An impressive team performance saw Lewes record their first home win of the season with an emphatic 4-1 victory over a previously unbeaten Enfield Town side at the Pan, reports Tom Harper.
Tony Russell made three changes to the side that lost 2-1 at home to Metropolitan Police in the FA Cup, with Killian Colombie, Ayo Olukoga and Bradley Pritchard replacing Kenneth Yao, Michael Klass and Karl Dent in the starting line-up.
The visitors started brightly and came close to taking the lead early on through Muhammadu Faal, who latched onto a mis-hit Tom Carlse clearance but saw his close-range effort pushed over the bar by Lewis Carey.
From the resulting corner, a near-post flick-on evaded everyone before bouncing just wide of the far post.
Lewes soon started to dominate possession though, with Taylor Maloney being denied by Nathan McDonald in the visitor’s goal, before Bradley Pritchard missed the target at the end of an incisive passing move just minutes later.
The Rooks took the lead on 27 minutes, as a Maloney corner from the left picked out the unmarked Pritchard at the far post and he volleyed the ball back across goal and into the top corner to score his first goal for the club.
Lewes doubled their lead seven minutes later through Joe Taylor, who ran in behind the Enfield defence to latch onto a Carey goal-kick before lifting the ball over the onrushing McDonald and into the back of the net.
The Rooks were playing arguably their best football of the season, with Pritchard and Maloney pulling the strings in midfield and Razzaq Coleman De-Graft proving a constant threat down the right.
Maloney scored the goal his first-half display five minutes before the break, as he sent a superb 25-yard free-kick over the wall, past McDonald and in off the underside of the bar.
There was still time for Lewes to go close to adding a fourth before half-time, with Killian Colombie breaking forward from right-back before shooting just wide from the edge of the area.
The visitors found a way back into the game four minutes into the second half, as a long throw from the right found Faal unmarked in front of goal, and he volleyed past Carey to make it 3-1.
Lewes responded well to this though, with De-Graft being played in by Taylor before shooting over with only McDonald to beat.
The Rooks continued to press and restored their three-goal advantage on 54 minutes, Colombie applying the finish to an impressive passing move down the right by running in behind and slotting the ball under McDonald.
Long periods of the second half passed without goalmouth action at either end, as Lewes controlled possession and always looked capable of creating openings to add to their lead.
Carey was forced into two fine saves in quick succession late on to deny Jedemiah Gyebi and Rian Bray and ensure the game finished 4-1, a score-line which was a fair reflection on Lewes’ dominance for long periods.
After the game, Man of the Match Bradley Pritchard spoke to Joe Short about the game:
Lewes midfielder Bradley Pritchard says starting for the Rooks and getting on the scoresheet in Saturday’s 4-1 win over Enfield Town was “refreshing” as the 35-year-old took the next step in his comeback from injury.
Pritchard put Lewes’ ahead midway through the first half and Tony Russell’s men saw themselves 3-0 up at the break thanks to Joe Taylor’s solo effort and Taylor Maloney’s rocket free-kick off the crossbar.
The summer signing then fed through full-back Killian Colombie for the fourth in front of the Rooks fans.
“It’s been a while since I’ve had a goal!” joked man-of-the-match Pritchard after the game. “Actually to be honest it’s a while since I’ve played close to a full 90 minutes.
“But I enjoyed today. It was really refreshing. I started off the season with a couple of injuries, a few niggles, and tried to play through it but that didn’t work out. I was just exacerbating the injuries, so I had to just rest for four or five weeks, which is always quite hard when you’re watching the team.
“But when I got the opportunity to start, you want to have an impact in the game.”
On his goal he said: “A few of the boys were asking if I meant it! It was nice to get that goal, especially as I’m known more for assists.”
The fourth, a well threaded pass from Pritchard that Colombie finished through Enfield goalkeeper Nathan McDonald’s legs, the midfielder said: “Look, if you don’t have the player making the run then you’re not going to be able to play it. It was a really good set from JT, and Killian made the great run which made it simple for me to play it through.”
Next up for Lewes is a trip to Merstham on Tuesday and Pritchard is hoping the quick turnaround of games will lead to another three points.
“It’s a really good thing and quite exciting, as it helps us continue and build that momentum,” he said.
“We’ve had a bit of a slow start trying to get to grips with the way we play, different personnel coming in and out. So it’s quite nice to have another game so soon, because we can at least look to continue this form.”
Highlights for today’s game, thanks to Your Instant Replay, can be viewed here.
More pictures from the master James Boyes, can be found here.
Today’s progcast can be viewed here.
Next up for the Rooks is a trip to Merstham on Tuesday, kick-off at 7.45pm.
Lewes: Carey, Colombie, Carlse, Weaire, Nelson, De-Graft, Olukoga, Pritchard (Parker 89), Maloney (Klass 81), Tanner (Allen 83), Taylor.
Unused Subs: Richards D’Arienzo.
Enfield Town: McDonald, Chappell, Smith, Thomas (Maja-Awesu 75), Gyebi, Bray, Kiangebeni, Youngs, Coker (Cunnington 46), Faal, Della-Verde (Taaffe 67).
Unused Subs: Joseph, Kirwan.
Booked: Gyebi, Taaffe.
Referee: Nicolas Metcalfe