Lewes boss Tony Russell believes his team is beginning to tick as the Rooks seek to make it three wins on the bounce against Hornchurch at the Dripping Pan on Tuesday.
Lewes beat Margate 2-0 on Saturday to add to their 4-2 victory over Enfield Town the previous weekend. Three points on Tuesday and the Rooks could leap as high as eighth – and still have two or three games in hand over most other teams.
Russell has been calling out for consistency for a while now, and the hard work on the training ground with his new players is beginning to pay off.
And the boss hopes for an equally dominant display against fourth-placed Hornchurch come Tuesday evening.
“We’re going to do an extra session this week to get us ready for Hornchurch. So we’ve got training on Monday, the game Tuesday and then the boys are back in Wednesday for more. It’s a lot but it’s what we need right now,” says the boss.
“In Hornchurch we’re playing a team that in my eyes are the best in the league. They’ve been together a long time, have a manager with Football League experience, and are a good side.
“But if we’ve got any aspirations of going up then we need to beat sides like Hornchurch. So we’ll look at a few different ideas and give ourselves the best chance we can of getting three points and entertaining the fans.
“I said to the boys that Monday’s extra session gives us that opportunity, and they’re well up for it.”
‘There is no bad team in this league’
Lewes secured the win over Margate thanks to goals from Razz Coleman De-Graft and Joe Taylor, either side of half time.
Taylor’s goal in particular was a snapshot of what Russell has been trying to produce on the slick new Premier League standard pitch at the Pan. Heart build-up followed by some rapid-fire passing and a cool head from Razz to slot in Taylor.
And Russell reckons the boys will need to be equally efficient if they are to see off Hornchurch.
“There is no bad team in this league,” says Russell. “We can beat some of the ‘top’ teams and even on Saturday we beat Margate, and you feel like you’re getting somewhere.
“But even teams at the bottom don’t let you relax one bit. Hornchurch are up there, they’re a great side and very well organised.
“It shows that every single game you’ve got to turn up, work and run. If you put in that commitment and it comes down to skillset then I believe there aren’t many teams that are better than us.
“But there are plenty who work hard and battle – and you have to match that. If you don’t match that commitment and rely and quality alone then it becomes much harder to win games.
“And full credit to Margate on Saturday, they had a right go. They didn’t rip us open but they put their bodies on the line, got the ball forward, hustled. And it made us work harder.
“We picked them off at the end which was nice, having soaked it up. And that’s the reward you get for hard work. I just want us to be a little bit more controlled.”
Hornchurch arrive at the Pan for Tuesday’s 7:45pm kick off having beaten Horsham 3-1 on Saturday. Boss Mark Stimson was without five players through injury and had Tom Wraight suspended.
Still, goals from Liam Nash, Charlie Stimson and Jack Munns were enough to secure the result.
It means Hornchurch are now on a five-game winning streak in the Isthmian Premier League. Hornchurch beat Lewes 3-1 home and away last season.
Lewes FC vs Hornchurch tickets
The match on Tuesday kicks off at 7:45pm. You can buy Lewes FC tickets for the game online and skip the queue at the gate. Online ticket prices are as follows:
Adults – £12
Concessions – £8
Kids U16 – Free
Beach Huts – £110
Photo: James Boyes