Second-half goals from Chris Whelpdale and Deon Moore helped Lewes celebrate Christmas with a deserved 2-1 win at local rivals Whitehawk. Reports Tom Harper. Photos from James Boyes.
Tony Russell made two changes to the side that beat Cheshunt 2-1 in their previous game, with Archie Tamplin and Deon Moore replacing Ayo Olukoga and Kalvin Lumbombo-Kalala in the starting line-up.
There were no openings of note for either side early on, with Ola Ogunwamide coming the closest to an opening goal when shooting straight at Mitch Walker from distance.
Ogunwamide became more involved as the half progressed, going on an impressive run down the right before finding Tommy Wood, who crossed for Luke Dreher to fire over the bar from close range.
The hosts were finding it difficult to trouble the Lewes defence with their more direct approach, but did see Tommy Brewer bravely denied by Nathan Harvey after a clever knockdown from Rob O’Toole.
Lewes started the second half on the front foot and saw Wood draw a superb save from Walker with a powerful strike from just inside the area.
The Rooks pressure came off on 52 minutes, with Moore charging down a Joe Tennent clearance before cutting in from the left and teeing up Whelpdale to finish emphatically into the bottom corner.
Lewes doubled their lead just two minutes later, Ogunwamide finding Moore, who made space for himself on the left of the area before finishing across Walker and into the bottom corner to send the travelling fans into raptures.
Whitehawk briefly threatened an immediate response on the break, only for Imran Kayani to shoot high and wide when well placed.
The hosts continued to search for a route back into the game but were having to resort to efforts from distance, as substitute Dom Johnson-Fisher dragged an effort wide from the edge of the area.
Lewes were looking relatively comfortable until they inexplicably handed Whitehawk a goal on 71 minutes, as Harvey misjudged the pace of a long ball forward when waiting for it to roll into the area, allowing Charlie Lambert to nip in and poke the loose ball into the back of the net.
This set up a nervy finale where the hosts saw more of the ball and forced a number of set-pieces without really troubling Harvey again.
The closing stages became more fractious and this suited Lewes, who saw them out reasonably comfortably to record a second successive 2-1 win in the league and send their travelling fans home with three points as a late Christmas present.
Next up for the Rooks is a trip to Hornchurch on Friday, kick-off at 7.45pm.
Whitehawk: Walker, Daly, Tutt, Brewer (Dawes 89), Tennent, Cocoracchio, Perez (Johnson-Fisher 60), Harris, Pope (Lambert 60), O’Toole, Kayani.
Unused Subs: Worrall, Wright.
Booked: Tutt, Brewer, Pope.
Lewes: Harvey, Tamplin, Salmon, Elliott, Oguntayo, Penney, Dreher (Murtagh 75), Whelpdale (Pritchard 74), Ogunwamide (Olukoga 90), Moore, Wood.
Unused Subs: Vint, Lumbombo-Kalala.
Booked: Harvey, Oguntayo, Penney, Ogunwamide, Pritchard.
Attendance: 1,146 (approximately 300 Rooks fans)