An encouraging performance was not enough to help Lewes to victory against a clinical Bishop’s Stortford side, with the Rooks now needing to win their last two games to have any chance of making the Bostik Premier play-offs after this 3-1 defeat at the Pan, reports Tom Harper.
Darren Freeman made two changes to the side that drew 1-1 at Leatherhead in their previous game, with Kieron Pamment and Dayshonne Golding replacing Frankie Chappell and Michael Dome-Bemwin in the starting line-up.
Bishop’s Stortford started brightly and took the lead after just four minutes, as Ryan Henshaw finished from close range after Lewes had been unable to clear a Shadrach Ogie long throw from the left.
The Rooks saw plenty of the ball for much of the half, but were finding it difficult to turn this possession into clear-cut opportunities against their well-organised visitors.
Stortford doubled their lead just after the half-hour, as a free-kick from the left picked out Ryan Charles at the far post, who headed back across goal for Luke Callander to nod home from inside the six-yard box.
Lewes continued to enjoy a lot of possession though and pulled a goal back three minutes for the break through Charlie Coppola, who latched onto a Ben Pope through-ball and evaded two challenges before finding the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
The Rooks forced plenty of corners during the closing stages of the first half, but were unable to force an equaliser before the break.
Lewes started the second half in the same way they finished the first, however once again found the visitor’s defence difficult to breach.
The Rooks were posing a threat from open play as well as set-pieces though, with Coppola seeing a goal-bound effort from close range blocked after being picked out by Charles Banya.
It was therefore slightly against the run of play when the visitors regained their two-goal advantage after 66 minutes, as Johnville Renee picked up a loose ball in midfield and ran through unchallenged to finish past Lewis Carey and into the back of the net.
Lewes could have been forgiven for allowing their heads to drop, but they continued to press, and saw Pope narrowly miss the target with a close-range header after more good work by the impressive Coppola.
Stortford nearly made the most of this let-off minutes later, but saw Renee denied on the line by the covering Banya after a purposeful run down the left by Charles.
The final chance of the game fell to Lewes, with James Hammond forcing a superb save from Arthur Janata in the visitor’s goal with a powerful header from a Pope long-throw.
This result leaves the Rooks six points off the play-offs with just two games remaining, however they can take plenty of positives from an encouraging display against a Bishop’s Stortford side whose victory at the Pan moved them into the top five.
After the game boss Darren Freeman spoke to Stuart Fuller about the game.
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Lewes will hope to bounce back from this result when they visit Burgess Hill Town on Monday, kick-off at 3pm.
Lewes: Carey, Reed, Day, Lawson, Freeman (Overton 68) , Pamment, Pope Coppola, Banya (Adeyemo 78), Hammond, Golding (Blewden 50).
Unused Subs: Dome-Bemwin, Tuson-Firth.
Bishop’s Stortford: Janata, Renee, Ogie, Thomas, Robbins, Henshaw (Nkosi 76), Worman, Warman, Charles (Green 81), Callander (Sampayo 46), Mason.
Unused Subs: Haines, Okwute.