An encouraging performance saw Lewes come from 3-1 down to draw 3-3 in an entertaining first friendly of pre-season against local rivals Worthing at the Pan.
The Rooks got off to a bright start and could have taken the lead inside the first few seconds, as new signing Dan Perry latched onto a flick from Alex Laing, but took a heavy touch when through on goal which enabled Worthing goalkeeper Jack Fagan to save bravely at his feet.
Lewes saw plenty of the ball during the opening stages and should have taken the lead after ten minutes, as a purposeful run and cross from the impressive Charlie Coppola down the right-hand side saw Laing, Perry and James Hammond all have goal-bound efforts blocked in the six-yard box before Worthing were eventually able to clear the ball.
It was therefore against the run of play when the visitors took the lead after 14 minutes, as a long-range strike from Kane Wills slipped through Chris Winterton’s hands in the heavy rain and ended up in the back of the net.
The Rooks almost responded straight from the restart though, as Laing collected a cut-back from Perry but saw his effort superbly cleared off the line by Corey Heath with Fagan beaten.
Lewes finally found the goal their early dominance deserved after 20 minutes, with Laing beating Fagan with a low shot just inside the near post to level the scores after a good run and cross from the Rooks’ trialist at right-back.
The game became more even at this stage, with both sides playing attacking football and looking more than capable of scoring again.
Worthing took the lead for a second time eight minutes before half-time, as Ben Pope latched onto a through-ball and sent an impressive finish over Winterton and in off the underside of the bar.
The visitors doubled their lead just two minutes later, as former Lewes full-back Will Hendon was bought down in the penalty area by Winterton and stepped up to emphatically convert the spot-kick.
Lewes could consider themsevles unfortunate to be two goals down after being the better side for long periods of the first half, and were able to pull a goal back just before the break through Josh Jones, who found the bottom corner with a well-struck shot from the edge of the area.
Worthing started the second half brightly and nearly regained their two-goal advantage within minutes of the restart, as Reis Stanislaus outmuscled Stacey Freeman down the left-hand side before hitting the post with only Winterton to beat.
The Rooks were level after 65 minutes, as Rikki Banks was unable to claim a corner and the ball found Hammond, who sent a looping cross-shot over the former Lewes goalkeeper and a defender on the line to score an equaliser that was arguably deserved on the balance of play.
Lewes nearly took the lead for the first time in the game just a few minutes later, but saw Perry’s half-volley from the edge of the area go just wide.
Both sides had made several changes from half-time onwards, with Darren Freeman giving several trialists an opportunity to impress as the second half progressed.
Worthing had the better of the play during the closing stages and forced Winterton into four smart saves as they looked to find a winner, while the Rooks passed the ball well without really testing the visitor’s back four.
This was a competitive and entertaining first friendly for Lewes, who deserved a draw after a particularly encouraging first-half display.
Lewes: Winterton, Trialist, Gore, Hammond, Freeman, Malins, Jones, Vickers, Perry, Laing, Coppola.
Subs: Trialist, Asamoah, Cotton, Gunn, Trialist, Trialist, Greenfield.
Worthing: Fagan, Hendon, Metcalf, Wills, Watson, Heath, Newton, O’Neill, Pope, Bugiel, Waller.
Subs: Stanislaus, Sparks, Piper, Edwards, Hards, Punter, Godison, Axell, Banks.
Referee: Leigh Crowhurst