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Dorking Wanderers 2 Lewes 1

Dorking Wanderers 2 - 1 Lewes
28 Jan 2017 - 15:00Westhumble Playing Fields

A late goal from Matthew Briggs saw Lewes suffer a harsh defeat at title-chasing Dorking Wanderers in an entertaining game, reports Tom Harper.

Darren Freeman made three changes to the side that had drawn 1-1 at Ramsgate in their previous game, with Chris Winterton, Matthew George and Stacey Freeman replacing Adria Munoz-Fernandez, Dean Stewart-Hunter and Charlie Coppola in the starting line-up.

These changes saw George return at left-back after missing the last two games through injury, while Freeman was played in a holding midfield role just in front of the central defensive pairing of Lloyd Cotton and Alex Malins.

The opening stages saw few chances of note, despite both sides attempting to play attacking football.

Winterton was the first goalkeeper to be forced into action though, as he made a smart save to deny Briggs after a corner had only been cleared as far as the edge of the area, before making an even better stop to keep out a powerful Briggs effort at his near post after the impressive winger had got in behind the Lewes defence.

The Rooks were seeing plenty of the ball and were handed an excellent chance to take the lead after 27 minutes, as George was tripped by Dorking goalkeeper Slavomir Huk after an excellent run into the penalty area.

Dixon stepped up and sent Huk the wrong way from the spot to give Lewes the lead.

Their lead only lasted four minutes though, as James McShane collected a low cross from Rob Sheridan and sent a low effort past Winterton and into the back of the net to level the scores.

Lewes thought they had regained their lead minutes later, but saw Jonte Smith ruled offside as he converted a Stephen Okoh cross at the far post from close range.

The Rooks finished the half on the front foot, with Dixon forcing Huk into two good saves in quick succession as they enjoyed arguably their best spell of the game.

Dorking had the first opportunity of the second half, seeing Guiseppe Sole hit the bar with a curling effort from the edge of the area.

Lewes soon regained control of the game though, with Smith seeing a close-range effort blocked after some hesitant defending from the hosts.

Smith went close again soon after, sending a glancing header from a James Hammond cross just wide of the near post, before Cotton headed just over the bar from a Dixon corner.

The Rooks then had an even better opportunity to take the lead through Okoh, who saw a close-range effort well saved by Huk.

The hosts gradually came into the game as the half progressed, with Briggs seeing a powerful effort well saved by Winterton at the end of a quick counter-attack, before McShane sent a curling effort from the edge of the area just wide.

Lewes continued to look dangerous every time they went forward however, with Okoh once again being denied by Huk in the Dorking goal after some good football in midfield.

The game had become end-to-end, and the hosts nearly took the lead with just over ten minutes remaining, as Sole saw a deflected effort clawed off the line by Winterton, who appeared to lose his footing as he was back-pedalling to make the save.

Injuries to George and Smith saw the Rooks forced into two substitutions in the closing stages, but they continued to look capable of scoring a winner and seemed set to leave Surrey with at least a point to show for their efforts.

However, Dorking took the lead in the final minute of normal time, as Briggs capitalised on a sliced clearance from Steve Brinkhurst to run through and finish past Winterton to secure three points for the hosts.

This was an incredibly harsh defeat for the Rooks, who arguably created enough chances to win the game and deserved at least a point after an impressive team performance.

Lewes will hope to put this result behind them when they host Chipstead next Saturday, kick-off at 3pm.

Dorking Wanderers: Huk, Sheridan, Boulter, Hamlin, Beckles, Oakes, Beecroft (Tolfrey 58), Briggs, Sole (Mahoney 77), Summerfield (Gunner 58), McShane.

Unused Subs: Chendlik, Beard.

Booked: Huk, McShane.

Lewes: Winterton, Brinkhurst, George (Perry 77), Freeman (Brotherton 90), Cotton, Malins, Okoh, Dixon, Smith (Bown 83), Hammond, Conlon.

Unused Subs: Sow, Munoz-Fernandez.

Booked: Winterton, Perry.

Attendance: 248