A hard-working performance was not enough to help Lewes pick up back-to-back wins for the first time this season, as they had to be content with a point against fellow strugglers Needham Market in a closely-fought game at the Pan reports Tom Harper.
Darren Freeman made one change to the side that had beaten Canvey Island in their previous game, with James Hammond replacing James Fraser, who left the club during the week to join Burgess Hill, in the starting line-up.
The visitors started brightly and could have taken the lead inside the first two minutes, as Luke Ingram cut inside from the right and saw his effort from the edge of the area clip the top of the crossbar on its way over. Needham were keeping possession well, and nearly took the lead again minutes later when Jordan Patrick saw his goal-bound effort headed away by Stacey Freeman.
The Rooks gradually came into the game as the half progressed though, with Lloyd Cotton seeing a header comfortably saved by Daniel Gay in the Needham goal before sending a volley from the edge of the area over the bar. Despite this, the visitors should have gone in ahead at half-time after the impressive Michael Brothers latched onto a long ball and cut inside from the right, but could only drag his effort wide of the far post when well placed.
Needham continued to play on the front foot at the start of the second half, as Billy Holland sent an effort wide from just inside the area. Lewes were struggling to create any chances of note against the well-organised visitors, who were defending their penalty area well and always looked capable of causing problems with their pace on the counter-attack.
The Rooks were able to create the occasional half-chance however, with Gay coming off his line quickly to save at the feet of Hammond after he found himself clean through on goal. The introduction of Alex Laing just before the hour and Trevor McCreadie in the final ten minutes gave Lewes more of a presence up front in the closing stages. This almost led to what would surely have been a winning goal with just minutes remaining, as Jonte Smith latched onto a Laing flick-on and lifted the ball over Gay and into the back of the net, only for the linesman’s flag to cut short the celebrations, with Smith adjudged to have strayed offside.
The last chance of the game fell to the visitors in stoppage time, who saw Patrick send a free-kick from the edge of the area just wide. Both sides will have been hoping for a win to boost their chances of staying up this season, but a draw was arguably a fair result based on chances created over the course of the game.
The Rooks will hope to build on their four-game unbeaten run when Dulwich Hamlet visit the Pan on Wednesday, kick-off at 7.45pm.
Lewes: Winterton, Brinkhurst, Redwood, Carey (Laing 58), Freeman, Malins, Muggeridge (Conlon 90), Cotton, Smith, Hammond, Okojie (McCreadie 82).
Unused Subs: Badger, Stroomberg.
Booked: Brinkhurst, Freeman, Cotton.
Needham Market: Gay, Morphew (Dye 45), Whight, Fenn, Miller, Nunn, Ingram, Izzet, Brothers, Holland, Patrick.
Unused Subs: Coakley, Mann, Pelling, Munson.
Booked: Brothers, Izzet
Referee: Stephen Brown