Lewes will need to come through a tricky Tuesday night in Tilbury if they’re to progress in the FA Trophy, after a 1-1 draw at the Dripping Pan, writes Barry Collins.
Darren Freeman shuffled his forward line for the preliminary round tie, with Duncan Culley – whose loan from Whitehawk has been extended for another month – pushed up front and Jamie Brotherton moving out to the left wing, in place of Arinse Uade.
The first half was stodgy fair, with both teams relinquishing possession cheaply and local kids feasting on the number of balls being hoofed out of the ground. The closest Lewes came to making the breakthrough was a Jamie Brotherton free-kick on the very edge of the box. With the wall seemingly only retreating ten inches instead of yards, Brotherton still managed to get enough elevation to beat the jumping defenders, but the ball flashed over the crossbar.
The half-time replacement of James Hammond for Lloyd Cotton added more bite and urgency to midfield, and Lewes started the second half more brightly than the first. However, a sloppy pass from Steve Brinkhurst handed the visitors an open invite to counter, and they didn’t need asking twice. Kurt Smith slipped the ball to Dwade James and the Essex boys took a 53rd minute lead.
Lewes responded as they should, immediately piling pressure on the Tilbury goal. A couple of half-chances passed before Jamie Brotherton was given a shooting opportunity on the left-hand side of the box. The shot was blocked by the left paw of Tilbury right-back Connor Mead and the referee duly awarded a penalty, although not even as much as yellow card for what he must have interpreted as a deliberate handball thwarting a goalbound effort.
Brotherton tickled the base of the left-hand post with a perfectly placed penalty and Lewes were level, having spent only five minutes behind.
The game quickly morphed into an end-to-end affair, with Winterton called on to make a fabulous one-on-one save as the visitors racked up a number of late-game chances. Lewes too had chances to settle the tie, with Jack Dixon blasting a long-range drive just over the bar and substitute Alex Laing getting himself tied in knots after being put clean through by a lovely ball from fellow sub Ronnie Conlon.
And so the Rooks will make the journey north on Tuesday night for the replay, with Wednesday’s match against Dorking Wanderers now added to the club sec’s list of ‘fixtures to rearrange’.
Lewes: Winterton, Brinkhurst, Freeman, Vickers, George, Coppola, Hammond (Cotton, 46), Harrington, Dixon (Laing, 90), Brotherton (Conlon, 74), Culley.
Unused subs: Covolan, Uade
Tilbury: Butcher, Mead, Cook, Peddie, Beniot, Singh, Aromolaran (Age, 79), Carlile, Richmond, James (Odedoyin, 79), Smith
Unused subs: Smith, Conway, Jaggs