A late equaliser from Kieron Pamment saw ten-man Lewes come from behind to earn a hard-fought draw at Bognor in a competitive Sussex derby at Nyewood Lane, reports Tom Harper.
Darren Freeman made two changes to the side that lost 3-2 at Merstham in their previous game, with Stacey Freeman and Michael Dome-Bemwin replacing Steve Brinkhurst and Luke Blewden in the starting line-up.
Lewes started brightly and went close early on through James Hammond, whose powerful strike from the edge of the area went just over the bar after good hold-up play by Jonte Smith.
The Rooks took the lead after 11 minutes, as good incisive build-up play down the left ended with Dayshonne Golding seeing his effort which appeared to be going wide deflected past Dan Lincoln in the Bognor goal by Theo Widdrington and into the back of the net.
The hosts came into the game more as the half progressed, with Lewis Carey forced into action twice in quick succession to deny Dan Smith.
The movement of Bognor’s front four always looked like it could cause the Rooks problems, and the hosts saw Jimmy Muitt shoot just wide of the far post with only Carey to beat as they looked to find an equaliser before half-time.
Despite this, the final opportunity of the half fell to Lewes, with Hammond forcing a smart save from Lincoln with a powerful 25-yard strike.
The Rooks started the second half brightly and saw Stacey Freeman miss the target with a curling effort from just inside the area after the Bognor defence had been unable to clear a Kieron Pamment free-kick.
Lewes’ task became much harder after 54 minutes, as Golding was shown a straight red card for an off the ball incident involving Joe Tomlinson.
This unsurprisingly galvanised the hosts, who saw Widdrington send a free-kick from the edge of the area just wide.
Bognor equalised after 68 minutes through Tomlinson, who found space in the area to finish into the roof of the net from close range after Lewes had been unable to clear a dangerous cross.
Tomlinson completed Bognor’s comeback six minutes later, volleying past Carey from just inside the area after a deep cross from the right had been chested into his path.
It would have been easy for Lewes heads to drop at this stage, but the Rooks kept working to stay in the game heading into the closing stages.
The Rooks were able to find an equaliser after 79 minutes, as a Henri Wilder cross from the left picked out Pamment, who took a touch past a defender before beating Lincoln from close range to level the scores.
Bognor lost their numerical advantage with five minutes remaining, as Ed Sanders was shown a second yellow card for bringing down Smith as the last man.
Smith headed the resulting free-kick, taken by Pamment, against the bar and with the hosts struggling to completely clear their lines, Pamment saw a long-range strike parried by Lincoln into the path of Freeman, who could only hit the side-netting from a tight angle.
Bognor saw a lot of the ball during the five minutes of added time at the end of the game and came close to winning it, as Dan Smith glanced a header from a left-wing Tomlinson cross just wide of the far post.
Lewes held on to record a hard-fought point and move back up to second in the Bostik Premier table.
After the game, boss Darren Freeman was once again full of praise for the way the team defended under pressure.
Next up for the Rooks is another Sussex derby when they welcome Burgess Hill Town to the Pan on New Year’s Day, kick-off at 3pm.
Bognor Regis Town: Lincoln, Sanders, Tomlinson, Tuck, Field, Whyte, Widdrington, D. Smith, Muitt, Lethbridge, Walsh (Scutt 83).
Unused Subs: Wild, Osborne.
Sent off: Sanders.
Lewes: Carey, Day, Wilder, Dome-Bemwin (Reed 46), Chappell, Freeman, Pamment, Hammond, J. Smith, Lawson, Golding.
Unused Subs: Wilson, Elliott, Blewden, Redwood.
Booked: Wilder, Chappell, Lawson.
Sent off: Golding.
Referee: James Robinson
Attendance: 731 – Approx 70 Rooks fans