A dominant performance and first-half own goal from Jake Downs helped Lewes to an impressive victory at Whyteleafe that was more convincing than the score-line suggests reports Tom Harper
Darren Freeman made two changes to the side that had won 3-1 at Sittingbourne in their previous game, with Tom Vickers and Jamie Brotherton replacing Alex Malins and Trevor McCreadie in the starting line-up.
Both sides played some good football during the opening stages, with Whyteleafe’s impressive artificial pitch allowing the teams to play out from the back and look to create chances with incisive football.
Lewes had the first opportunity of the game after just over 20 minutes, as Jack Dixon shot just over the bar from the edge of the area after good build-up play in midfield.
Whyteleafe also looked capable of creating chances though, and saw Dereece Thompson head a Nathan Daly cross wide from close range.
The Rooks began to enjoy the majority of the possession and goalscoring opportunities as the half progressed, with Lloyd Harrington seeing a long-range effort pushed onto the woodwork by Luke Colquhoun in the host’s goal.
Lewes made this pressure tell after half an hour, as a dangerous in-swinging Dixon corner from the left was headed into his own net by home centre-back Jake Downs.
The Rooks thought they had doubled their lead within minutes, as Charlie Coppola cut the ball back from the byline on the right for Brotherton to finish from close range. However, the linesman on that side of the pitch raised his flag and appeared to suggest that the ball had gone behind before Coppola cut it back, a decision that confused both sets of players and supporters.
Coppola was heavily involved in Lewes’ strong finish to the half, sending a curling effort just over the bar and seeing a low strike from the edge of the area well saved by Colquhoun.
Whyteleafe had the first chance of the second half, with Downs just failing to make amends for his earlier own-goal by sending a free header from a Conal O’Leary free-kick over the bar.
Lewes continued to pose a threat going forward, and saw the impressive Arinse Uade hit the bar with a powerful effort after good play by Brotherton at the end of an incisive counter-attack.
The Rooks then saw Harrington send a free-kick from the edge of the area just over the bar with Colquhoun beaten, before Chris Winterton was forced into a smart save to deny O’Leary at the other end after a quickly taken short corner.
Lewes were causing the host’s defence plenty of problems with their pace on the counter, as Uade missed the target with a scuffed effort at the far post after substitute Ronnie Conlon had just been unable to control a Brotherton cross from the right.
Whyteleafe enjoyed their best spell of the game in the final 20 minutes, with Winterton forced into fine saves to deny both Karl Parker and Ryan Fowler in the space of two minutes.
The host’s best chance to equalise fell to Daryl Coleman, who missed the target with only Winterton to beat after good build-up play down the right.
Lewes weathered the storm though, and nearly added a second goal in the first of four minutes of injury time, as substitute McCreadie just beat Colquhoun to a long clearance from Steve Brinkhurst but saw his effort hit the side-netting.
This was an impressive result for the Rooks, who built on a morale-boosting win at Sittingbourne on Saturday to record back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
Lewes will hope to continue this improved form when they host Guernsey on Saturday, kick-off at 3pm.
Whyteleafe: Colquhoun, Hamlin, O’Leary, Downs, Daly, Coleman, Fowler (Lyle 84), Grant, Parker, Mensah (Clayton 61), Thompson (Johnston 46).
Unused Subs: Francis, Bird.
Booked: Hamlin, Daly, Thompson.
Lewes: Winterton, Brinkhurst, George, Harrington, Freeman, Vickers, Uade (McCreadie 89), Hammond (Conlon 58), Brotherton (Laing 79), Dixon, Coppola.
Unused Subs: Dramis, Kealy.