A last-gasp equaliser from Razz Coleman De-Graft kept Lewes in the FA Cup after a 1-1 draw against Three Bridges at the Pan, reports Tom Harper (pictures James Boyes).
Tony Russell made two changes to the side that lost at Horsham in their previous game, with Kenneth Yao and Tom Phipp replacing Marcel Elva-Fountaine and Ayo Olukoga in the starting line-up.
There were few chances of note early on, although Leo Anderson in the Three Bridges goal had to be alert to help an over-hit Bradley Pritchard free-kick behind.
The visitors were happy to let Lewes enjoy plenty of possession whilst posing a threat on the break, and should arguably have gone ahead through Camron Lawson, who vollied wide from close range after good build-up play down the right.
The Rooks were finding it difficult to create clear-cut opportunities against their well-organised visitors, who saw Brannon O’Neill draw a smart save from Lewis Carey as they grew in confidence.
Bridges were continuing to look dangerous going forward as the half progressed, Alex Barbary shooting just wide at the end of an incisive counter-attack.
The Rooks should arguably have gone in ahead at half-time though, as Ronan Silva shot just wide from the edge of the area, before a teasing Razz Coleman De-Graft cross from the right was turned behind by Anderson with Taylor waiting for a tap-in.
The visitors started the second half brightly, with Carey called into action to save a powerful effort from former Lewes player Keiron Pamment.
He wasn’t to be denied for long though, as he gave Bridges the lead on 54 minutes. The goal was well-worked, with another former Rook, Curtis Gayler, teeing up Pamment to finish past Carey at the second attempt.
Lewes pushed for an immediate equaliser, with both Silva and Taylor drawing comfortable saves from Anderson as they looked for a quick response.
The visitor’s goalkeeper was soon called into more meaningful action, pushing a Kenneth Yao effort round the post at the end of an excellent passing move.
Anderson then made a smart save at his near post to keep out a Rhys Murrell-Williamson free-kick at his near post, but Bridges were otherwise managing the game well heading into the closing stages.
Lewes continued to push players forward in search of an equaliser, with Tom Phipp, who had been moved into defence following the earlier substituion of Mitchell Nelson, sent up front to play as an emergency striker heading into the final few minutes.
Despite this, the closest the Rooks came to equalising heading into injury-time saw Silva volley wide from just inside area after an attempted clearance dropped at his feet.
Lewes remained on the front foot though, and equalised deep into stoppage time through De-Graft, who found space on the edge of the area before unleashing an unstoppable shot past Anderson and into the corner to keep the Rooks in the FA Cup.
You can read a copy of today’s Progcast here.
Highlights, thanks to Your Instant Replay, can be watched here.
James Boyes’ photos from the game can be viewed here.
Lewes will now head to Three Bridges for the replay on Tuesday, kick-off at 7.45pm.
Lewes: Carey, Yao, Nelson (Olukoga 57), Salmon, Carlse (Murrell-Williamson 74), Phipp, Silva, Pritchard, De-Graft, Moore, Taylor (Dalling 87).
Unused Subs: Jenkins, Skinner, Middleton-Tozer.
Three Bridges: Anderson, Ashley, Villavicencio, Gayler, O’Neill, Pamment, Barbary (Rivera 59), Donaghey, Lawson, Irving, Stone.
Unused Subs: M. Bromage, Wilson, Difika, Woollard, Ferreria, T. Bromage.
Booked: Gayler, O’Neill, Donaghey, Lawson, Stone.