and Burgess Hill Town respectively.  Henry Muggeridge also returned from concussion this week although Chris Breach’s dodgy groin is still keeping him out of action.  Nic Ciardini isn’t available as his parent club, Havent & Waterlooville,  do not want him cup-tied whilst Junior Kaffo has already played in this season’s competition and is thus cup tied.

Tuesday night saw The Rooks finally end their losing streak with a 0-0 draw away at Metropolitan Police, the first points we have picked up since beating our visitors today back in September 4-0 thanks to goals from Jay Lovett (2), Troy Williams and Leon Redwood.  Since then The Beavers have won 6, drawn 3 and lost just once.  They have hit Hendon for five and Merstham for six in that period.  Charlie Moone, who needs no invitation to score against us, is their leading goal scorer this season with six.

That 4-0 in September has boosted our recent form against the Beavers:-

P 14 W 5 D 6 L 3 GF 20 GA 14


Rooks nab a point from Met Police

A hardworking team performance saw Lewes end their ten-match losing run and pick up their first point under Darren Freeman with a well-deserved draw at Met Police reports Tom Harper.

Freeman made three changes to the side that had lost 4-3 to Leatherhead in their previous game, with Leon Redwood, Henry Muggeridge and debutant Yasin Ben El-Mhanni replacing Ronanyne Marsh-Brown, George Brown and Trevor McCreadie in the starting line-up.

Lewes made a bright start to the game, passing the ball around well in midfield and looking more organised defensively than they have done in recent weeks.  The Rooks came close to taking the lead during this period, with the impressive Lloyd Cotton seeing a long-range half-volley that seemed to be heading for the bottom corner well saved by Craig King in the Met Police goal.

The Met came into the game more as the half progressed though, and saw Adrian Markus send a near-post header from a corner just over, before former Lewes player and assistant manager and current academy manager Jay Lovett was only able to guide a dangerous cross-shot from Charlie Collins over the bar from close range.

Having enjoyed plenty of possession during the first half, Lewes found themselves under pressure at the start of the second, with Chris Winterton forced into smart saves to deny Joe Turner and Markus within minutes of the restart.

The Rooks looked capable of causing a home defence that included their former centre-back Steve Sutherland some problems however, with Ben El-Mhanni dispossessing a defender before seeing his curling effort from a difficult angle comfortably saved by King at his near post.

The game became stretched in the final 20 minutes, as both sides looked to find what would almost certainly have been the decisive goal.  The hosts went close twice in quick succession, as substitute Ryan James saw his cut-back somehow put wide of the upright from close range by Markus, before Neil Barrett had a close-range effort blocked by a combination of Winterton and Stacey Freeman after finding space in the area.

This resolute defending from Lewes was nearly rewarded in the closing stages, as Nic Ciardini beat several Met defenders before forcing King into a good save with an effort from just inside the area.  The Met could have won the game themselves during the last few minutes, as a misplaced kick from near the corner flag by the otherwise impressive Winterton gave Sam Butler a shot at an open goal from just inside the Lewes half on the left touchline. Fortunately for the Rooks fans who had made the trip to Surrey, his half-volley bounced just wide.

Lewes forced a number of corners and free-kicks in dangerous positions during injury-time, but were unable to test King and were forced to settle for a hard-earned point.

Having been on such a poor run of form heading into the game, this was an impressive result against a Met Police side who are on a reasonable run of form.

Keeping a clean sheet after conceding ten goals in their last three games will have been particularly pleasing for the management team, and they will hope to build on this by picking up a few wins over the coming weeks.

The Rooks now have a short break from league action as they host Hampton & Richmond Borough in the FA Trophy first qualifying round on Saturday, kick-off at 3pm.

Metropolitan Police: King, Taylor, McLaughlin, Crook (Barrett 65), Sutherland, Bartley, Collins, Lovett, Markhus (Butler 86), Ahamed (James 65), Turner.

Unused Subs: Roberts, Loeches-Teixeira.

Booked: Bartley, Markus.

Lewes: Winterton, Brinkhurst, Redwood, Kaffo, Freeman, Malins, Muggeridge, Cotton, Deen (McCreadie 67), Ben El-Mhanni (Laing 60), Ciardini.

Unused Subs: Conlon, Strong, Oldham.

Booked: Ben El-Mhanni.

Referee: Paul Lister

Attendance: 104

Met Police preview

Saturday’s seven goal thriller saw Lewes fall to their tenth consecutive defeat in all competitions. It was the first time, however, that we had scored three goals since our only win of the season, the 4-0 victory away at Hampton & Richmond Borough back in September. We have lost seven of those games by a single goal, as we also did earlier this season when Met Police visited The Dripping Pan. On that August night Jay Lovett and Steve Sutherland lined up for The Rooks whilst Roynane Marsh-Brown was in the Met side. Two months later and the three players have swapped places. The fluid nature of non league football in full effect!

Sutherland actually scored in that game, equalising Charlie Collins early goal before The Met took all three points thanks to Matt Pattison’s strike with fifteen minutes to play, meaning our recent record against The Blues reads:-

P 9 W 2 D 4  L 3 GS 8 GA 9

On Saturday The Rooks had Henry Muggeridge (concussion) and Chris Breach (groin) out injured, whilst Phil Appiah was unavailable. It’s possible that Henry may return for the trip to West London. Met Police manager Jim Cooper has not only been signing former Rooks. He’s also brought in Romanian Adrian Markus and secured a longer loan deal for Luton Town’s keeper Craig King.

Met Police’s recent form has been good, winning four of their last six games including last week’s 1-0 victory at home to Billericay Town. They aren’t prolific scorers, with two being the most they’ve managed in any league game this season so far and have been on the end of two hefty defeats on the road, namely at Kingstonian (7-0) and Billericay Town (0-6). At Imber Court they’ve won three and drawn two of their eight games, whilst Lewes on the road have just that win at Hampton and a 0-0 draw at VCD Athletic to their name. They tend to score in the second period of games as has been the case in their last two outings.

Kick off on Tuesday at Imber Court is 7:45pm.

Spurned chances leave Rookettes pointless

lewes fc flagLewes were left to rue a host of missed chances as West Ham took full advantage in this reverse of last Sunday’s FAWPL fixture. Time and again the Rookettes got in behind, but a combination of reticence in front of goal and a superb display from Aiditi Chauhan in the West Ham goal saw Lewes leave East London without a goal.

Lewes started as they left off a week ago, dominating possession. Lane, Lock and Heather hunted hungrily with Walder and McIntyre feeding them plenty of ammunition. West Ham were forced to defend in numbers, with Anderson-James and Pinna the outlet, supported by the returning Edwards.

West Ham moved the ball quickly on the counter, finding each other with crisp passing but thwarted by the excellent Cheedy and Palmer. Lewes used Capon and Wells as attacking full-backs, pinning back their opponents in their own half. Cheedy added urgency to the Lewes offensive with some accurate long-range passing, finding Capon and Lane out wide. One inch-perfect cross-field pass from McIntyre put Capon in but Wheeler hustled well to see out the danger.

As Lewes failed to penetrate, so West Ham launched their counter-attacks with more conviction, creating space at both ends. Lewes raided down the right and Lane fashioned a series of chances for Heather, including the best of the half, spurned from just four yards out. HT 0-0

After the break West Ham brought Missen on for Miller as the game resumed in the same vein. Lock and Walder pressed well, keeping West Ham trapped in their own half, but still Lewes looked gun-shy, players passing when the shot seemed on. When Lock did get a shot past Chauhan there was a West Ham boot to clear off the line. The Hammers then spurned a great chance to take the lead. From a corner Edwards found herself unmarked and clean through but blazed over from six yards.

Lewes won a succession of corners, the last of which saw Cheedy race onto the loose ball only for her shot to deflect wide off her own player. When Lewes did elect to shoot they found Chauhan in inspired form, making a string of saves from close range, two of which left her needing treatment.

Just after the hour the game turned. West Ham broke away, worked the ball left and found Anderson-James free six yards out. She managed to get the ball out from under her feet and slide it past Augustus for 1-0. Lewes brought Howe on for Heather. West Ham, a goal to the good, redoubled their efforts, snapping into tackles, first to the loose ball.

Lewes made two further changes, Howell on for Capon, Louis-Joseph on for Lock, but the feeling of deja vu did not extend to another late French strike. Chauhan needed further treatment after a collision with Newton from a Palmer free kick. There was still time for Lewes to level, Louis-Joseph finding McIntyre inside the box after beating two defenders. McIntyre’s stabbed shot was on target but clawed away by Chauhan for a corner. West Ham soaked up the pressure and saw the game out. FT 1-0.

The faces of the Lewes players told the story as they left the field. Had they been 3-0 up at the break and won this by 4 or 5, no-one would have been surprised. Manager John Donoghue was equally disappointed, finding his team’s lack of killer instinct in front of goal hard to explain.

West Ham got their tactics right. They rode their luck in the first half, but ultimately they executed well and worked hard for their win.

Hammers: Chauhan, Bottom, Wheeler, Strange, Ritson, Edwards, Locke, Miller, Pinna, Campesi, Anderson-James
Subs: Andersen, Sillitoe, Sammons, Missen, Adeyemo

Lewes: Augustus, Capon, Cheedy, Palmer, Wells, Newton, McIntyre, Walder, Lane, Heather, Lock
Subs: Howe, Louis-Joseph, Howell, Dolbear

Attendance: (estimated) 40

Venue: Hornchurch FC, Upminster


Lewes fall just short in seven goal thriller 

Lewes came into this Ryman Premier League game on the back of nine consecutive defeats but were heartened by being able to include new signings Lloyd Cotton and Junior Kaffo as well as welcoming back Stacey Freeman.
Lewes came of the traps quickly and with their first attack Brown’s cross hit a Leatherhead arm and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Nic Ciardini rolled back the years and smashed it home.

Alas the lead only lasted 8 minutes before Hughes-Mason nipped in in front of the Lewes defence and slotted the ball inside the far post. Two minutes later Leatherhead took the lead after Karagiannis’s miss hit free-kick was sliced into his own net by Roynane Marsh-Brown.

But back came the Rooks and in the 18th minute Marsh-Brown’s cross from the byline was met by Ciardini with a powerful strike that the keeper never saw. Ciardini almost had a hatrick two minutes later but for a superb save by Wells. McCreadie had a golden chance in the 24th minute when Brown’s superb cross found the striker in acres of space but he headed wide.

There was no let-up in the action as Leatherhead came back at Lewes. Karagiannis was given the freedom of the midfield before curling a shot from 25 yards over Winterton’s head to make it 2-3. Seven minutes later Karagiannis scored another spectacular goal from 30 yards after nobody closed him down on the right hand side.

Surprisingly there were no further goals in the first half but Lewes should have reduced the arrears a minute after the break when Freeman found himself in acres of space after Ciardini’s free-kick had bounced around the box but he couldn’t find the target.

In the 55th minute the Lewes fans thought they had a way back into the game when Trevor McCreadie turned the ball into the net after Deen’s shot was parried away by the Tanner’s keeper but he was in an offside position. Ten minutes later Lewes were reduced to ten men after Roynanne Marsh-Brown picked up his second yellow card in no more than five minutes.

Despite having a man less, Lewes continued to take the game to the visitors and tried to find a way through the solid Leatherhead defence. As the game entered injury time Alex Laing broke free from his marker but saw his near-post shot rebound off the post. Less than 30 seconds later he did have his goal after Ciardini robbed the full-back, crossed low into the box and gave Laing the easiest job to set up a grandstand finish. A final Lewes corner came to nothing but there was no shame in this defeat. Lewes battled from the first minute and were unlucky not to come away with anything from the game.

Lewes FC: Winterton, Brinkhurst, Marsh-Brown, Kaffo, Freeman, Malins, Brown (Redwood 52), Cotton, McCreadie (Laing), Deen (Conlon), Ciardini

Subs not used: Strong, Oldham

Bookings: Marsh-Brown

Sent-off: Marsh-Brown

Leatherhead FC: Wells, Hall, Green, Smart, Walsh, Nnamani, Daly (Gallagher), Semakula, Adeyinka (Yusuff), Hughes-Mason, Karagiannis (Taylor)

Subs not used: Okoh, Gill

Bookings: Daly, Yusuff, Nnamani

Referee: Nick Dunn

Attendance: 360

Leatherhead Preview

Darren Freeman will be hoping for a more positive performance on Saturday as Leatherhead visit The Dripping Pan.  After back to back defeats to Grays Athletic and Burgess Hill Town, points are a must if Lewes are to close the gap on the teams above the relegation zone.  Whilst the performance on Wednesday night against Burgess Hill was significantly better than in recent weeks, the failure to convert chances when on top will be a concern, especially to a striker like Darren.

Chris Breach and Max Oldham both picked up injuries on Wednesday night and may struggle to be fit for the game, although it is likely that Stacey Freeman will return after work commitments kept him out of the squad on Wednesday.  Henry Muggeridge was ruled out after a head injury at Grays and may be back in contention for the game.  New re-signings Alex Malins and Steve Brinkhurst are available after playing 90 minutes for us on Wednesday night.  They will be joined by Junior Kaffo who has signed from Merstham who will likely be utilised in the centre of midfield alongside our other new signing Lloyd Cotton, who has also joined from Peacehaven & Telscombe.  With the deadline for signing anyone new passing after this preview went to press there is a possibility we may see at least one new face in the squad for the game.

After three successive league wins against The Tanners in the previous two seasons, we’ve lost the last two including the 3-0 defeat on the opening day of the season at Fetcham Grove which saw keeper Dan Hutchins knocked unconscious in a first half we all still try to erase from our memories.  The two teams that lined up on that sunny August day are likely to be quite different on Saturday.  On the Lewes side, Hutchins, Lovett, Sutherland, Badger and Crabb have all left The Dripping Pan (in Dan and Jordan’s case it is only on loan).  The good news is that Leatherhead’s midfield “enforcer”, Richard Avery has signed for VCD Athletic.

Recent form against the Tanners:-

P6  W3  D0  L3  GF4  GA6

Leatherhead’s form this season has been patchy to say the least, winning six and losing eight.  After beating The Rooks on the opening day they recorded another 3-0 win, away to Kingstonian to top the division.  Since then they have completed an impressive double over high-flying Grays Athletic and been involved in not one, but two 4-4 draws.  Their games are certainly high on entertainment with an average of 3.35 goals per game.  Top scorer is tricky Greek winger Karagiannis who has 10 goals already this season, whilst on-loan (from Dagenham & Redbridge) striker Ade Yusuff has proved a handful in recent weeks.

Looking at the patterns of goals both teams have scored this season, it suggests that all the action may occur late on.  Lewes have scored 33% of their goals in the last 15 minutes this season, whilst Leatherhead have scored 43% in the same period.  Our home form is currently the worst in the league, with just two points from a possible 24, scoring almost one per game but conceding two.  Leatherhead’s away form has seen them grab seven points, scoring a goal a game but conceding twice as many.  The stats point to a 1-1 draw with both goals coming in the last fifteen minutes.