Appiah wonderstrike gives the Rooks overdue win

After nine months of waiting, Lewes finally recorded a home league win with a comfortable victory over fellow relegation candidate Farnborough, reports Stuart Fuller.

Darren Freeman had the luxury of choice up front with James Fraser, Trevor McCreadie and new signing George Landais all available, although Josh Jones wasn’t yet at full match fitness. With Lee Carey still nursing an injury from last week and James Hammond suspended, Phil Appiah and Lloyd Cotton took the central midfield roles and soon started to impose themselves on a weak Farnborough side who set themselves up in a 5-3-2 formation.

Lewes dominated opening exchanges with the impressive Junior Odegi-Uzokwe having the better of the Farnborough defence and it was his run on 15 minutes that led to the first real chance when he beat his man, pulled the ball back for James Fraser, who did a good job of controlling the ball but flashed his shot over the bar.

On 21 minutes new striker George Landais limped off on his debut with a knee injury, replaced by Trevor McCreadie. Farnborough’s desperation to grab some points was summed up ten minutes later when striker Bogdan Vastsuk threw himself to the floor in the area, resulting in the first of five yellow cards for the visitors.

The Rooks came close to opening the scoring on 35 minutes when Lloyd Cotton headed the ball back across the goal for Henry Muggeridge, whose shot just scraped the bar. Ten minutes later and Cotton was involved again, laying a perfect ball on for Phil Appiah who, despite having a poor first touch, hit a peach of a shot from 25 yards into the corner of the net.

Lewes led at the break for just the second time this season and came out with a bounce in their steps for the second half. Farnborough brought on Barton to give them another attacking option but the majority of the half was spent in the midfield. Twice Lewes had good shouts for penalties, first when Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe was hauled down in the area only for the referee to deem the offence outside and then, for the second week running, Trevor McCreadie was fouled in the area in front of the linesman yet nothing was given.

With the clock ticking over the ninety minute mark and three points at stake, Lewes tried to hold the ball in the corners as long as they could. Finally the whistle blew and a huge burden had been lifted off the team.

Lewes: Winterton, Brinkhurst, Redwood, Appiah (Gayler 80), Freeman, Malins, Muggeridge, Cotton, Landais (McCreadie 21), Fraser, Ogedi-Uzokwe

Unused subs: Breach, Strong, Stroomberg

Booked: Appiah

Attendance: 449


Farnborough Preview

It’s certainly been a busy week at The Pan with some new faces joining Darren’s squad.  Winger Josh Jones has played for Darren before at Whitehawk and comes into the squad after a short period out of the game after leaving Burgess Hill Town earlier in the season.  Profilic County League striker George Landais has also joined, making the short journey along the A27 from Littlehampton Town.  Both are likely to feature in the squad for the game.  Leaving the Pan is Richard Pacquette who has returned to parent club, Hampton & Richmond Borough.  Darren has almost a full squad to choose from tomorrow with the main injury worry around Lee Carey who was forced off last week against Leiston, whilst James Hammond is suspended after his red card at East Thurrock United two weeks ago.

This will be our third meeting against Farnborough this season, having shared 11 goals in the two games so far.  Alas, 8 of those have been scored by our visitors.  Nobody could have legislated for the match-turning decision to send off keeper Will Godmon in the league match back in August with the score at 1-0.  With no substitute keeper on the bench, George Brown did his best but in any game, you are going to concede goals when you do not have a proper keeper between the sticks.  The League Cup affair back in October was a different affair as Steve Eke and Jay Lovett took a very young side to a very wet Cherrywood Road and gave a great account of themselves in the 3-2 defeat against a strong Farnborough side with our two goals coming from Robin Deen.

Farnborough’s last six matches have seen two wins, a draw and three defeats including their last run out at Hendon on Monday night.  Top scorers Bobbie Dale and Harry Williams have returned to Cheltenham Town after their initial spell on loan at the start of the season although Estonian Bogdan Vastsuk, on loan from Reading, has been among the goals recently.  Their away record in the league this season should give us some confidence of that elusive first win having only picked up 1 point from their 11 games on the road.  Farnborough have scored an average of 1.09 goals on the road, the same as Lewes’s home record.  The stats say a scoring draw, the heart says our first home win of the season.

Kick off at The Pan tomorrow is 3pm.  Admission is £11 for Adults, £6 for Concessions and Kids go Free thanks to the sponsorship from Specsavers.

Young Rooks bow out of League Cup

Lewes bowed out of the Ryman League Cup at a sodden Farnborough despite a battling second half performance reports Stuart Fuller.

It was a sixth consecutive single goal defeat in a very wet Hampshire last night as a young Rooks side came back from 2-0 down at half-time to almost snatch a last-gasp draw.  Caretaker Managers Jay Lovett and Steve Eke rested five of the squad from Saturday’s game at Needham Market, bringing Kalvin Crooks, Iuen Strong and Charlie Coppola for their first team debuts against a much physically stronger Farnborough.  With Tzanev’s loan spell from Brentford coming to an end, Dan Hutchins returned to the side and was in impressive form in the opening period, making excellent saves from Bobbie Dale and Harry Williams.  Whilst the rain was relentless, the greasy surface actually suited the Lewes quick passing game with Conlon and Appiah providing the beauty and brawn in the centre of the park.

Unfortunately it was a defensive lapse that saw Dale give Farnborough the lead in the 31st minute, dancing round Crooks before smashing the ball home.  Dale had a second on the stroke of half-time when Appiah lost possession near the half way line and Dale was able to run unchecked  into the area and slot home past Hutchins.

Half time saw Welch withdrawn after picking up a first half knock, replaced by Jordan Badger.  The Rooks started very positively with Marsh-Brown and Wilson venturing further forward as Jovett and Eke went for broke.  Their ambition paid off when Robin Deen’s shot in the 54th minute took a deflection and sailed over the head of the Farnborough keeper’s head to reduce the arrears to 2-1.

The next twenty minutes saw the ball go from end to end with both sides having chances.  Lewes threw on Ian Robinson for his debut, replacing Ronnie Conlon but found themselves 3-1 down soon after as Farnborough found space behind Marsh-Brown and the ball into the six yard box was met by the on-rushing Lewis Collins.

The goal breathed some fresh life into Lewes and the pushed forward, forcing a number of corners.  With 90 seconds left on the clock, a cross into the box fell nicely for Deen who flicked the ball past the defender and into the net off the post to make it 3-2.

The drama wasn’t over as with seconds left in injury time, Marsh-Brown’s free-kick from within his own half was bizarrely left by defenders and forwards alike and only a superb late reaction save by Tupper at the foot of his post kept the ball out and the game going to penalties.

Whilst history will simply show this as a defeat, the performance from the very young side was very encouraging indeed.  The squad now have a 12 day break before they are next in action away at Grays Athletic on Saturday 17th October 2015.

Finally, a special thanks to Alec Foorde who made the long journey to provide support to the team last night, keeping the Rooks end up on his own.

Farnborough: Tupper, Ethelston, Dynan, Ryan, Broadbent (Cole), Sanders, Barton, Bevans, Dale (Collins), Williams (Chambers), Wright

Subs not used: Joseph-Whittingham, Sims

Lewes: Hutchins, Wilson, Marsh-Brown, Appiah (Logan), Crooks, Welch (Badger), Conlon (Robinson), Strong, Crabb, Deen, Coppola

Subs not used: Stroomberg, Levy

Booked: Appiah, Logan

Attendance: 91


Farnborough League Cup Preview

After a run of four consecutive league defeats, the Rooks travel to Hampshire on Monday night for the Robert Dyas Cup 1st Round tie with Farnborough.  This is the final tie of the round, with the game originally scheduled to take place in early August.  The winner will take on Three Bridges in the next round.

This will be the Rooks second visit to Cherrywood Road this season, after the 5-1 defeat back in August.  Who knows what would have happened if the referee would have not sent keeper Will Godmon off with the score at 1-0?  With no substitute keeper on the bench, George Brown went in goal but was powerless to save the resulting penalty or the three other efforts.  The fact the FA agreed with Lewes’s appeal meant nothing in the end as the damage had been done.

Since then both sides form have seen them as fixtures in the bottom four of the Ryman Premier League.  Farnborough have taken just three more points, a home win against Bognor Regis Town last Monday whilst The Rooks have taken four more points.  But for one evening both sides can put their poor league form to one side and concentrate on the League Cup.

Our record in the competition hasn’t been great to say the league.  Last season we exited in the 1st round, losing 1-0 at home to Peacehaven & Telscombe.  Two seasons ago we actually made it to the 4th Round, beating Corinthian Casuals and Redhill along the way, before we lost to Burgess Hill Town.  That’s the best run we’ve had in the competition since we came back down to the Ryman Premier League.

With Farnborough currently evaluating their squad, with a number of players potentially being moved out, it will almost certainly be an unfamiliar line-up for the game, whilst Caretaker Managers Steve Eke, Jay Lovett and Martin Hinshelwood may use the game as an opportunity to try out a few of the DS squad players.  Kick off is 7:45pm.  Admission is £8 for Adults, £6 for Concessions and Under16’s are admitted for £1.  Should the game be level at 90 minutes, the game will go straight to penalties.

Farnborough Preview

So the honour to kick off the new season for Farnborough falls to The Rooks.  The Ryman League’s ruling on Thursday cleared the way for the Cherries to start their season some five games behind everyone else and whilst the sanctions handed down by the league could have far reaching consequences come the end of the season, for the here and now, Farnborough and their fans will be simply glad to be able to play competitive fixtures.  Obviously they will have an advantage of being able to have watched how we are set up and played in the opening three weeks of the season, whilst we haven’t been afforded the same luxury so their line up is likely to be a mystery to us.

The club have kept themselves busy, playing friendlies against willing opponents such as their 1-1 draw this week away to a Wealdstone XI.  Quite what team takes the field on Saturday at Rushmoor Stadium – their website lists fourteen players although now that their fate has been decided, they may bring in a number of last minute additions.

Our last game against Farnborough was a pre-season friendly back in August 2012 when the Rooks won 4-2.  With just two points taken from our opening five games what we would give for a result like that on Saturday.  The Rooks certainly battled hard on Wednesday night against Hampton & Richmond Borough and Steve Brown will be looking to build on that against the unknown threat of Farnborough on Saturday.  James Fraser and Jimmy Muitt are both out, whilst George Brown may have shaken off his achilles injury to return to the squad.