The Rooks suffered their first League defeat in over two months, as they went down heavily at Hythe.
Darren Freeman’s side was beset with injuries, with captain Stacey Freeman, Jamie Brotherton, Lloyd Cotton and Alex Malins all missing. Their cause was further hindered when Jack Dixon was harshly sent off just before half-time.
Despite the makeshift defence, the Rooks started the brighter of the two sides. A burst down the left from Culley saw a ball beautifully squared for Okoh, but the Hythe defender just got a toe to the shot and it skimmed over the bar. Lewes went even closer moments later, after Culley once again broke free down the left and found his man in the middle. Dixon struck the shot firmly, but keeper Joe Mant made a tremendous reflex save.
Hythe’s first goal, after 20 minutes, was an early Christmas present. Ryan Johnson was left completely unmarked as a corner was swung in from the right, and his firm header gave Winterton no chance.
While Lewes were handing out presents, the referee was handing out cards – Dixon, Uade and Culley were all booked for seemingly innocous offences. Before the half was out, Dixon had picked up a second caution. Despite making little or no contact with the Hythe right-back, the defender went down like he was auditioning for the remake of Platoon. The ref bought the theatrics, and Lewes were reduced to ten. Moments later, they were even further in arreas. Once again a corner wasn’t properly cleared, and Alfie May rifled in the first of his hat-trick.
Take nothing away from Hythe – despite Lewes’s injury and early bath problems, Hythe were sensational, none more so than May, who made it 3-0 shortly after half-time, slotting a wonderful low drive past Winterton. The fourth was his simplest goal of the night, as he tapped in a cross from the right.
With only an hour gone, the travelling Rooks fans were praying for fog to draw an end to proceedings. At least the goals dried up, and Lewes had several decent chances of their own in the closing stages, none more so than a Gus Sow shot that had beaten the keeper but struck Stephen Okoh on the line. One of those nights…
Lewes: Winterton, Brinkhurst, George, Harrington, Uade, Hammond, Okoh (Kealy, 76), Conlon (Sow, 60), Culley (Smith, 49), Dixon, Coppola.