Lewes moved into the play-off spots for the first time since the opening day with a win over Herne Bay despite missing a number of key players, reports Stuart Fuller.
After Tuesday’s win at Herne Bay, Darren was forced to reshuffle his starting XI with an injury to Matthew George, whilst Ronnie Conlon’s recent chest infection got the better of him with Jack Dixon replacing him. Herne Bay were able to bring back in first choice keeper Jack Delo who was injured in the warm up on Tuesday night.
The bumper Rooks crowd didn’t have to wait too long for the opening goal when James Hammond curled in a beautiful free-kick in from 25 yards after six minutes. Just a few minutes later Stephen Okoh, fresh from his hatrick on Tuesday raced clear of the last defender and lobbed the keeper but his effort just bounced wide of the post.
Lewes dominated the first half with Delo making a fine stop from Egli Kaja, playing his last game on loan before returning to AFC Wimbledon and then in the dying seconds of the half from a superb Jack Dixon strike. At the other end Adria Munoz-Fernandez was a virtual spectator for the opening twenty minutes before being alert to stop Pulman equalising.
However, the visitors were level within three minutes of the restart as Jack Dixon was adjudged to have brought down Lovell in the area. After his effort was superbly saved on Tuesday night, Pulman relinquished spot kick duty to Danny Walder who narrowly beat Adria to level the scores.
Lewes make hard work of the next twenty minutes, failing to find a way through the resolute Herne Bay defence until Egli Kaja roasted his marker in the 68th minute, crossed low, causing all sorts of problems for the defenders and giving Hammond the easiest job to slot home at the far post for his second of the afternoon.
The visitors threw on the pacy duo of Hassan and Phillip but both Lewes full-backs stuck to their tasks and ensured that any potential dangers were quickly snuffed out whilst at the other end, Stephen Okoh was withdrawn in favour of Jonté Smith as Lewes went in search of a third.
They finally got the goal the performance deserved when Egli Kaja beat the defender in the corner, accelerated into the area and was hauled down, giving the referee no option but to point to the spot. Jack Dixon stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way to make the final score 3-1 to the Rooks.
Darren was understandably pleased with the performance and the three points.
Next up for The Rooks is an away trip to the seaside next Saturday when they travel to Ramsgate, kick off 3pm.
Lewes: Munoz-Fernandez, Brinkhurst, Stewart-Hunter, Harrington, Cotton, Malins, Kaja, Dixon, Okoh (Smith – 64 mins), Hammond (Dramis – 86 mins), Coppola (Sow – 83 mins)
Subs not used: Bown, Whitmore
Booked: Harrington, Dixon
Herne Bay: Delo, Turner, Quinn, Elliott (Nelder – 42 mins), Graham, Sanders (Phillip – 71 mins), Walder, Williams, Pulman (Hassan – 62 mins), Lovell, Woollcott
Subs not used: Turner, Wood
Booked: Nelder, Quinn
Referee: Simon Finnigan