Lewes 1 Tooting and Mitcham United 5

Lewes 1 - 5 Tooting & Mitcham Utd
18 Feb 2017 - 15:00The Dripping Pan

A clinical display from top of the table Tooting & Mitcham United saw Lewes suffer a heavy defeat in front of their biggest crowd of the season at the Pan reports Tom Harper.

Darren Freeman named an unchanged side after the impressive win at Cray Wanderers last weekend, and included new signing Wilfred Grimaud on the bench.

Lewes made a bright start and could have taken the lead inside the first two minutes, as Charlie Coppola found Jonte Smith in space in the penalty area, only for the striker to see his initial strike and then his effort on the rebound saved by Kyle Merson in the Tooting goal.

The Rooks continued to see plenty of the ball early on, and saw Coppola head a Smith cross over after good build-up play down the left.

Tooting gradually grew into the game though, with Claudio Hoban drawing a smart save from Chris Winterton with an effort from a tight angle after latching onto a Chace O’Neill through-ball.

The visitors took the lead after 26 minutes through O’Neill, who cut inside from the right and saw his long-range effort loop over Winterton and into the top corner.

Their lead was doubled in bizarre circumstances nine minutes later, as Winterton called for the ball as he looked to claim a cross from the right, with Lloyd Harrington ducking to get out of the goalkeeper’s way, only for the ball to hit him on the back and end up in the back of the net.

Lewes had the first chance of the second half, with Smith seeing a close-range effort saved by Merson.

Tooting continued to look dangerous whenever they went forward, and saw Michael Dixon denied by Winterton after he latched onto a Billy Dunn through-ball.

The visitors went further ahead on the hour, as Stacey Freeman fouled Dixon in the penalty area. Former Lewes player Jordan Wilson sent Winterton the wrong way from the spot to make it 3-0 and all but secure the three points for the league leaders.

Lewes tried to find a way back into the game, but any attempted attacks were comfortably dealt with by the visitor’s well-organised back four.

Tooting increased their lead further with ten minutes remaining, as substitute Alexander Cunningham capitalised on hesitant defending from Freeman to run through and finish past Winterton from close range.

The day went from bad to worse for Lewes four minutes later, as Lloyd Cotton was shown a straight red card for bringing down Dixon in the penalty area as the striker looked to get his shot away with only Winterton to beat.

Dunn took the penalty, and chipped the ball down the middle to make it 5-0 to the visitors.

The Rooks were able to score a consolation in injury time, as Stephen Okoh beat several Tooting defenders before rolling the ball under Merson and into the back of the net.

This was a disappointing defeat for Lewes, who never really looked like getting back into the game in the second half after being slightly unlucky to be 2-0 down at half-time.

The Rooks will hope to put this result behind them when they host second-place Dorking Wanderers on Wednesday, kick-off at 7.45pm.

Lewes: Winterton, Brinkhurst, George, Harrington (Grimaud 66), Freeman, Cotton, Okoh, Dixon, Smith (Bown 81), Hammond (Sow 73), Coppola.

Unused Subs: Munoz-Fernandez, Reed.

Booked: Okoh.

Sent off: Cotton.

Tooting & Mitcham United: Merson, Robinson, Adebowale (Cunningham 76), Maclaren (Wedgeworth 54), Patterson-Bohner, Rowe, Wilson, O’Neill (Alimi 66), Dixon, Dunn, Hoban.

Unused Subs: Bennett, Mazzone

Booked: Maclaren, Adebowale, Patterson-Bohner, Alimi.

Referee: Jacob Miles

Attendance: 769