The Rooks recorded their first away league win for over six months with an assured performance at Brentwood Town, extending their unbeaten run to four games in the process, reports Stuart Fuller.
Darren Freeman was forced to shuffle his pack as he was without Jonté Smith, away on international duty with Bermuda and Lloyd Cotton, who was serving the first of his two game ban for accumulating 11 yellow cards. Lee Carey and James Hammond deputised for the duo, with Josh Street and Alex Laing providing the pace up front.
Lewes dominated the possession in the first period in a similar fashion to how they had matched Billericay Town a few weeks ago. Despite the poor surface, Lewes’ attractive passing game had the hosts chasing shadows although it was clear the team missed Smith’s presence in the area. Laing had the Rooks best chance of the first half when he couldn’t quite get a toe on the end of a superb Leon Redwood free-kick, whilst Winterton was almost a spectator at the other end.
Seven minutes into the second half and James Hammond beat the full-back and played a dangerous low cross into the area which was met by Ronnie Conlon. The keeper Bowles made a great save but could only parry the ball to Henry Muggeridge who forced the ball home from close range. The goal was no more than the Rooks deserved and Henry got a deserved kiss from Ethel for his reward.
Lewes continued to look the more assured side but the introduction of new signing Alex Teniola gave them a different option up front and they soon pushed the Rooks back into their half. Winterton was forced into action finally on the hour mark, making an excellent one hand stop low down close to his post, whilst Teniola should have done better when he was clean through on goal only to pull his effort wide.
Brentwood started to utilise their long throw tactic to put the Rooks defence under pressure but Malins and Freeman had excellent games and handled the danger without too much drama. At the other end Laing and Street ran the home defence ragged although chances on goal were at a premium.
Whilst the final few minutes gave the Rooks away support some palpitations, the team showed maturity and calmness in retaining possession, seeing out the 3 minutes of injury time without any further drama.
Whilst other results may not have gone our way, the win was further evidence of the team’s development under Darren’s guidance. Every game from now until the end of the season is a must-win but performances like this give the Rooks hope.
Brentwood Town: Bowles, Gordon, Cross, Stokes, O’Rawe, Ngandu, Milner (Teniola – 53 mins), Elbi (Hahn – 81 mins), Richardson, Rees, Freeman
Subs not used: Banton, Nobbs, Scammell
Lewes: Winterton, Brinkhurst, Redwood, Carey, Freeman, Malins, Muggeridge, Hammond, Street (Okojie – 84 mins), Laing, Conlon (Ben El-Mhanni)
Subs not used: Badger, Stroomberg
Referee: Paul Yates