An impressive second-half performance was not enough to help Lewes pick up their second win of pre-season, but there were still plenty of positives to take from a narrow defeat to League Two side Crawley Town at the Pan reports Tom Harper.
A back four containing three trialists was always going to be tested by the professional visitors, and this proved to be the case when Crawley took the lead after just two minutes.
The goal was scored by Bobson Bawling, who finished a Matt Harrold cross-shot at the far post from almost on the goal-line after a loose pass from A Trialist at right-back was intercepted in midfield.
Crawley doubled their lead after 20 minutes, with Bawling latching onto a Billy Clifford through-ball and finishing past Chris Winterton from inside the area.
The Rooks were working hard and looked relatively comfortable in possession, but were rarely able to test Crawley’s back four as the half progressed.
The visitors should have gone into the break further ahead, as Josh Yorwerth saw a powerful header from a corner pushed away by Winterton.
Winterton made two even better saves just before the break, keeping out close-range efforts from both Alper Tursun and Bawling in the space of a minute as Crawley looked to capitalise further on their first-half dominance.
Lewes made a bright start to the second half, with the introduction of Charlie Coppola minutes after the restart immediately causing the Crawley defence more problems.
The Rooks nearly pulled a goal back just before the hour, as Dan Perry saw his close-range header from a Josh Jones corner well saved by Mitch Beeney in the visitor’s goal.
Lewes continued to see more of the ball and found the goal their second-half performance had deserved after 73 minutes through Perry, who capitalised on a poor pass from Chris Arthur to roll the ball past Beeney and into the bottom corner to bring the Rooks back into the game.
Despite rarely threatening during the second half, Crawley still looked dangerous when they went forward, and saw Harrold send a curling effort from the edge of the area over the bar as they looked to regain their two-goal lead.
The visitors were able to secure the win with four minutes remaining, as James Collins latched onto an under-hit back-pass from substitute Jordan Badger, rounded Winterton and squared the ball for Clifford to finish into the roof of the net from close range.
The third goal was harsh on Lewes, with it coming after a sustained period of pressure from the Rooks that included a strong claim for a penalty when a deep corner from Jones appeared to hit a Crawley defender on the arm.
Despite this, Lewes can take plenty of positives from their second-half display against League Two opposition with the start of the Ryman League season now less than three weeks away.
The Rooks continue their pre-season preparations when they travel to National League South side Eastbourne Borough on Saturday, kick-off at 3pm.
Lewes: Winterton, A Trialist, B Trialist, Hammond, Freeman, C Trialist (Badger 80), Vickers (Coppola 51), Cotton, Perry, Laing (Greenfield 72), Jones.
Unused Subs: Asamoah, Reynolds, Dramis, Gore, Stroomberg.
Crawley Town: Beeney, Tajbakhsh, Pappoe, Garnett, Arthur, Barjo, Yorwerth, Tursun, Clifford, Bawling, Harrold.
Subs: Mersin, Young, Payne, Bordenijn, Smith, Blackman, Collins, McNerney.
Referee: Carl Brook