Rooks smashed against The Rocks

An abject display saw Lewes suffer a heavy defeat at Sussex rivals Bognor, as the Rooks were made to pay for a slow start against their promotion-chasing hosts reports Tom Harper.

Darren Freeman made two changes to the side that had lost 2-0 at home to Enfield in their previous game, with Alex Laing and Trevor McCreadie replacing Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe and George Landais in the starting line-up.
Bognor got off to a bright start and hit the woodwork early on, with Jason Prior sending a far-post header from a deep Stuart Green cross against the top of the bar. The hosts did not have to wait long to take a deserved early lead though, as Prior was left unmarked to powerfully head home a corner from close range after just 12 minutes.

Prior doubled his and Bognor’s tally just four minutes later, as he sent a well-struck free-kick past Chris Winterton and into the bottom corner. There was an element of controversy about the goal however, with Phil Appiah having appeared to win the ball in a strong challenge on the edge of the area for which the free-kick was awarded.

The hosts were continuing to look the better side all over the pitch and should have extended their lead within minutes, with Chike Kandi forcing Winterton into a smart save at his near post after out-pacing Stacey Freeman down the left. Lewes came into the game a bit more in the lead-up to half-time, and saw both Laing and Henry Muggeridge force comfortable saves from Grant Smith in the host’s goal with speculative efforts.

The Rooks started the second half brightly and saw McCreadie send a long-range effort just over the bar as they looked to find an unlikely route back into the game. Bognor continued to pose a far greater threat going forward, with Prior having a towering header acrobatically cleared off the line by the covering Alex Malins.
The hosts were able to increase their lead just after the hour, as Alex Parsons beat Leon Redwood to a long ball forward and teed up Prior for a simple close-range finish into the bottom corner to complete his hat-trick.

Unsurprisingly, the game began to peter out at this stage, with Lewes unable to force Smith into meaningful action and Bognor content to sit on their three-goal lead whilst continuing to enjoy the majority of possession.

Bognor added a fourth goal in the final minute of normal time through substitute Ollie Pearce, who was on hand to convert a low cross from virtually on the goal-line and seal an emphatic win for the hosts.

The Rooks briefly rallied in stoppage time and saw Charlie Coppola denied a first senior goal by a smart save from Smith on an otherwise disappointing afternoon for the impressive number of Lewes supporters who made the short journey to West Sussex.

Next up for Lewes is a home game against Merstham on Saturday, kick-off at 3pm.

Bognor Regis Town: Smith, Crane, Wollers, Tuck, Field, Robson, Parsons (Rutherford 71), Beck, Prior, Kandi, Green (Pearce 64).

Unused Subs: Whyte, El-Abd, Boughton.

Booked: Beck.

Lewes: Winterton, Brinkhurst, Redwood, Appiah (Coppola 69), Freeman, Malins, Muggeridge, Cotton, McCreadie, Fraser (Ben El-Mhanni 26), Laing (Landais 78).

Unused Subs: Breach, Carey.

Booked: Cotton.

Referee: William Bull

Attendance: 705

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Bognor Regis Town Preview

“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility;
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger. . . .”

We travel down the A27 on Boxing Day with hope, not fear in our hearts.  Football is a results business and for that we probably get a “D -” on our Christmas report but our effort grade would certainly be a “1”.  Tuesday night was a perfect example where we dominated a game for an hour then let the conditions dictate and Enfield scored twice in the last five minutes.  The age-old curling free-kick hit into the Jet Stream undid us for the first and as we pushed on looking for a point we were exposed on the counterattack.  Alas, that is the nature of the game when you are at the bottom.  However, Saturday brings an opportunity for redemption and to recover some local pride as we head to Bognor Regis Town for our traditional Bank Holiday game.  Honours have been relatively even over the past few years against the Rocks – Lewes snatched a victory at Nywood Lane last Easter thanks to two Elliot Romain goals, whilst back in August it was Jason Prior’s turn to score a double and take all three points for Bognor Regis.

Our recent record against The Rocks now reads:

P 9  W 4 D 2  L 3 GS 8 GA 10

However, it is current form that is probably more relevant to gaining any insight into what could happen on Saturday.  Bognor’s last run out was the 2-0 defeat away at Billericay Town which dented their Promotion ambitions.  In fact their last six games have seen four defeats and a draw, one of the worst spells they have experienced all season.  They are one of the pack that sits just outside the play-off zone at the moment.  Their home form has been good, with seven wins and three draws from twelve games so far, averaging two points and two and a quarter goals per game.  Games at Nywood Lane are entertaining with an average of 3.67 goals scored per game this season.  Unsurprisingly, Jason Prior has been the main man this season with 18 goals to date, including those two at The Dripping Pan back in August.

Alas, our form on the road has seen us lose three-quarters of our games, conceding 2.21 goals per game.  But we all know that football is a funny game and who wouldn’t back us to repeat our performance from last Easter.  Despite starting on Tuesday, George Landais remains a major doubt as too is Lee Carey.  James Hammond is serving the last of his three match ban so could this be another opportunity for young Charlie Coppola to shine?

Kick off on Saturday at Nywood Lane is 3pm.  Admission is £10 for adults.

Rocks leave Rooks with Bank Holiday Blues

A disappointing display saw Lewes fall to their fifth defeat of the season, as two first-half goals from Jason Prior helped Bognor to a comfortable win in this Sussex derby at the Pan.

Steve Brown made four changes to the side that had lost 5-1 at Farnborough in their previous game, with Chris Breach, Jordan Badger, Ronnie Conlon and Alex Laing being replaced in the starting line-up by Steve Sutherland, Fraser Logan, George Brown and Elliott Levy.

The unavailability of Breach and Badger saw a defensive reshuffle for the Rooks, with Jay Lovett playing alongside Sutherland in the centre and Leon Redwood filling in at left-back.  Bognor took the lead after just 11 minutes, as Alex Parsons dispossessed Lovett on the edge of the area and squared for Prior to finish past Will Godmon.

The Rooks suffered a further blow just five minutes later, as Redwood was forced off with an injury and was replaced by Alex Summerfield.  Bognor were enjoying the majority of the possession, and looked capable of causing the Lewes back four problems with their pace every time they went forward.

The visitors also boast arguably one of the best strikers in the Ryman Premier in Prior, who sent a header from a Harvey Whyte cross straight at Godmon as Bognor looked to find a second goal.  The doubled their lead after 22 minutes, Prior beating Richie Welch to another dangerous cross from Parsons to send a powerful header back across Godmon and into the far corner.

Lewes enjoyed their best spell of the game just after half-time, as they kept the ball better and saw substitute Troy Williams hit the outside of the post from a tight angle after a Logan cross had caught out Grant Smith in the Bognor goal.  The visitors were soon back on top though, as Prior sent a powerful far-post header from a Parsons cross against the crossbar.

The Rooks continued to work hard to try and find a way back into the game, with Levy seeing a goal-bound effort blocked in the six-yard box by Whyte after a corner had not been cleared.

Bognor always looked capable of adding to their lead and were unfortunate not to do so, as Alfie Rutherford capitalised on hesitant defending by Sutherland but saw his effort from the edge of the area hit the bar and bounce clear.

Lewes were unable to build a spell of pressure to try and find an unlikely route back into the game during the closing stages, with the visitors looking the more likely scorers, as both Ollie Pearce and Stuart Green went close in stoppage time.

The Rooks will look to put this result behind them when they travel to VCD Athletic on Saturday for a crucial game, kick-off at 3pm.

Lewes: Godmon, Welch (Williams 47), Redwood (Summerfield 16), Logan, Lovett, Sutherland, Levy, Brown, Crabb, Wilson, Muggeridge (Pring 83).

Unused Subs: Laing, Hutchins.

Booked: Wilson.

Bognor Regis Town: Smith, Whyte, Crane, Tuck (Rutherford 49), El-Abd (Field 71), Robson, Green, Beck (Charman 66), Prior, Pearce, Parsons.

Unused Subs: Wollers, Nilsen.

Booked: Charman.

Referee: Matthew Goldsmith

Attendance: 568

Bognor Regis Preview

“The Past is Prologue” is a well-known line from Shakespeare’s The Tempest and we can only take that view as the go into the game on Bank Holiday Monday against Bognor Regis Town.  Last season we met the Rocks on four occasions, with Lewes running out the winners on three occasions, the last time on Easter Monday when two Elliot Romain goals were enough to see the Rooks run out 2-1 winners at Nywood Lane.  The two sides had contrasting fortunes on Saturday with Lewes going down 5-1 at Farnborough and Bognor reversing their poor recent form by coming from behind to beat Billericay Town 3-1.  Our recent record against Bognor Regis Town has been good, with four wins from our last eight meetings.

P 8  W 4 D 2  L 2 GS 8 GA 8

Bognor’s form so far this season has been inconsistent to say the least.  They won their first two games of the season against Merstham and Staines Town, then lost to Met Police and Tonbridge Angels in a remarkable 5-0 home defeat.  However, their ten points from six games means that they sit in 6th place coming down the A27.  Their key man is striker Jason Prior, signed from Margate in the summer who has already got 5 goals this season.

Steve Brown will be waiting on news to the injury to Jordan Badger and Steve Sutherland before being able to name his squad.  Any suspension to Will Godmon in relation to his red card on Saturday will not kick in for a few weeks so he will likely start in goal.

Romain double seals the points at Bognor

Two second-half goals from Elliott Romain and a late penalty save from Rikki Banks saw Lewes take a big step towards Ryman Premier survival, as an impressive team display helped the Rooks to a 2-1 win at local rivals Bognor reports Tom Harper.

Steve Brown made two changes to the side that had lost 1-0 at home to Harrow Borough just two days previously, with Sam Crabb and Romain replacing the injured James Fraser (groin) and Calum Willock (calf) in the starting line-up.

Bognor started brightly and almost went ahead after three minutes, as Stuart Green saw his close-range effort ruled out for offside after Banks had kept out an initial strike from Terry Dodd.  The Rooks were looking threatening in the early stages themselves though, as Ronnie Conlon saw a close-range strike kept out by Chris Winterton after the former Lewes goalkeeper had been unable to deal with an Arron Hopkinson cross.

The game became disjointed after this bright opening, with Bognor forced into two substitutions and Lewes needing to make a change of their own due to three injuries in quick succession. It was the hosts who had the better of the remainder of the half, with Jason Prior going close twice with headers from corners, before Dodd missed the target with only Banks to beat following a good passing move just before half-time.

Having weathered a storm at the end of the first half, Lewes enjoyed the best possible start to the second half by taking the lead just three minutes after the restart.  Romain was the scorer, heading home a cross from substitute Luke Blewden after Winterton had been unable to claim an earlier ball into the box from Sam Crabb.

With the Rooks fans behind the goal still celebrating taking the lead, Romain scored his second goal just three minutes later, as he controlled a long throw in the penalty area and sent a half-volley past Winterton and into the far corner to double Lewes’ advantage.  Bognor continued to look dangerous going forward however, and pulled a goal back just after the hour when ex-Rook Dodd was in the right place at the right time to convert a Green cross at the far post.

Having struggled for goals during his short spell at the Pan earlier this season, Dodd always looked like causing the Lewes defence problems and went close soon after with a shot on the turn from the edge of the penalty area that went just wide.  Lewes were continuing to cause the Bognor defence problems on the counter-attack, with both Hopkinson and substitute Nick Wheeler missing the target as the Rooks looked to restore their two-goal advantage.

The hosts were creating the better chances by this stage though, and should have equalised with just over 15 minutes remaining as Dodd sent his effort wide of the far post with only Banks to beat.  The Rooks then passed up their best opportunity to go two goals ahead again, as Hopkinson sent a close-range effort from an excellent Wheeler cross over the bar.

It looked as though Lewes would be made to pay for this miss with two minutes remaining, as referee Aaron Moody awarded Bognor a penalty after a foul in a crowded penalty area.  Prior stepped up to take it, but Banks went the right way and made a superb save diving to his left to preserve Lewes’ advantage.

The hosts came even closer to equalising deep into stoppage time, as Prior saw his free-kick from the edge of the area hit the inside of the post before eventually being cleared from in front of goal.

The final whistle saw jubilant celebrations from Lewes players and supporters, with the victory taking the Rooks six points clear of the relegation zone with just three games remaining.

Next up for Lewes is a trip to Metropolitan Police on Saturday, kick-off at 3pm.

In player news, the club have parted company with midfielder Tom Davis and we wish him all the best for the future.

Bognor Regis Town: Winterton, Nilsen, Crane, Tuck (Sackman 14), Field, Robson, Green, Thomson, Prior, Dodd, Maloney (Wedlake 12) (Overton 58).

Unused Subs: Lawson, Wollers.

Booked: Robson, Overton.

Lewes: Banks, S. Crabb, Badger, Breach (Blewden 22), Elphick, Rowe, Rowe-Hurst (Wheeler 63), M. Crabb, Romain, Conlon, Hopkinson (Huet 89).

Unused Subs: Malins, Taylor.

Booked: Banks, Blewden.

Referee: Aaron Moody

Attendance: 599

Witham Town here we come!

A late goal from Ollie Rowe saw Lewes progress into the second qualifying round of the FA Cup with a narrow victory against Sussex rivals Bognor at the Pan reports Tom Harper.

With the first game at Nyewood Lane four days previously having been such a close encounter, it wasn’t surprising that this replay started in a similar fashion, with neither side creating a clear-cut opportunity during the opening stages.  The visitors were seeing more of the ball though, and created the first chance of the game when Rikki Banks saved comfortably from Harvey Whyte after a purposeful run through the middle by Stuart Green.

Lewes grew into the game as the half progressed, with Nathan Crabb sending a close-range effort wide when it seemed easier to score after good football in the final third, although the goal would not have stood due to the winger being in an offside position.  Crabb had another chance moments later, as he latched onto a loose ball but saw his effort when clean through on goal well saved by former Rooks goalkeeper Chris Winterton.  Bognor nearly made Crabb and Lewes pay for these missed chances immediately, as Ben Johnson blasted an effort from just inside the penalty area high and wide when he should have hit the target after a quick counter-attack.

After a fairly even first half, the visitors started the second on the front foot and could have been ahead within minutes of the restart when Steve Brinkhurst was forced to hook a James Crane header from a deep Whyte cross off the line.  Alex Parsons went close for Bognor minutes later, sending an effort from a tight angle into the side-netting when he should have hit the target.

Lewes were struggling to gain a foot-hold in open play, but looked a threat from set-pieces. It was from a dangerous Jack Dixon corner that the Rooks had their first chance of the second half, Rowe sending a powerful header over the crossbar from close range.  The visitors continued to enjoy the majority of the possession, and forced Banks into a fine save to deny Jake Thomson at his near post after a purposeful run down the right and cut-back from substitute Ollie Pearce.

The Rooks management team made two bold attacking changes heading into the final 20 minutes, with Elliott Romain replacing Luke Blewden and former Bognor striker Terry Dodd replacing the impressive Phil Appiah.  Despite this, the better chances were still falling to Bognor, who saw Whyte cut inside from the right and send a powerful effort just wide of the far post.

Having not seen much of the ball throughout the second half, Lewes started to apply more pressure in the closing stages.  A long-range effort from Dixon was only parried by Winterton, with Romain seeing his follow-up effort deflected behind as the Rooks looked to find a late winner.  From the resulting corner taken by Dixon, Rowe was in the right place at the right time to send a powerful close-range header into the back net to give Lewes the lead with just five minutes remaining.

The Rooks saw out the closing stages comfortably to progress into the second qualifying round of the FA Cup, setting up another all-Ryman Premier tie at Witham Town a week on Saturday.

Although Bognor will feel hard done by after arguably being the better side throughout the second half, Lewes showed the kind of defensive organisation that has seen them go five games unbeaten and keep four consecutive clean sheets after a slow start to the season before taking one of the few clear-cut chances to come their way.

This recent good form will face its toughest test so far in the Rooks next game on Saturday, when they host top-of-the-table Maidstone United at the Pan, kick-off at 3pm.

Lewes: Banks, Brinkhurst, Logan, Rowe, Elphick, Stinson, Wheeler (Treleaven 89), Dixon, Blewden (Romain 64), Crabb, Appiah (Dodd 69).

Unused Subs: Fergany, Cole, Branford, Burbridge.

Booked: Stinson, Romain.

Bognor Regis Town: Winterton, Medway, Crane, Tuck (Hopkinson 86), Sackman, Robson, Whyte, Thomson, Green (Thompson 82), Parsons (Pearce 54), Johnson.

Unused Subs: Warren, Boyle, Oatway.

Booked: None.

Referee: Paul Howard

Attendance: 405

Rooks held at home by the Rocks

Lewes maintained their unbeaten start to the season but had to settle for a point in the Sussex derby against Bognor at the Pan, with an early Jack Dixon strike being cancelled out by an outstanding second-half effort from Kane Wills, reports Tom Harper.

Garry Wilson made two changes to the side which had drawn 0-0 at Maidstone United in their previous game, with Nick Wheeler and Nathan Crabb replacing Steve Brinkhurst and Ade Olorunda in the starting line-up.  However, the Rooks were still without injured duo Jack Walder and Dan Smith, as well as the suspended Tom Vickers.

Lewes made a bright start and were head after just seven minutes. Dixon was the scorer, as he poked the ball home from close range following a low Sam Crabb cross.  Bognor soon came into the game though, and saw Ollie Pearce send an effort from inside the penalty area over the crossbar after being teed up by James Crane.

9600291861_9f0d30fe4b_bThe Rooks continued to create chances of their own and should have doubled their lead when Dixon saw a close-range header from a Ross Treleaven cross superbly saved by Mark Zawadski in the visitors goal, before Ben Austin sent a header from a tight angle against the outside of the far post just minutes later.  The visitors had the final chance of the half, with Pearce finding himself clean through but seeing his effort well saved by Rikki Banks.

Bognor started the second half on the front foot and should have equalised within a few minutes of the restart, as former Rook Ben Godfrey scuffed his effort straight at Banks when clean through.  Lewes were struggling to get on the ball and were lucky to stay ahead just after the hour mark, as substitute Terry Dodd sent a free header at the far post into the side-netting from a Wills free-kick.

Bognor found the equaliser their second-half display had deserved after 71 minutes in spectacular style. Wills picked the ball up about 35 yards from goal and with no Lewes players closing him down, sent a powerful effort swerving past Banks and into the back of the net.

Conceding only their second goal of the season seemed to galvanise the Rooks, who saw Dixon have a powerful free-kick turned behind by Zawadski.  From the resulting corner, Austin saw a header which seemed destined for the top corner superbly clawed away by the impressive Zawadski.  Lewes then had their best chance to win the game, as substitute Olorunda saw a close-range effort blocked once again by Zawadski after the visitors goalkeeper had only been able to parry a long-range effort from Dixon.

Although Lewes had the better of the chances throughout the game, Bognor had the better of much of the second half and a draw was probably a fair result on the balance of play.

After the game Danny Bloor gave his views on the two games in the past 48 hours.

Next up for the Rooks is a trip to Hendon on Saturday, kick-off at 3pm.

Lewes: Banks, S. Crabb, Gore, Lovett, Austin, M. Crabb (Dollery 71), Wheeler, Dixon, Treleaven (Olorunda 53), N. Crabb, Logan (Brinkhurst 47).

Unused Subs: Peake, Fergany.

Booked: N. Crabb.

Bognor Regis Town: Zawadski, Malins, Wollers (Crane 17), Tuck, Axten, Robson, Hopkinson, Wills, Godfrey (Dodd 53), Whyte, Pearce (Marzetti 76).

Unused Subs: Sackman, Boyle.

Booked: Axten, Godfrey.

Referee: Paul Howard

Attendance: 777