Lewes FC Men: A Season Review – Lewes Community Football Club
Lewes FC Men: A Season Review
Men's football news
Written by: Jack
Another season has come to an end at the Dripping Pan for Tony Russell’s side who missed out on the Play-offs by the tightest of margins. Tom Harper reports on another rollercoaster season.
The season started in sweltering conditions in North London, with Lewes battling to a 1-1 draw at Wingate & Finchley.
Home form would be crucial for Lewes all season, and they started as they meant to go on, their first game on their brand new hybrid pitch ending with a 2-0 win over Carshalton Athletic. Four days later, the Rooks produced a superb performance at the Pan to beat Bishop’s Stortford 2-1, despite playing with ten men for over an hour.
The month ended with hard-fought draws against Corinthian Casuals and Hastings United over the Bank Holiday weekend.
September would prove to be a challenging month for Lewes, but there was little sign of this early on, the Rooks setting a club record with a superb 8-0 victory over Sheppey United in an FA Cup replay, helped by an impressive five-goal haul from Joe Taylor.
Lewes suffered their first defeat of the season, losing 2-0 at local rivals Horsham, before being knocked out of the FA Cup after a 4-0 replay loss at fellow Sussex side Three Bridges. An injury and illness-hit side then fell to a 2-1 reverse at Billericay Town ahead of a two-week break.
The Rooks returned to winning ways with a 1-0 FA Trophy win over Sevenoaks Town at the Pan, but were finding victories hard to come by in the league, falling to a 4-1 defeat at Herne Bay.
Lewes responded in the best possible way with a superb 4-2 triumph at early-season pacesetters Enfield Town and then followed this up with a comfortable 2-0 win over Margate at the Pan.
Belief was growing, and a stirring comeback from 2-0 down to secure a creditable draw against Hornchurch under the lights at the Pan made it three games unbeaten.
The Rooks ended the month with an impressive penalty shoot-out victory at Chesham United in the FA Trophy.
November would be a challenging month, with the Rooks recording a fine 3-2 home win over Folkestone Invicta and creditable draws against Aveley and Cray Wanderers, but also falling to a disappointing 4-3 defeat at Potters Bar Town after being 3-1 up in the closing stages, and being eliminated from the FA Trophy on penalties by local rivals Bognor at the Pan.
The Rooks started December with a deserved 2-1 win at Haringey Borough, before moving right into play-off contention by following this up with a 3-1 victory at Kingstonian four days later on a bitterly cold night in South London.
They were then dealt a blow, however, with the inclement weather postponing three consecutive matches, meaning Lewes wouldn’t play for nearly three weeks until a 2-1 defeat at Hastings United on Boxing Day.
Lewes made a superb start to 2023, beating Bognor 3-1 at the Pan before completing the double over eventual title winners Bishop’s Stortford with an emphatic 3-0 win in Hertfordshire.
The Rooks continued their impressive form with a comfortable 2-0 home victory over Corinthian Casuals, but were then rocked by a 2-1 defeat at Carshalton Athletic before coming from 2-0 down to record a well-deserved 2-2 draw at Cray Wanderers.
Lewes returned to winning ways with a 5-0 win over Wingate & Finchley at the Pan, keeping the Rooks firmly in play-off contention heading into the final three months of the season.
Back-to-back wins over Kingstonian and Bowers & Pitsea respectively saw Lewes continue to push for the top five, but a 2-0 defeat at Aveley sandwiched between home draws with Horsham and Billericay Town just kept the Rooks looking in from the outside.
A 2-2 draw at Hornchurch showcased Lewes’ battling qualities, and when they followed this up with three consecutive victories over Enfield Town, Brightlingsea Regent and a last-gasp win at Folkestone Invicta, a play-off place was very much in Lewes’ hands.
The Rooks then suffered their first and only home defeat of the season – a 2-0 reverse to Canvey Island – but kept themselves in the promotion race by returning to winning ways with a 2-1 victory at home to Potters Bar Town.
Lewes headed into the final month of the season knowing that a play-off place was still, just about, in their own hands.
Two consecutive draws to the start the month, 2-2 at Margate and then 3-3 at home to Herne Bay on Good Friday after leading 3-1 late on, meant Lewes would need an almost perfect end to the season to stay in the hunt for promotion.
They made a perfect start with a superb 4-1 win at Bognor on Easter Monday, despite playing with ten men for nearly 80 minutes. The game saw Joe Taylor break a club record by notching his 35th and 36th goals of the season in front of the biggest and arguably most vocal away support of the season.
A 4-0 win over Haringey Borough in their penultimate game of the season meant Lewes headed to Canvey Island on the final day knowing that a win, along with favourable results elsewhere, would see their season extended into the play-offs.
The Rooks produced one of their best displays of the season, beating their third-place hosts 3-1 thanks to a Razz Coleman De-Graft hat-trick, but finished sixth, just two goals short of a play-off place, due to results elsewhere.
Despite just missing out on the play-offs, this was a thoroughly enjoyable season, with the Rooks producing some of the best football seen at the Pan in many years, achieving some eye-catching results and continuing to grow our incredible fanbase, who will be hoping for more of the same next season!
The best moments – from Lewes Clamour
The Men’s 22/23 season contained a range of high’s and low’s for us to look back on. The season started with a scorching hot 35 degree day in Finchley, and ended in scorching hot tensions in Canvey Island, as Lewes only just missed out on play-offs by a goal difference of 2, despite a 3-1 win over the hosts.
We saw perhaps one of our biggest wins ever, an 8-0 thrashing over Sheppey, in the FA Cup, along with some emphatic performances against Carshalton and Bishop’s Stortford, to start the season on the front foot. One of the biggest moments from the first-half of the season was our 4-2 away win over Enfield, a tough away fixture that we successfully managed to come away from with 3 points.
The beginning of 2023 needed a big performance against Bognor Regis, to avenge the FA Trophy, and kick start our promotion push. This ended in a fantastic 3-1 win, with Taylor celebrating the third and final goal by jumping into the crowd. Perhaps one of the biggest moments of the season.
Following on from this, spectacular wins against eventual champions Bishop’s Stortford, Wingate & Finchley and Kingstonian, gave many Rooks the belief that we would make the top 5, especially after incredible displays against Bognor Regis and Folkestone.
Ultimately, it all came down to the final day, where a win against Canvey, and a Haringey win over Cray, was what was needed to secure play-offs, and despite a superb Razz De-Graft hattrick, Lewes missed out on the playoffs by a goal difference of 2 goals, after a 2-2 draw between Haringey and Cray.
In conclusion, this season, despite missing out on playoffs, contained a lot of positives, and big moments, that over the course of Russell’s two year spell, has shaped this team to become a highly entertaining side.
Thank you all for joining us once again and we can’t wait to have you back at the Pan!