There will be no return to the Amex for Lewes this season, after the Rooks tumbled out of the Sussex Senior Cup at Littlehampton, writes Barry Collins.
Darren Freeman was forced to make wholesale changes to his side, with the three players requiring hospital treatment after Saturday’s match at East Thurrock – Steve Brinkhurst, Alex Laing and Alex Malins – all in the stands, along with the injured Lloyd Cotton and the cup-tied James Hammond.
That prompted a switch to an unfamiliar formation, with a midfield three of Fraser, Carey and Gayler, and Academy graduate Ieuan Strong sitting just behind the front two of Pacquette and Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe. Yet, right from the off the Rooks struggled to adapt to the new shape.
It took only 10 minutes for Littlehampton to take the lead. The county league side exposed the wide open space down the left wing and Dean Janman slotted home from the edge of the box. Seven minutes later it was 2-0, with Littlehampton this time finding plenty of room to operate down the right, with Landais applying a powerful finish from the edge of the area.
The Rooks gifted Littlehampton the third after 25 minutes, a poor back pass from Carey putting Gaskin clean through, his cross finding Landais at the far post to head home.
Lewes made several attempts to close the deficit before half-time. Redwood slammed just wide from the edge of the box, Fraser fired over from close range and Strong’s looping heading ended up just the wrong side of the crossbar. And they should have had an opportunity to pull one back from the penalty spot on the cusp of the break, when Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe was sandwiched in the box, but the ref inexplicably waved the appeals away, much to the amusement of the Littlehampton defenders.
The Rooks dominated possession in the second half, but failed to work the goalkeeper. The closest they came to pulling one back was when Carey’s shot smacked against the crossbar in the closing stages.
Lewes: Winterton, Muggeridge, Freeman, Breach, Redwood, Fraser, Gayler, Carey, Strong (
Ben El-Mhanni 46), Pacquette, Ogedi-Uzokwe
Unused subs: Stroomberg, Malins, Howell, Troak