Written by: Stuart
Lewes returned to winning ways with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Cray Wanderers on a bitterly cold night at the Pan, reports Tom Harper.
Tony Russell made one change to the side that drew 2-2 with Brightlingsea Regent in their previous game, with Deshane Dalling replacing Iffy Allen in the starting line-up.
After scoring in the opening three minutes of their previous two home games, Lewes made a quieter start to this one, dominating possession without troubling Bailey Vose in the Cray goal.
There was little goalmouth action for long periods of the half, but the chances that were created fell to the Rooks, with Tom Phipp’s shot on the turn going wide after the visitors had been unable to clear an Ollie Tanner free-kick.
Michael Klass then shot straight at Vose from the edge of the area, before Razz Coleman De-Graft saw a goal-bound effort blocked after good play down the right.
Lewes started to apply more pressure in the closing stages of the half, with Tanner forcing a smart save from Vose at the end of an incisive passing move.
Tanner nearly turned provider minutes later, as his free-kick from the left was headed against the far post by Klass. The loose ball then fell to Deshane Dalling, but he could only blast his shot wide after making space for himself.
The Rooks continued to push for the opening goal in the final minute of the half, with De-Graft getting in behind the Cray defence only to see his effort deflected wide of the near post.
Tanner took the resulting corner, which appeared to be punched over the line by Vose under pressure from Joe Taylor, giving Lewes a 1-0 lead with the final action of the half.
The Lewes pressure continued after the break and they doubled their lead on 54 minutes, winning the ball high up the pitch before working it to the right to De-Graft, who cut inside and sent a perfectly-placed curling strike past Vose and in off the inside of the far post.
Lewes managed the game reasonably well for the remainder of the 90 minutes, keeping possession and restricting the visitors to mainly long-range efforts that didn’t trouble Lewis Carey.
The closest Cray came to mounting a comeback saw Freddy Barton shoot over the bar after Carey had only been able to parry a powerful Luca Albon effort.
The Rooks came close to adding to their lead in the closing stages, with Taylor just unable to make a significant enough connection with a Tanner cross to force the ball past Vose.
This was the final meaningful action of a game that Lewes deservedly won to stay third in the table.
Highlights from Your Instant Replay can be viewed here.
You can read the progcast here
More pictures from James Boyes can be found here.
Next up for the Rooks is a trip to Hornchurch on Saturday, kick-off at 3pm.
Lewes: Carey, Spencer, Carlse, Salmon, Nelson, Klass, Phipp, Dalling (Pettit 70), Tanner (Allen 87), De-Graft, Taylor.
Unused Subs: Yao, Hall, Gillies.
Cray Wanderers: Vose, Barton, Aidoo, Bakrin, Hanfrey, Albon (Reason 70), Dickson (Desa 75), Cook, Brodie, Yila (Reid 84), Munting.
Unused Subs: Oduguwa, Danquah.