Men's football news
Written by: Stuart
Lewes were forced to settle for a point on the opening day of the season after a 1-1 draw at Wingate & Finchley in sweltering conditions in North London, reports Tom Harper.
Tony Russell handed debuts to a number of players, including new captain Tom Champion, as well as a second debut to the returning Henry Muggeridge.
The game got off to a cagey start, with Lewes seeing plenty of the ball without really troubling the home defence.
The Rooks soon created their first chance of the game though, as Deshane Dalling drew a smart save from Ben Goode in the Wingate goal after getting on the end of a Jack Skinner cross.
The few chances that were created during the remainder of the half continued to fall to Lewes, Goode making two comfortable stops to deny Razz Coleman De-Graft as the game approached half-time.
Lewes made a bright start to the second half and took the lead just six minutes after the restart, as De-Graft played an excellent ball over the top for Ronan Silva, who took a touch before finishing superbly into the bottom corner.
Falling behind appeared to spark the hosts into action and they came close to levelling the scores almost immediately through Dylan Kearney, who forced an Antonis Vasiliou cross goalwards, only for Carey to claw it off the line.
Wingate did equalise on 58 minutes through the same combination, Vasiliou crossing from the right for Kearney to send a volley past Carey and in off the underside of the bar.
The hosts were enjoying their best spell of the game, and Carey was forced into a fine save to deny Kearney after the striker had managed to turn Alfie Young on the edge of the area before getting his shot away.
Lewes soon regained control of the game though, enjoying more possession and always carrying a threat going forward.
De-Graft continued to look the most likely scorer for Lewes, seeing a low strike turned round the post by Goode after Skinner had won the ball back high up the pitch.
He went close again moments later, showing quick feet to evade two challenges in the area before being denied by Goode again from a tight angle.
De-Graft nearly turned provider in the closing stages, as his cut-back from the left teed up substitute Rhys Murrell-Williamson, who saw his strike saved by the impressive Goode.
Despite enjoying the better chances for long periods of the game, Lewes very nearly fell behind late on, as a counter-attack ended with an Elliott Long cross from the left being just too far in front of the unmarked Tyrique Clarke at the far post.
The Rooks forced a number of set-pieces during the final few minutes but were unable to find the winner their performance had arguably deserved, leaving North London with a point on the opening day.
Next up for Lewes is their first home game of the season on Tuesday when they welcome Carshalton Athletic to the Pan, kick-off at 7.45pm.
Wingate & Finchley: Goode, Steel (Cotter 81), Emovon, Achuba, Eales, Garnett (Bani 46), Vasiliou, Cornish, Kearney, Clarke, Beckford (Long 52).
Unused Subs: Hinds, Dearman.
Booked: Emovon, Garnett.
Lewes: Carey, Elva-Fountaine, Carlse, Champion, Young, Muggeridge (Olukoga 79), Silva, Skinner, De-Graft, Dalling (Murrell-Williamson 59), Moore.
Unused Subs: Yao, Jenkins, Tozer-Middleton.
Attendance: 130 (about 30 travelling Rooks)
James Boyes’ pictures from the game can be viewed here