Lewes 2 Sittingbourne 2

Lewes 2 - 2 Sittingbourne
03 Dec 2016 - 15:00The Dripping Pan

Late goals from Jack Dixon and Jonte Smith saw Lewes come back from two goals down and salvage a point at the Pan against a well-organised Sittingbourne side reports Tom Harper.

Darren Freeman made three changes to the side that beat Guernsey 4-2 in their previous game, with Ronnie Conlon, Stephen Okoh and Jonte Smith replacing Lloyd Cotton, Jamie Brotherton and Duncan Culley in the starting line-up.

The Rooks made a bright start and could have taken the lead inside the first minute, as Okoh went on a purposeful run that took him past several Sittingbourne defenders before shooting just wide from the edge of the area.

Sittingbourne made the most of this let-off by taking the lead after three minutes through Joe Loft, who beat Chris Winterton with a low shot through a crowd of players from the edge of the area after the Lewes defence had been unable to clear a long throw.

The Rooks enjoyed plenty of possession for the remainder of the half, but found it difficult to create chances against a Sittingbourne side who had won their previous four league games.

The closest Lewes came to equalising before the break saw a covering defender just beat Charlie Coppola to a low Jack Dixon cross at the near post at the end of an incisive counter-attack.

Lewes continued to control possession at the start of the second half, with Lloyd Harrington sending a header straight at Simon Overland in the Sittingbourne goal after good play down the left by Matthew George.

The Rooks should have equalised just after the hour mark through Stacey Freeman, who could only guide a free header from a Coppola free-kick wide.

Sittingbourne capitalised on this by doubling their lead after 77 minutes, with Jordan Gallacher finding space in the penalty area and finishing across Winterton and into the bottom corner after good build-up play down the left.

At this stage, it would have been easy for the Lewes players to lose confidence and struggle to find a way back into game during the closing stages.

However, there is plenty of character in the side and they were handed a chance to pull a goal back just three minutes later after Smith was fouled in the penalty area.

The penalty was converted by Dixon to bring the Rooks back into the game with ten minutes remaining.

Lewes found an equaliser after 84 minutes through Smith, who sent a close-range header past Overland and into the back of the net to send the Rooks fans into raptures after a long free-kick from Winterton had gone over the Sittingbourne defence.

The visitors looked to regain the lead in the closing stages and should have won the game in stoppage time, as substitute Connor Wilkins made space for himself just inside the area but lost his footing and sliced his effort comfortably wide when he should have at least hit the target.

Lewes would have been hoping for a win at the start of the day, but will be the happier side after scoring two goals in the final 13 minutes to earn a point against an in-form Sittingbourne team who had proven tough to break down throughout the game.

Lewes: Winterton, Brinkhurst, George, Harrington, Freeman, Hammond, Okoh (Kealy 83), Conlon (Uade 75), Smith, Dixon, Coppola.

Unused Subs: Sow, Whitmore, Stewart-Hunter.

Booked: Freeman, Harrington, Smith.

Sittingbourne: Overland, Welch, Carlse, Rumbol, Richardson, Loft, Wright, Lee, O’Connor (Wilkins 80), Gundry (Embery 60), Gallacher (Brunt 85).

Unused Subs: Tanner, Wisson.

Booked: Gundry.

Referee: Matthew Lee

Attendance: 485