A superb team performance saw Lewes pick up an impressive 2-1 win over Bishop’s Stortford, despite being reduced to ten men with over an hour remaining, reports Tom Harper.
Tony Russell named an unchanged side after Tuesday night’s 2-0 win over Carshalton Athletic.
Lewes made a bright start and saw Ronan Silva have an effort deflected just over the bar early on, with Alfie Young then drawing a smart save from Jack Giddens minutes later after the visitors had been unable to clear a Jack Skinner free-kick.
Stortford were handed a big advantage on 27 minutes, as Will Salmon was shown a straight red card for bringing down Oliver Peters on the edge of the area when he was the last man.
Peters sent the resulting free-kick just over the bar, and Russell then took the opportunity to tighten up the defence by bringing on Mitchell Nelson to replace Rhys Murrell-Williamson.
The visitors came close to making the most of their numerical advantage through Terrell Egbri, who shot over the bar from the edge of the area after Marcel Elva-Fountaine had been dispossessed.
Lewes took the lead in spectacular fashion just before half-time, as Ronan Silva picked the ball up in midfield before unleashing a superb long-range strike past Giddens and into the top corner.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the visitors started the second half on the front foot and came close to levelling the scores within minutes of the restart, Lewis Carey making a superb save to keep out a close-range Frankie Merrifield strike after a dangerous Darren Foxley cross from the left.
Stortford weren’t to be denied for long though, and they levelled the scores on 64 minutes through Merrifield, who latched onto a ball in behind down the left before making space for himself and sending a clinical finish across Carey and into the bottom corner.
Lewes could have been forgiven for sitting back and protecting their point due to their numerical disadvantage, but they continued to commit players forward when possible in an attempt to test the visitor’s backline.
The Rooks were rewarded for this approach when they regained their lead on 70 minutes, Razz Coleman De-Graft sending a powerful strike from the edge of the area past Giddens and into the corner after Silva had been dispossessed at the end of an incisive passing move.
The visitors nearly equalised for a second time minutes later, only for Peters to volley a Merrifield cut-back from the left over the bar when well placed.
Substitute Jonathan Giles came closest to rescuing a point for Stortford in the closing stages, seeing a long-range strike hit the outside of the post with Carey beaten and then drawing a smart save from the Rooks’ goalkeeper at his near post after a quickly-taken short corner.
Lewes were defending resolutely, staying organised and putting their bodies on the line as they looked to record a second successive home victory.
The Rooks could even have sealed all three points at the start of injury-time, only to see Silva denied by Giddens at his near post after a quick counter-attack.
Lewes saw out the remainder of the game comfortably, holding on to pick up a superb victory against last season’s runners-up and move onto seven points from a possible nine after the first week of the season.
To read the match day progcast click here.
To watch the match highlights from Your Instant Replay, click here.
James Boyes’s excellent pictures can be found here.
Next up for the Rooks is a trip to Corinthian Casuals next Saturday, kick-off at 3pm.
Lewes: Carey, Elva-Fountaine, Carlse, Champion, Salmon, Young, Silva, Skinner (Olukoga 68), De-Graft, Murrell-Williamson (Nelson 29), Moore.
Unused Subs: Yao, Muggeridge, Dalling.
Sent off: Salmon.
Bishop’s Stortford: Giddens, Porter, Church, Robbins, Henshaw, Johnson (Harris 81), Merrifield, Olufemi, Foxley, Egbri (Giles 74), Peters.
Unused Subs: Thomas, Haines, Beadle.
Booked: Church, Johnson, Olufemi.