The Rooks suffered their third consecutive Ryman League South defeat against a strong and organised Carshalton Athletic team, reports Stuart Fuller.
Manager Darren Freeman gave a debut to left-bank Arinse Uade, signed this week after periods at Arsenal and Norwich City, whilst Jack Dixon returned to the starting eleven after last week’s heavy defeat against Faversham Town last week.
Lewes got off to a poor start when Ricky Korboa was given far too much space in the area and slotted the ball home. The Rooks tried to immediately bounce back, trying to play Duncan Culley in behind the Carshalton back line but the striker pulled up with a groin strain and had to be replaced by Jamie Brotherton.
Carshalton continued to dominate the first half and would have added to their lead if it wasn’t for a smart block by Alex Malins from a Miller strike, whilst Winterton got down low to palm away a Bradford effort.
With five minutes left in the half Brotherton was brought down on the edge of the area. On first glance it appeared the offence took place inside the box but with the referee and linesman unsure, a free-kick was awarded instead. Whilst the free-kick came to nothing, Brotherton had the best chance to equalise in the first period when he found himself through on goal but his lobbed effort was beaten down by Carshalton keeper Kozakis.
A half-time re-organisation saw the Rooks start the second period competing more in the middle of the park and starting to create some openings down the flanks. However, Kozakis still hadn’t really been tested until The Rooks were awarded in the 66th minute after Laing won the ball on the right hand side, played in Jamie Brotherton and he was brought down from behind. Bortherton got up and smashed home the penalty to bring Lewes level.
The goal lifted the spirits on and off the pitch and The Rooks enjoyed their best spell of the game as they sensed that all three points were up for grabs. However, ten minutes after the goal Carshalton were ahead again when a run into the box was blocked but the ball rebounded off a Lewes foot and found its way to Bradford on the left hand side who had time to pick his spot past Winterton.
Despite some late pressure, The Rooks were held at bay by the organised Carshalton defence and the full-time whistle brought an almost resigned inevitability from the fans.
Lewes: Winterton, Brinkhurst, Uade, Dixon, Freeman, Malins, Hammond (McCreadie – 72 mins), Cotton, Culley (Brotherton – 10 mins), Laing, Conlon (Coppola – 66 mins)
Subs not used: George, Dramis
Booked: Dixon, Cotton, Brotherton
Carshalton Athletic: Kozakis, Price, Hamilton-Downes, Adeniyi, King, Morath-Gibbs, Bradford, Kaba, Miller, O’Toole, Korba
Subs not used: Males, Ismail, Aikhionbare, Murphy-McVey