Two goals from Charlie Coppola helped Lewes to their fourth away win of the season in a hard-fought game against Walton Casuals at Whyteleafe reports Tom Harper
Darren Freeman made one change to the side that drew 0-0 at Tooting & Mitcham on Saturday, with James Hammond replacing the injured Stacey Freeman in the starting line-up. This change saw Lloyd Harrington move back from midfield to partner Lloyd Cotton at the heart of the defence.
The Rooks got off to a bright start and took the lead after just 13 minutes, as Coppola was on hand to volley a superb cross from Jamie Brotherton past Denzel Gerrar in the Casuals goal from close range. Lewes were trying to play the ball out from the back and looked dangerous every time they went forward, with Coppola and Brotherton causing the host’s defence plenty of problems out wide.
Casuals adopted a more direct approach that saw them leave the Pan with a 2-0 win back in August, and came close to equalising through Malachi Hudson, who saw a curling effort from the edge of the area go just wide. Most of the chances were continuing to fall to the Rooks though, with Duncan Culley and Ronnie Conlon both failing to get sufficient contact on a Steve Brinkhurst cut-back after good play down the right. Jack Dixon was the next player to go close for Lewes, as he saw his long-range half-volley well saved by Gerrar.
The Rooks were dealt a blow just before half-time when Hammond suffered a nasty facial injury that was later operated on while defending a set-piece and had to be replaced. Arinse Uade was introduced in Hammond’s place, a change that saw Brotherton move into central midfield but continue to play an advanced role in support of Culley.
The hosts posed more of a threat during the opening stages of the second half, and saw Dan Summers force a smart save from the previously untroubled Lucas Covolan with a half-volley from a tight angle. Casuals found an equaliser after 63 minutes through Gabriel Odunaike, who ran onto a perfectly-weighted through-ball and sent a powerful finish past Covolan to level the scores.
Despite conceding for the first time in three games, Lewes remained disciplined and continued to play the passing game that had caused the hosts plenty of problems during the first half. They were rewarded with 15 minutes remaining, as Gerrar could only parry a low free-kick from Culley, and Coppola reacted quickest to score the rebound and put the Rooks back in front.
Lewes saw out the closing stages relatively comfortably and looked the more likely scorers, as Coppola just missed the target with an effort from a tight angle, before Harrington sent a looping header from a Dixon free-kick just over the crossbar.
The Rooks will hope to build on this result when they welcome Cray Wanderers to the Pan on Saturday, kick-off at 3pm.
Walton Casuals: Gerrar, Collins, Cheadle, Nicholson, Fitzgerald, Paul, Odunaike, Sammoutis, Summers, Holness (Babwana 78), Hudson.
Unused Subs: Boosey, Malyon, Daly.
Booked: Cheadle, Nicholson, Fitzgerald, Paul, Sammoutis.
Lewes: Covolan, Brinkhurst, George, Harrington, Hammond (Uade 39), Cotton, Culley, Conlon, Brotherton (Kealy 90), Dixon, Coppola.
Unused Subs: Smith, Perry, Dramis.
Booked: George, Harrington, Culley, Dixon, Cotton