Darren Freeman’s new look Rooks squad recorded their first Pre-Season victory as they comfortably beat Southern Combination Premier League side Hassocks on Tuesday night, reports Stuart Fuller.
Freeman started with a strong side, with the impressive A Trialist once again starting at right-back and Lloyd Dawes, Dan Perry and Josh Jones playing as the attacking three, anchored by the trio of James Hammond, Lloyd Dawes and Tom Vickers in midfield.
On the hottest day of the year so far, Lewes turned the heat up on the Hassocks defence from the first minute and always looked as if they would be the team to take the lead. The link up play between the forward three caused the Hassocks back four serious problems, whilst Cotton and Vickers provided the steel in midfield to break any attacks up from the home side. The first clear chance came from a Jones corner in the 5th minute which was met by Alex Malins but his header flashed just wide.
Ten minutes later A Trilaist danced through the Hassocks defence and hit his shot against the foot of the post. Dawes was on hand to tap home but he was denied by the lineman’s flag. However, The Rooks fans didn’t have to wait too long before they saw a goal. A smart flick into the area for Hammond to run onto was stopped by a late Hassocks tackle and the referee pointed to the spot. Dan Perry stepped up and slotted the ball home.
At the other end Hassocks created a couple of chances themselves but found Winterton alert, making a smart save in the 25th minute. Two minutes later though it was 2-0 as Jones jinked his way down the line and crossed superbly for Perry to head home from close range.
Number three came just before half-time as Perry completed his perfect hatrick with a left-footed shot after more great approach work.
Freeman introduced Alex Laing at half-time for Lloyd Dawes who had run himself into the ground, whilst Charlie Coppola came on for Josh Jones, giving the Hassocks defence no let up. Lloyd Cotton claimed the fourth on the hour as a shot across a crowded penalty area appeared to be touched in by the Lewes midfielder.
The rest of the half saw a number of substitutions by both sides with appearances from a couple of Trialists, Ronnie Conlon, Richard Greenfield and Nathan Stroomberg. Laing grabbed a late double, the final one being a smart finish after outwitting the keeper who had rushed out of his area.
There was still time for Stroomberg to show his potential with two great late saves that denied Hassocks a goal that they probably deserved.
It was a good run out for the squad who are gelling with every game and they will look to build on this when they travel to Lancing on Saturday, kick off 3pm.
You can hear Darren’s thoughts here.
Lewes: Winterton, A Trialist, Gore, Hammond, Freeman, Malins, Jones, Cotton, Dawes, Perry, Vickers
Subs: B Trialist, C Trialist, Badger, Greenfield, Laing, Conlon, Coppola, Stroomberg