Lewes put the heavy defeat against Folkestone Invicta behind them and grabbed a valuable point in tricky conditions at Brightlingsea Regent, reports Stuart Fuller.
Rooks boss Darren Freeman made a number of changes from the defeat at Folkestone last week with new signing Charles Banya coming in at left-bank, Harry Reed at right-bank and Tom Day into the back four, whilst Dayshonne Golding replaced Kieron Pamment in the starting XI whilst Omarr Lawson failed a late fitness test on an ankle injury.
Right from the first minute it was clear that the strong, swirling wind would be a key opponent in the game and that became apparent early in the game, none more so than when Lewis Carey decided to have a shot from a free-kick well inside his own half that saw the Brightlingsea Regent keeper back-tracking furiously but the ball just dropped over the bar. Before then, the hosts should have taken the lead when Turner’s free-kick from the edge of the box hit the post and Condon somehow managed the put the rebound wide.
The home side had another golden opportunity in the 24th minute when Hunt beat Frankie Chappell for pace but his powerful strike was well saved by Lewis Carey. At the other end, Harry Reed was causing problems for Regent down the right-hand side although the final ball couldn’t find either Ben Pope or Luke Blewden, both in acres of space in the area.
The Rooks had a few more chances in an open first period, with the wind creating opportunities and causing chaos for both sides. Ben Pope and Luke Blewden both had half-chances whilst a Harry Reed cross-cum-shot rebounded off the cross bar and out to safety. At the other end Carey once again proved to be the saviour from Hunt’s effort as the scores were level at half time.
The second half started much as the first had ended with the Rooks narrowly on top. In the 60th minute a Ben Pope free-kick on the edge of the box hit the post and rebounded to safety whilst a Coppola corner nearly led to Golding having a tap-in at the far post.
The matches most controversial moment came in the 70th minute when substitute Callum Overton muscled his way into the area. Brightlingsea’s Aaron Condon fell in the process and put both hands on the ball to stop it falling into the Lewes player’s progress but the referee was unsighted. Quite how he missed such a clear infringement was a mystery to the 30 or so Rooks fans just yards away.
Substitute Adeyemo should have wrapped up all three points ten minutes later when he shook off his marker and lifted the ball over the keeper but didn’t have enough power on the ball and it was headed off the line by a covering defender. A few seconds later Overton was booked for his reaction to a kick off the ball from Cripps.
The Rooks had to weather six Brightlingsea corners in the six minutes of injury time that were magicked up by the officials before the final whistle was blown. Lewes certainly deserved at least a point, creating the better chances in what was a much improved performance from seven days ago.
After the game Barry Collins spoke to Darren Freeman about the improvement in the performance from last week.
The Rooks will hope to return to winning ways next Saturday when they host managerless Kingstonian.
Brightlingsea Regent FC: Bradbrook, Griggs, Jake Gould, Turner, Josh Gould, Cripps, Gelashvili (Yaxley 56 mins), Morgan, Hunt, Condon, Harvey (Banner 80 mins)
Subs not used: Hargreaves, Boyland
Lewes FC: Carey, Day, Banya, Reed, Chappell, Freeman, Pope (Adeyemo 75 mins), Dome-Bemwin, Blewden (Overton 61 mins), Coppola, Golding (Pamment 85 mins)
Subs not used: Diallo, Tuson-Firth