Lewes pulled out their best performance of the season to beat an in-form Cray Wanderers team in a highly entertaining game on a heavy pitch and move into the Play-off spots, reports Stuart Fuller.
Darren was able to welcome back Lloyd Harrington from suspension and any selection headaches he had were made easier with Alex Malins being unavailable through injury, meaning that Lloyd Cotton once again slotted into the back four.
The Rooks started strongly and had the lead after just four minutes when a superb ball behind the full-back from Lloyd Harrington saw Stephen Okoh run onto it and slot home. Lewes didn’t let up on the pressure, with the midfield trio of Dixon, Hammond and Harrington revelling in the heavy conditions. Five minutes later and The Rooks should have been two up as Jonté Smith saw his shot blocked twice by some desperate defending. Smith and Okoh both saw shots hit the side netting whilst a Brinkhurst/Coppola overlap saw the ball strike a Cray defender, oblivious to what was happening around him. Fortunately, at the other end, Chris Winterton was alive to any danger and was twice called into making smart saves in the last ten minutes of the half.
Lewes showed no sign of letting up with their attacking play in the second period, with Charlie Coppola seeing more of the ball, whilst the home side, on the end of a half-time rocket, started to press forward. What was obvious was that there would be more goals, and that’s certainly what we got, starting with an excellent strike from Lloyd Harrington on the hour mark, when the Cray defenders parted for him to take his time and shoot home from the edge of the area.
The goal eased some of the nerves of the 50 or so Rooks fans but that feeling didn’t last as Luke Medley scored a beauty from distance, curling the ball over and around Chris Winterton. Lewes didn’t give up though and continued to press for a third goal, with almost every player in the side having a chance to score. It was left to James Hammond to wrap up the points though with ten minutes to go, when his shot from the edge of the box found the net via the post after Charlie Coppola and Jonté Smith had their efforts blocked.
With five minutes to go Darren was forced into a substitution when Chris Winterton accidently punched Jonté Smith as he came for a ball, which gave George Landais the opportunity to make his first team return for the first time in over 14 months.
This was an impressive performance from 1 to 11 from the Rooks, against a team bang in form and saw the Rooks rise to their highest position so far of the season. Attentions now turn to Wednesday’s trip to South Park and next week’s visit of league leaders, Tooting & Mitcham United.
Cray Wanderers: Blue, Mundele, Basey, Leader, McKinlay, Dawson, Roberts (Prescott – 67 mins), Taiwo, Medley, Bremmer, Osibudo (Luchford – 70 mins)
Subs not used: Scott, Lorraine, Law
Lewes: Winterton, Brinkhurst, George, Harrington (Sow – 85 mins), Freeman, Cotton, Okoh, Dixon, Smith (Landais – 85 mins), Hammond, Coppola (Kealy – 90 mins)
Subs not used: Munoz-Fernandez, Conlon