The Rooks suffered defeat at FA Cup giant-killers Kingstonian after taking an early lead, reports Stuart Fuller.
Lewes suffered a last-minute change to the starting line up with James Hammond pulling out during the warm-up, replaced by Tegan Freeman, making his first ever start for the Rooks. Tom Day came back into the side after two weeks on the sidelines, replacing the absent Leon Redwood at left-back. New signing Emmauel Yeboah took a place on the bench as too did Nicolas D’Arienzo, part of our successful Under18s squad.
Despite their impressive exploits at Macclesfield Town last week, it was the Rooks who started the better of the two sides, despite the huge height advantage the hosts had in midfield. Ilic and Golding provided the width whilst Tegan Freeman looked assured in a midfield. Charlie Coppola enjoyed the space behind Jordy Mongoy and on the balance of early play, it was no surprise that the Rooks took the lead in the 11th minute. Stefan Ilic rode a couple of tackles, played the ball wide to Golding and his cross was perfect for Coppola to volley home at the far post.
The Rooks could have had a second a few minutes later when another Golding cross was met by Mongoy but his flick hit a defender. The home side’s attacking threat was kept in check by Chappell and Malins during the first thirty minutes but the equaliser finally arrived when a loose ball wasn’t fully cleared and Tom Kavanagh’s snap shot from the edge of the box beat Nathan Stroomberg-Clarke.
The Lewes keeper had to be at his very best to keep the K’s out in the period before half-time, twice making outstanding saves at full stretch. However, it was the Rooks who had the final chance of the half when Dayshonne’s dangerous cross, looking to pick out Charlie Coppola was cleared in the air, falling perfectly for Jordy Mongoy but his header went weakly over the bar.
In the third minute of the second half the Rooks had a big shout for a penalty when Stefan Ilic shot appeared to hit a K’s arm but the referee was having none of it. Coppola then had a great chance when he smartly controlled the ball but pulled his shot wide. At the other end the hosts had a penalty shout of their own when Malins appeared to pull Theopanous down. The Kingstonian striker didn’t have to wait long to exact revenge, as he danced across the Rooks defence before slotting home past Stroomberg-Clarke.
In the 66th minute the Rooks had a corner, which was hit to the back-post. The home side cleared it quickly and all of a sudden Hector was through one on one with Peter Gregory. Hector smartly halted his run, causing Gregory to slip and the Kingstonian player lobbed the ball over the Rooks keeper.
The Rooks didn’t give up and Mongoy and Freeman both had good chances to reduce the arrears but it wasn’t to be and despite finishing the game on top, it was the home side who ran out 3-1 winners.
After the game Ross Standen spoke to Barry Collins about the game.
Next up for the Rooks is a trip next Saturday to Bishop’s Stortford, kick off 3pm.
Kingstonian: Tolfrey, Clohessy, Saraiva, Cooper, Cook, Kavanagh, Sow, Beany, Theopanous (Davies 88mins), Hall (Bennett 78mins), Hector (Bamba 88mins)
Subs not used: Osborne, Thompson
Lewes: Stroomberg-Clarke, Day, Illic (Diedrik-Roberts 74mins), Dome-Bemwin, Chappell, Malins, Golding, Freeman, Gregory (D’Arienzo 88mins), Coppola, Mongoy
Subs not used: Hammond, Gifford, Yeboah
Attendance: 387 (approx. 45 Rooks fan)