Lewes exited the FA Trophy at the first hurdle for the third consecutive year after defeat at Bishop’s Stortford, reports Stuart Fuller
Rooks boss Tony Russell made a couple of changes to the side that lost by the odd goal in nine last Saturday at Worthing with new loan signing Will Salmon replacing Matt Weaire at the back, whilst fellow loanee Deon Moore getting his first start on the right and Freddie Parker deputising for the absent Joe Taylor, who had been hit by Covid.
No sooner had the game started than Lewes were one down after a corner to the far post was headed home by Jake Cass. The goal didn’t dent the Rooks approach and some neat approach play by Freddie Parker saw Olukoga in on goal but he sent his shot wide.
Ollie Tanner didn’t see much of the ball in the early stages but when he did he almost had an immediate impact, drifting inside the full back but his low shot was blocked for a corner.
As the half progressed the tackles began to fly in with Stortford’s Ryan Charles booked for a late challenge on Taylor Maloney, but two minutes later Michael Klass saw red for kicking out at his marker.
Just 90 seconds later Stortford had a second when Jake Cass’ free-kick from 25 yards beat the wall and Lewis Carey.
The Rooks needed a strong and fast start to the second half and that is exactly what they got when Olukoga was fouled in the box. With Joe Taylor absent Taylor Maloney stepped up but sent his kick over the bar.
The introduction of Razz Coleman De-Graft for Deon Moore injected some urgency into the Rooks play and within a minute Freddie Parker saw a shot well saved by Stortford’s keeper Jack Giddens.
The Rooks were certainly on top as they game entered the final quarter and finally started to put pressure on the home side’s defence. Taylor Maloney hit the bar after a great run by Kenny Yao and a strong run by Razz almost saw the ball find an unmarked Ollie Tanner. At the other end the home side wasted a couple of good chances, whilst Mitchell Nelson was fortunate not to pick up a second yellow as the game entered injury time.
It could have been a different result had we played the game with eleven men and had Maloney’s penalty been converted, but that’s football. We do it all again against Stortford next Saturday, this time in the Isthmian Premier League. In the meantime we host Carshalton Athletic on Tuesday night at the Pan, kick off 7:45pm.
Bishop’s Stortford: Giddens, Edwards, Church, Robbins, Marlow, Cass (Baker 74 mins), Harris (Chandler 64 mins), Renee, Thomas, Charles, Wallace
Subs not used: Henshaw, Bird, Callander, Allum, Haines
Booked: Charles, Marlow, Haines
Lewes: Carey, Yao, Carlse, Nelson, Salmon, Klass, Maloney, Olukoga, Moore (Coleman De-Graft 61 mins), Tanner, Parker
Subs not used: Colombie, Weaire, Pritchard, D’Arienzo, Allen, Hall
Booked: Nelson, Tanner
Sent off: Klass
Attendance: 283 (23 travelling Rooks)