Lewes got back to winning ways with a comfortable victory over East Grinstead Town at The Pan, reports Stuart Fuller.
After the disappointing defeat away at Godalming Town last Saturday, Darren made two changes to the side, welcoming back Charlie Coppola from injury to replace Stephen Okoh, who picked up a knock himself last week whilst Wilfried Grimaud was given his first start since joining the club last month, replacing James Hammond, who dropped to the bench.
The Rooks started nervously, as if the defeat last week was still weighing on their minds and it was the visitors who had the better of the opening exchanges, and indeed should have taken the lead on the 15 minute mark when Elliot’s shot beat Winterton but was cleared off the line in error by Charlie Harris.
That was probably the warning that the Rooks needed and they started to put pressure on the Wasps goal with Freeman and Smith both forcing Haigh in the East Grinstead Town goal into action. However, it took a slice of luck for the Rooks to open the scoring in the 28th minute. A Dixon through-ball looked to be covered by the centre-back but as he turned the ball hit his heel and rebounded into the path of Jonté Smith and he slid the ball under the advancing keeper. The Bermudan international should have doubled his tally a few minutes later when he put the ball narrowly wide after again being gifted an opportunity by the generous visiting defence.
The second half started with a bang for The Rooks as Jonté Smith got his second goal within three minutes, controlling the ball on the edge of the box, beating a defender and unleashing a superb shot that whilst the keeper got a hand to, couldn’t keep out. Just three minutes later Lewes had their third when Matt George turned the full-back inside out, gained a bit of luck with a deflection off his legs then hit a shot low into the far corner for his first ever goal in a Lewes shirt, and how deserved it was too.
With the game won, Darren made a number of substitutions, mindful of Monday’s game at South Park. It always seemed to be a case of when, not if, there would be a fourth goal although chances went begging thanks to some excellent goal-keeping as well as some misplaced final balls.
With just three minutes of the ninety left, Wilfried Grimaud chased a back pass to the keeper and stretched to get his foot near the ball. The keeper made his first mistake of the afternoon, underestimating Grimaud’s speed and his clearance was charged down and the ball rolled into the net.
The goal capped off a great performance by the Rooks and one that once again made the situation at the top very interesting indeed. Understandably, Darren was in more of an upbeat mood after the game when he spoke to Barry.
We will all be hoping it is fourth time lucky when we travel to South Park on Monday, kick off 7:45pm, especially with a chance to finally break back into the Play-off spots before we have a small matter of third-placed Greenwich Borough away next Saturday.
Lewes: Winterton, Brinkhurst, George, Harrington, Freeman, Malins, Grimaud, Sow (Conlon – 72 mins), Smith (Bown – 65 mins), Dixon, Coppola (Brotherton – 73 mins)
Subs not used: Cotton, Hammond
East Grinstead Town: Haigh, Robinson (Wallis – 65 mins), Cadman, Thomas (Hutchinson – 75 mins), Cooney, Mcintyre, Hogan, Hoare (Jay Kwayie – 26 mins), Harris, Elliot, Gregory
Subs not used: Gaggin, Taylor
Booked: Hoare, Harris
Referee: Alex Fisher