Written by: Stuart
Lewes were forced to settle for a point from their longest away trip of the season with a 2-2 draw at Brightlingsea Regent, reports Tom Harper.
Tony Russell made one change to the side that drew 1-1 with Aveley in their previous game, with Rhys Murrell-Williamson replacing Ronan Silva in the starting line-up.
Lewes started brightly and came close to taking an early lead through Razz Coleman De-Graft, who saw his deflected long-range effort helped over the bar by Charlie Turner.
De-Graft wasn’t to be denied for long though, giving Lewes the lead on nine minutes with a thumping 25-yard effort that beat Turner on its way in off the underside of the bar.
The Rooks were controlling the game, dominating possession and always looking capable of adding to their lead when they got into the final third.
They arguably should have done so within minutes, as an excellent passing move ended with Bradley Pritchard playing De-Graft through on goal, with his effort from an increasingly difficult angle saved well by Turner.
Brightlingsea gradually grew into the game as the half progressed, and Lewis Carey had to be alert to parry a powerful Luke Woodward strike.
The hosts equalised on 30 minutes through Jermaine Anderson, who picked up the ball deep in his own half in the right-back position before embarking on a fine solo run across the pitch towards the Lewes goal and keeping his composure to finish past Carey and into the bottom corner.
Lewes appeared shell-shocked initially and took a few minutes to regain their composure, as Brightlingsea buzzed around the pitch with renewed optimism.
Despite this, the Rooks came close to taking the lead again when a Jamie Mascoll free-kick, given for a foul by Zack Littlejohn on Joe Taylor that, at first glance, appeared to take place inside the area, hit the post, with the loose ball just dropping to Taylor too fast for him to adjust his feet in front of goal.
Lewes remained on the front foot for the remainder of the half, Pritchard blazing a presentable chance over after good work down the right by Johnville Renee, before Rhys Murrell-Williamson saw a strike from a half-cleared corner deflected just wide.
Despite this, the hosts could quite easily have gone into the break ahead themselves, as the unmarked Littlejohn blasted a powerful effort wide after a loose ball dropped to him in the box.
Lewes made a bright start to the second half, Taylor just failing to apply the finish to a superb Jamie Mascoll corner from the right.
Brightlingsea were growing in confidence the longer the scores remained level and had a good chance to take the lead on the break, as Francis Jno-Baptiste ran onto a long clearance but could only shoot straight at Carey under pressure from Tom Champion.
The hosts made it 2-1 on 67 minutes through Woodward, who sent a powerful finish past Carey after a free-kick had only been cleared as far as the edge of the box.
Falling behind appeared to wake Lewes up from arguably their quietest period of the game and they levelled the scores just seven minutes later, Alfie Young climbing highest to powerfully head a De-Graft cross into the bottom corner from close range.
The remainder of the game was played almost exclusively in and around the Brightlingsea penalty area, but the hosts were well-organised and restricted Lewes to very few clear-cut opportunities.
The closest the Rooks came to finding a winner late on saw Taylor get on the end of a Mascoll cross from the right, only to see his goal-bound header blocked by a defender, with there being a suggestion of handball.
Unfortunately for the impressive contingent of travelling fans behind the goal, referee Benjamin Bowles ignored the vociferous appeals from the Lewes players and the Rooks were unable to find a decisive third goal in the closing stages.
Lewes will hope to return to winning ways when they welcome Folkestone Invicta to the Pan on Tuesday, kick-off at 7.45pm.
Brightlingsea Regent: Turner, Anderson, Oladejo, Durling, Thompson, Littlejohn, Locke, Singh, Jno-Baptiste (Russell 75), Woodward (Olukolu 82), Jeremiah (Barnby 60).
Unused Subs: Odeku, Rusoke.
Booked: Anderson, Durling, Littlejohn, Locke, Jeremiah.
Lewes: Carey, Renee, Mascoll, Salmon, Champion, Young, Hyde (Skinner 73), Pritchard, Murrell-Williamson (Dalling 73), De-Graft, Taylor.
Unused Subs: Nelson, Olukoga.
Booked: Champion, Young, Pritchard.
Referee: Benjamin Bowles