Lewes boss Scott Booth says the team is ready to entertain the home fans on the new Dripping Pan pitch against Southampton on Sunday.
The Rooks host Saints at the Pan in a 12:30pm kick off, with matchday tickets still available to buy online at a discount.
Lewes drew 0-0 at Birmingham last weekend and this will be the first chance for Booth’s new-look squad to play competitively on the newly-laid surface.
“I’m expecting a really good atmosphere. The players are really looking forward to another interesting clash,” says Booth.
“It’s a game the players have really been looking forward to. Now our first game of the season is out of the way, it’s about focusing on the first home game, in front of our fans and on a new pitch.
“It’s the first time the players have competitively played on this pitch, so there’s a lot for the fans to look forward to!”
Last weekend’s opponents dropped down from the Women’s Super League the previous season, while on Sunday Lewes host newly-promoted Southampton.
Saints won the Women’s National League South in 2021/22 and beat Wolves 1-0 in the Championship playoff.
They began to campaign with a 2-0 defeat to Charlton last weekend and Booth, who saw his side delver a goalless friendly draw at Saints in pre-season, says they’ll be a tough opponent come Sunday.
“It’s a strange start where you play the relegated side and then the promoted side,” says Booth. “We knew plenty about Birmingham because historically we know the players, but we also played against Southampton in pre-season so we got a good look at them then.
“They’ve changed a bit since that pre-season game and got stronger, so it’s going to be a really tough match on Sunday.”
Focus on Saints
Southampton kicked off their Women’s Championship season with a 2-0 defeat to Charlton, in front of 2,444 fans at St Mary’s.
Discussing their Championship debut, defender Rosie Parnell told Saints’ club website: “It was really good. It felt like a long time coming and the club have been backing us for a long time so to finally be here… well we just want to push on now for the rest of the season.
“We have to take the positives from this game, there were a lot and we’ve learned a lot as well. We just need to look forward and put everything into practice for Lewes. I think we can get three points there.”
A good week complete
Booth and his staff have had a week to digest the goalless draw at St Andrew’s, which saw five Rooks make their full debut.
And, looking back at the game, the boss is eager to see how this squad develops further.
“Training has been really good. The players went through a tough opening game and they were happy with the performance, as were we. It gives us a boost heading into this weekend,” he adds.
“It sounds cliche but it was a great team performance all-round, and we were able to utilise some subs as well. They did great when they came on.
“For me goalkeeper Sophie Whitehouse did really well in goal. That might sound like we were completely under the cosh, but she handled the whole game well – especially with it being her debut.
“The players did what we’ve been working on in training and putting those things into practice. I was really proud of that all. It was a big day because the amount of work you put in during pre-season, it’s the culmination of all that hard work.
“Especially being an away game against a team newly relegated from the WSL, all in all I think the players as a group handled it really well.”
Lewes vs Southampton tickets
You can buy Lewes FC tickets for the game, which kicks off at 12:30pm on Sunday, online or at the gate.
Ticket prices are as follows:
• Adults – £12 general admittance online
• Concessions – £8 general admittance online
• Kids (under 16) – free!
• Beach hut for six people – SOLD OUT
Photo: James Boyes