Rooks suffer heavy defeat at Canvey Island

Lewes suffered a heavy defeat on the freezing cold banks of the Thames Estuary with on-loan goalkeeper Harry Palmer suffering a debut to forget.

Palmer was the only change to the starting eleven from last week, replacing flu-suffering Chris Winterton, having signed at the 11th hour on dual registration from Braintree Town. New Eastbourne Borough loanee Josh Street and Miguel Baptista were also included in an attacking squad, with Darren Freeman recognising the need to grab at least a point.

The positivity lasted just six minutes before Gilbey’s cross was flicked home by centre-back Richard Halle. The home side weathered the strong wind quickly and put the Rooks goal under pressure before Lewes equalised against the run of play in the 15th minute when a neat passing move saw Laing play in Jonté Smith and he had no mistake when one-on-one with Conor Gough.

Lewes grew in confidence with Smith twice going close, denied by Gough on one occasion and the conditions on the other. Half-time saw the scores were level, with The Rooks feeling confident that they’d matched the hosts despite the strong wind acting as an extra attacker.

Alas the confidence dissolved within six second half minutes as Curran smashed the ball home after Tuohy had created the space for him. Stokes should have scored a third soon after, waltzing through the Lewes defence before his shot hit the post then rolled across the line. The Rooks luck ran out just after the hour mark when keeper Palmer took too long with his clearance and Tuohy charged the ball down, then rolling it into an empty net.

However, against the run of play Lewes came back into the game in the 76th minute when Redwood’s speculative free-kick eluded everyone in the area and bounced through Gough’s legs and into the net.

The next goal was crucial although in fairness it never looked like The Rooks would score it. Despite Freeman throwing on Baptista for his debut and Ben El-Mhanni it was the home side who looked the stronger and they wrapped up the win with three minutes to go when substitute Johnson’s effort came off the post and fell kindly to fellow substitute Akurang who made amends for his earlier open goal miss by smashing the ball home to make it 4-2. A fifth made the scoreline flattering although there was nothing lucky about Tuohy’s second in injury time, smashing home a volley from twenty five yards.  

It was a damaging defeat for the Rooks, with none of the other bottom six winning and now making Monday night’s trip to Hendon a must-win game.

Canvey Island: Gough, Pitty, Dumas, Gilbey (Agakwa – 90 mins), Halle, Sheehan, Curran (Akurang – 81 mins), Chatting, Tombides (Johnson – 81 mins), Tuohy, Stokes

Subs not used: Lawson, James-Lewis

Lewes: Palmer, Brinkhurst (Ben El-Mhanni – 82 mins), Redwood, Carey, Freeman, Malins, Conlon, Hammond (Baptista – 72 mins) Smith, Laing, Okojie (Street – 60 mins)

Subs not used: Muggeridge, Badger

Booking: Laing

Referee: Martyn Holmes

Attendance: 311


Canvey Island Preview + news of squad changes

It’s only been a few weeks since we last met The Gulls when Jonte Smith’s debut double gave us all three points. After two weeks of last minute goals conceded we will head to Essex with any thoughts of late drama firmly locked in the minibus!  Slowly but surely we are narrowing the gap on the teams above us, meaning three points tomorrow are more than vital than ever.

Our recent record against Canvey Island has been mixed.  We’ve won a couple, we’ve lost some and we’ve drawn a few.  In essence, we’ve been quite closely matched.  In recent times we’ve had the better of the encounters including that 3-1 win back in January.  Since then Canvey Island have won two, lost two and drawn one game, points that have essentially made their Ryman League Premier Division status safe for another season.  Lewes’s form has also been pretty good since that January day with one win, two draws and that last gasp defeat to Enfield Town.  Our Ryman record against Canvey Island now reads:-

P 9 W 3 D 3 L 3 GS 13 GA 12

Canvey’s home form has been a cause for concern recently, with five defeats and a draw from their last eight games at Park Lane (exactly the same as their away form in the same period), giving us some hope although our away form isn’t exactly the best – in fact it is still the worst in the division.  But we go with more confidence than we have ever had this season.  Last week Canvey won away at Harrow Borough with goals from Steve Sheehan and Lawrence Yiga.  Their main danger man remains striker Martin Tuohy who has 18 goals so far this term.

Darren will take an almost full-strength squad to Canvey Island, with the only absences being Jimmy Muitt and George Landais.  Last week’s new signing Josh Street should travel with the squad as too should new loan signing from Eastbourne Borough, Miguel Baptista.  The 22 year old Portuguese player will add further attacking options for Darren on Saturday.

In other squad news Trevor McCreadie has moved to East Grinstead Town in search of first team football and we wish him well for the future.

Kick off at Park Lane is 3pm.


Smith double fires Rooks to all three points

Lewes pulled a last minute rabbit out of the hat by announcing the signing of Bermudian International Jonté Smith just before kick-off who went on to prove the match winner as The Rooks unbeaten start to 2016 continued, reports Stuart Fuller.

There can be no doubt that is a completely different Lewes side to the one that weakly surrendered in many early season games.  The fight, drive and quality is now there for all to see as not only did Darren Freeman field his strongest starting line-up of the season but also named a bench full of the brightest young stars the club has.

The signing of Smith was certainly a coup, although it wasn’t as last minute as you may think, having been in place to have played last week against Hendon (and Dulwich Hamlet).  His two goals won him the man of the match award, although this was as good a team performance as we have seen for a long time.

The Rooks started off positively with Muggeridge and Okojie both trying to get behind the Canvey Island full-backs, with support from Brinkhurst and Redwood.  Fraser sat just behind Smith in the attacking formation and unsurprisingly Lewes dominated the opening period, with the new signing Smith having two great chances well saved by former Rook Conor Gough and almost setting up Muggeridge for a tap in.

On twenty minutes Canvey could have potentially been down to ten men when Harrison Chatting’s late and high tackle on James Fraser left the Lewes forward struggling for most of the rest of the game, and the midfielder with a yellow card.

The opening goal finally came in the 31st minute when Alex Malins proved to be an unlikely provider, flighting his header back across the goal for Smith, who cut inside his man and fired the ball low across Gough and into the net.  The lead lasted twelve minutes until Dumas equalised from a free-kick that went under the wall and beat Winterton at his near post, taking the wind out of the fans and the players sails.

Canvey Island enjoyed the bulk of the possession in the early exchanges of the second half with Winterton, Redwood and Freeman all making interventions at the right time.  Lewes needed a spark and that came after Laing replaced James Fraser with just under half an hour to go.

The impact was almost immediate.  Laing chased what looked like a lost cause, the Canvey keeper made the mistake of rushing out.  Laing won the race to the ball, somehow keeping it in play before cutting inside and firing it past the defender on the line.

Confidence back, Lewes went for an elusive third goal.  Okojie and Carey came close before Smith settled the game with another smart finish, reacting the quickest to a blocked shot and smashing the rebound home.  There was still time for Winterton to pull off a superb save to deny Canvey’s substitute Martin Tuohy but the three points were very well deserved.

Smith was awarded the Man of the Match prize by the sponsors Littlewoods Fencing but this was the best team performance of the season, momentum which needs to be carried into Wednesday’s home game against Dulwich Hamlet.

Lewes FC: Winterton, Brinkhurst, Redwood, Carey, Freeman, Malins, Muggeridge, Cotton, Smith, Fraser (Laing – 58 mins), Okojie (Hammond – 85 mins)

Subs not used: Conlon, McCreadie, Badger

Bookings: Redwood, Winterton

Canvey Island FC: Gough, Pitty, Dumas, Eyong, Halle, Mbulu, Agyakwa, Chatting (Gilbey – 62 mins), Curran (Tuohy – 75 mins), James-Lewis, Stokes

Subs not used: Lawson, Sheehan, Wickham

Bookings: Mbulu, Chatting

Attendance: 401

Canvey Island Preview

Will we play?  Can we play?  Of course we can!  Football’s back at the Pan on Saturday* when Canvey Island make the trip down from Sunny Essex.  Whilst games have been scarce in 2016, we can still claim to be unbeaten, after our win against Merstham and the draw at Wingate & Finchley.

Our last game against The Gulls ended all square back in February with Elliott Romain proving to be the hero and villian in an entertaining encounter.  After giving the Rooks a lead just before half time with a fine volley, Romain proceeded to pick up yellow cards either side of the break and left Lewes playing with ten men for the remainder of the game.  Despite some heriocs at the back, Canvey eventually equalised when centre-half John Easterford was left unmarked at a corner.  But the drama didn’t end there as the Rooks broke from the kick-off and Callum Willock was set through on goal before he was illegally challenged by Easterford.  Another red card for the goal scorer and the resulting free-kick was deflected wide.

Our recent record against Canvey Island has been mixed.  We’ve won a couple, we’ve lost some and we’ve drawn a few.  In essence, we’ve been quite closely matched.  We shared six goals with them back in January 2014 after having a 3-0 lead at the break whilst we have lost three of our last four home games against them 2-1.

P 8 W 2 D 3 L 3 GS 10 GA 11

Canvey lost 4-0 last Saturday at home to league leaders Hampton & Richmond Borough, a result that sums up their recent form.  After seven wins on the bounce in September and October that saw them sit in the Play-Offs, they have won just twice in thirteen games, losing nine of those.  They come into the game at The Pan in 12th place although just ten points from 5th bottom in a very congested midfield in the league table.  Their main dangerman is Centre-Forward Martin Tuohy who has scored 16 goals this term, with the second top scorer Harrison Chatting and Tambeson Eyong having just 4 each.  So stop Tuohy, stop Canvey seems to be the story.  They have lost 50% of their games on the road this season, conceding an average of 2 goals per game.

There’s no real new squad news, although we could have one new signing ready to announce in the next 24 hours, subject to paperwork.  There have been some changes to the staff off the pitch though as Darren outlines in his programme notes. “Our physio, Paige, was offered a new job that clashed with her commitments at the club, so sadly she’s had to stand down. We all wish her well. In her place comes Paul Baskin, who is a highly qualified physio that I’ve worked with for a number of years from my time at Whitehawk. Paul’s got loads of contacts and already used his little black book to accelerate the treatment of players, and I’m delighted to have him back alongside me, Ross and Tony in the dugout”

*Subject to hurricane, flood, pestilence or invading Vikings

All square at Canvey Island

It was a case of honours even in Essex as Lewes battled the elements to gain a draw at Canvey Island.

Martin Hinshelwood and Steve Eke made one change from the side that beat Loxwood on Wednesday, bringing back James Fraser for Josh Marshall and playing a 4-4-2 with Ollie Rowe once again filling in at left-bank in the absence of the injured Sam Cole.

The blustery conditions certainly didn’t help in the first half, with both teams struggling to keep the ball on the deck.  Lewes created the best chance of the half when Matt Crabb hit a superb volley from 30 yards that rattled the post.  A string of Lewes corners put the Canvey goal under pressure but debut goal keeper Mitov wasn’t put under any pressure.

The talking point of the first half was the failure of the referee to send off Canvey Island centre-back Josh Banton.  Having already been booked for hauling down Nick Wheeler, Banton caught Tom Davis late with a challenge that would have earned any other player a yellow, yet the referee just gave the centre-back a talking to.

On the stroke of half-time, Lewes took the lead when Romain controlled a difficult bouncing ball in the area, turned and smashed the ball into the roof of the net.  On the balance of play it was probably deserved but the game changed just five minutes into the second half when Romain was adjudged to have elbowed Jones in the face and received a straight red.

With the wind changing and blowing into the faces of the Lewes defence, it was a case of backs to the sea wall as Canvey went on the offensive.  They made three attacking changes and those substitutions gave the hosts new energy.  The Lewes goal led a charmed life when first the inside of a post and then a Chris Breach goal line header saved the Rooks.  The travelling Lewes fans hoped that we would hang on, but there was an inevitability about an equaliser.

With the clock ticking onto the 90th minute, another Canvey corner found its way to centre-half John Easterford and he smashed the ball home.  But there was to be more late drama as just 90 seconds later, Eastefrord saw red for pulling back Callum Willock as he was through on goal.  The resulting James Fraser free kick was goal-bound but a deflection of a Canvey boot saw it spin inches wide.

A point on the road is never a bad result and there was enough in the performance to give heart to the travelling fans.  The only disappointment was the red card for Romain that could now see him face a six game ban.

The Rooks are next in action on Saturday when Kingstonian are the visitors at The Dripping Pan.

Canvey Island: Mitov, Collis (Dobinson), Carter, Jones, Banton, Easterford, Sykes, Chatting (Barlow), Showunmi (Agyakwa), Curan, Simmons

Subs: King, Tweddle

Booked: Banton

Sent Off: Easterford

Lewes: Hall, S Crabb, Rowe, Davis (Blewden), Breach, Elphick, Hopkinson (Willock), M Crabb, Romain, Fraser, Wheeler

Subs: Malins, Marshall, Stroomberg

Booked: Romain, Davis, Wheeler

Sent Off: Romain

Referee: Stuart Butler

Attendance: 266

Rooks suffer last minute heartache

A dominant display was not enough to help Lewes continue their impressive recent home form, as ten-man Canvey Island left the Pan with all three points thanks to an injury-time winner, reports Tom Harper.

Garry Wilson made two changes to the side from Saturday’s victory over East Thurrock, with Tom Davis and Tommy Fraser replacing Jack Walder and Leroy Griffiths in the starting line-up.

Lewes started the game brightly and could have been ahead inside the first few minutes, as a good passing move in midfield ended with Elliott Romain sending an effort just wide of the far post from a James Fraser cut-back.

The Rooks were playing all the football, with the pace of Romain causing the Canvey Island back four plenty of problems in the opening stages.

Lewes nearly went ahead after 20 minutes, as Ollie Rowe forced visiting goalkeeper Tim Brown into a fine save with a close-range header after Gary Elphick had headed a James Frasrer free-kick back across the face of goal.

Having been on the front foot for much of the half, it came as a big shock to the majority of the crowd when the Rooks fell behind just before half-time.

The goal was completely preventable too, as an under-hit pass-back from Rowe was latched onto by Enoch Showumni, whose weak effort just about beat the previously untroubled Rikki Banks at his near post.

Despite this, the game swung back into the Rooks’ favour just five minutes into the second half, as Steve Smith was shown a straight red card for a two-footed lunge on Henry Muggeridge, with the wing-back having to be carried off after receiving treatment on the pitch for several minutes.

The sending off saw Canvey Island become even more organised at the back, with their back four sitting deep and preventing the likes of Romain from getting in behind and having efforts on goal.

The closest the Rooks came to equalising for much of the half was through a Sam Cole free-kick, which Brown pushed away comfortably.

Lewes finally found the equaliser their possession had deserved after 77 minutes though, as the visitors were unable to clear the ball after a spell of pressure and Davis sent a superb half-volley from the edge of the area past Brown and into the roof of the net.

Having been defending a lead for the entire second half, the visitor’s approach didn’t change after conceding as they recognised that a point would still be a good result having been down to ten men for so long.

The Rooks were unable to build up any head of steam during the final ten minutes due to regular stoppages for Canvey Island players suffering from cramp, although they still looked the more likely winners.

The visitors posed a threat on the break though, and made this count at the start of injury-time as they took the lead for a second time.

George Sykes was the scorer, sending a powerful effort past Banks and into the corner after Lewes had been unable to clear their lines after a quick counter-attack.

The Rooks still very nearly found an equaliser, with substitute Nick Wheeler seeing a shot hit the inside of the post before being cleared in the last minute.

This was a tough result to take for Lewes, who were the better side throughout the game but were unable to turn long spells of possession into clear-cut chances against a well-organised Canvey Island side.

The Rooks will play worse than this and win games before the end of the season, but are still only seven points clear of the bottom four as the busy run of fixtures continues.

Next up for Lewes is the visit of Hendon on Saturday, kick-off at 3pm.

Lewes: Banks, Muggeridge (S. Crabb 54), Cole, Rowe, Elphick, Breach (Wheeler 73), Davis, Romain, T. Fraser, J. Fraser, M. Crabb.

Unused Subs: Badger, Walder, Blewden.

Booked: None.

Canvey Island: Brown, Collis, Dumas, Jones, Banton, Easterford, Sykes, Smith, Showumni (Tweddell 84), Agyakwa (Carter 69), Simmons.

Unused Subs: King, Barlow, Sackey.

Booked: Agyakwa.

Sent off: Smith.

Referee: Paul Saunders

Attendance: 287

Rooks strike early to bring the Gulls down to earth

A superb early strike from midfielder Jack Dixon was enough to take all three points for the Rooks on a grey day at The Dripping Pan, reports Stuart Fuller.

BR4t_3wCIAAAUvE (2)Lewes continued their unbeaten start to the season with a hard-fought win over Canvey Island in a physical encounter.  With Andy Pearson back at Whitehawk after his loan period had ended, Boss Garry Wilson shuffled the team around, with skipper Jack Walder dropping back to play with Jay Lovett and Matt Crabb making his debut for the Rooks alongside Jack Dixon in midfield.  With Matt lining up with brothers Sam and Nathan in the starting XI, it was the first time three brothers had played together in the same team.

The 500 plus crowd didn’t have to wait long for the first bit of action as Nathan Crabb and Ade Olorunda put Canvey’s keeper, Josh Vickers under early pressure.  Then with just over four minutes on the clock the ball fell perfectly for Dixon on the edge of the box and his powerful shot hit the back of the net.

Lewes continued to put pressure on the visitors goal, testing Vickers who seemed a little nervous and it seemed only a matter of time before a second would be recorded. However, Canvey started to come back into the game, creating space out wide although the final ball was easily dealt with by Lovett and Walder.

With the rain falling over half time the pitch became very greasy and neither side could dominate the game.  Olorunda had two great chances, one of which produced the best save of the game from Vickers.  Wheeler, who had picked up an injury in his impressive first half performance was replaced by Ross Treleaven on the hour mark and soon after Canvey Island were reduced to ten men when an off the ball incident involving Lovett and Rob Bartley saw the visitor’s centre back saw red.

Lewes had the better of the last fifteen minutes with Nathan Crabb coming within a whisker of seeing his goal bound effort trickle over the line. With four minutes of injury time to be played, the Lewes fans held their breath, the memory of far too many games where we have thrown away points still fresh in our memories.  But this is a team with a different mentality and it was the Rooks who finished the game the stronger.

Seven points from the opening three games is an impressive start for the team that will only get stronger as the season progresses.  After the game, a very happy Garry Wilson spoke about the win.

Next up for the Rooks is a trip back to Essex on Tuesday night when they will face East Thurrock United, kick off at 7:45pm.

Lewes: Banks, S Crabb, Gore, Lovett, M Crabb, Walder (c), Wheeler, Dixon, Olorunda, N Crabb, Logan

Subs: Brinkhurst (for Olorunda 74), Brown, Treleaven (for Wheeler 64), Peake, Armstrong-Ford

Cautions: M. Crabb and N. Crabb.

Canvey Island: Vickers, Sellears, Dumas, Game (c), Bartley, Humphreys, Currans, Smith, Thomas, Bellotti, Nash

Subs: Baucutt (Nash), Hawes, Alaile (Smith), Emeke (Belloti), Brightly