A disappointing performance saw Lewes suffer their first defeat of the season against a well-organised Walton Casuals side at the Pan reports Tom Harper.
Darren Freeman made two changes to the side that had won 2-1 at Chipstead on the opening day of the season, with Tom Vickers and the returning Jack Dixon replacing Alieu Njie and Lloyd Dawes in the starting line-up. These changes saw Vickers line up alongside captain Lloyd Cotton at the heart of the defence in a makeshift back four, with Steve Brinkhurst returning to his normal position at right-back after playing in the middle at Chipstead.
The Rooks saw plenty of the ball early on, with Dixon looking to get on the ball in midfield and dictate the pace of the game during the opening stages. Lewes were finding it difficult to test the Walton Casuals back four though, with Charlie Coppola going on an impressive run down the right and seeing his deflected effort drop just wide of the far post being the closest the Rooks came to taking the lead in the first half.
The visitors kept their shape well for much of the half and took the lead against the run of play just before the break, as a long throw from Max Fitzgerald was helped on at the near post and Dan Summers was left unmarked to finish into the roof of the net from close range.
The opening stages of the second half followed a similar pattern to the first, with Lewes enjoying the majority of possession but being unable to test Brannon Daly in the visitor’s goal. Walton Casuals doubled their lead after 63 minutes through Billy Marshall, who latched onto a through-ball and finished well past Chris Winterton from inside the penalty area.
The visitors were playing with plenty of confidence at this stage, and should have gone further ahead when Malachi Hudson outmuscled Vickers but was denied by a fine save from Winterton when clean through.
Lewes briefly threatened a comeback in the closing stages, with Matthew George shooting just wide from the edge of the area and substitute Dawes seeing his close-range effort well saved by Daly in stoppage time. However, the Rooks were left to reflect on a disappointing defeat in a game they could have taken at least a point from if they had converted possession into goalscoring opportunities over the course of the game.
Lewes will hope to put this defeat behind them when they play Redhill as the away team in the FA Cup preliminary round at the Pan on Saturday, kick-off at 3pm.
Lewes: Winterton, Brinkhurst, George, Hammond, Cotton, Vickers, Coppola, Dixon, Perry (Street 69), Conlon (Dawes 46), Jones (Laing 78).
Unused Subs: Dramis, Njie.
Walton Casuals: Daly, Collins, Fitzgerald, J. Cheadle, Ogun, J. Summers, Marshall (Oladipo 90), Sammoutis (Holness 77), Hudson, Odunaike, D. Summers (Pinnock 84).
Unused Subs: Day, H. Cheadle.
Booked: Collins, Fitzgerald, Odunaike.
Referee: Tristan Greaves