An injury-time goal saw Lewes suffer a damaging 1-0 defeat against Bishop’s Stortford in their push for a play-off place at the Pan, reports Tom Harper.
The Rooks were dealt a blow before the game kicked off, with Ollie Tanner picking up an injury in the warm-up and being replaced in the starting line-up by Deshane Dalling. There was also a place in the side for Razz Coleman De-Graft following his recent absence through injury.
The only other change to the team that drew 2-2 at Haringey Borough last week saw Mitchell Nelson replace Michael Klass.
The visitors thought they had taken the lead early on, but saw Darren Foxley flagged offside as he finished from close range after Lewis Carey had parried a Frankie Merrifield shot into his path.
There was very little goalmouth action for much of the first half, but Stortford always looked a threat from set-pieces, with the unmarked William Cracknell heading a Jonathan Giles free-kick wide at the far post.
Lewes were competing well and soon created their first chance of the game, Razz Coleman De-Graft forcing a fine save from Jack Giddens after being teed up by Joe Taylor.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first, as both sides fought hard for every ball but were unable to build any sustained spell of pressure.
The visitors were once again denied the lead by an offside flag, with Merrifield adjudged to have just mistimed his run as he latched onto a flick-on before finishing past Carey.
Lewes began to see more of the ball but the visitors were breaking up the play effectively in midfield, ensuring that the Rooks were unable to really stretch their defence.
Stortford nearly took the lead in the last 20 minutes, as Jack Thomas cut the ball back for substitute Christopher Harris, who saw his strike saved by Carey.
Lewes were handed a boost with 11 minutes remaining as the visitors were reduced to ten men, Thomas receiving a second yellow card for pulling back Michael Klass as he looked to break forward from midfield.
Despite having a numerical advantage, the Rooks were unable to get in behind the Stortford defence or force Giddens into any meaningful action heading into injury-time.
A potentially frustrating afternoon for Lewes became even worse deep into injury-time as a loose clearance from Carey was seized upon in midfield by the visitors and, spotting Carey out of position, Ben Marlow sent a superb strike from distance into the bottom corner to secure the win and stun the majority of the 977-strong crowd into silence.
You can watch the highlights of the game, thanks to Your Instant Replay, here.
James Boyes excellent pictures can be viewed here.
You can read the match progcast here.
Next up for Lewes is a trip to Folkestone Invicta next Saturday, kick-off at 3pm.
Lewes: Carey, Spencer, Carlse, Salmon, Nelson, Pettit, Maloney (Klass 46), Pritchard, De-Graft (Yao 75), Dalling, Taylor.
Unused Sub: Hall.
Bishop’s Stortford: Giddens, Church, Robbins, Henshaw, Giles, Merrifield (Harris 66), Renee, Thomas, Foxley (Marlow 59), Peters (Charles 59), Cracknell.
Unused Subs: Edwards, Haines.
Booked: Church, Thomas, Marlow, Cracknell.
Sent off: Thomas.