Despite a solid performance, Lewes ended up on the end of a 2-0 defeat against local rivals Eastbourne Borough, reports Stuart Fuller.
Darren was able to welcome back Steve Brinkhurst after his delayed start to pre-season due to injury although was still without Jamie Brotherton, Ronnie Conlon and George Landais, and started with an attacking line-up with Jones and Coppola providing the width for Dan Perry and Lloyd Dawes.
it took the Rooks a while to get used to the new 3G surface laid this summer at Priory Lane, with Winterton the busier of the two keepers in the early exchanges. Boro’ were denied an opening goal by the cross bar in the twentieth minute but that spurred the Rooks into action. Josh Jones and Charlie Coppola began to stretch the Eastbourne full-backs, getting in behind them but failing to find a Lewes shirt in the penalty box.
There was concern from the bench when Lloyd Cotton limped off after 25 minutes after a heavy challenge, replaced by a trialist. The action went from end to end with Winterton keeping out the home side whilst Perry and Dawes being denied by last-gasp challenges.
The second half started as the first half ended with both teams in attack mode. The Rooks should have had a penalty after ten minutes of the second period when the Boro’ keeper pushed substitute Laing to the floor as a corner was delivered.
Laing came the closest to breaking the deadlock when his close-range effort was superbly saved by Carey, then Lloyd Dawes danced through a number of tackles before his cross was intercepted with Laing about to pounce. Sixty seconds Eastbourne were ahead.
Winterton did well to get down to a powerful shot that skimmed across the artificial surface but could only parry the ball into the path of Boro’ sub (another Trialist) who tapped into an empty net on 72 minutes. Ten minutes later a rare Coppola mis-placed pass went to Eastbourne’s Player of the Season last year, Nathanial Pinney who curled the ball home from the edge of the box to make it 2-0.
The raft of late substitutions upset the flow of the game although Lewes continued to press for a goal with Lloyd Dawes frustrated by the solid Boro’ centre-back pairing. Despite this late flurry, Lewes ended up on the losing side.
Boss Darren Freeman was left frustrated with the performance, feeling that the Rooks should have got something out of the game. His thoughts can be heard here.
Lewes: Winterton (Stroomberg), Brinkhurst (Dramis), Gore, Hammond (A Trialist), Freeman, Vickers (Badger), Coppola (B Trialist), Cotton (C Trialist), Perry (Laing), Dawes, Jones (Greenfield)