Lewes lost to serial opponents Bristol City 3-0 at the Dripping Pan on Sunday, with three goals in the second half seeing the points depart for the South West.
The match was summed up perfectly by manager Craig Gill when he said: “I thought it was a proverbial game of two halves if I’m honest.”
Proverbial it was.
“We were by far the better team in the first half, caused them some problems, certainly the ball was primarily in there in their half the pitch territorially for the first 45 minutes,” Gill added.
The Rooks had two fantastic opportunities in the first half to see the net ripple, both manufactured from brilliant team moves.
The first fell to Paula Howells who – after controlling the ball beautifully on the right before cutting inside her opponent – unleashed a dipping, swerving bullet that cannoned off the crossbar with the Bristol goalkeeper failing to get anywhere near the effort.
The second was a well-worked corner routine, where a flick-on at the near post was agonisingly put wide by Georgia Timms at the back.
As the whistle for half time went, the players were able to walk into the dressing room proud of the dominant performance they gave against the team second in the league. As Gill had said, the ball was predominantly played in the City half and the only chance that Bristol did have, a strong header from six yards out, was dynamically saved by Laura Hartley as she leapt across the goal mouth to swat away the goal-bound effort.
Difficult second half
Alas, we return to the proverb of the game of two halves.
After a strong first ten minutes after the break, City started to dominate and Ffion Morgan scored a brace before Abi Harrison got the third.
“Of course you look at the goals that we conceded, extremely disappointing really, individual errors and also not closing players down quick enough, particularly for the shots obviously,” said Gill.
“And it’s those lessons that we need to learn and I keep saying it, but we need to learn those lessons very, very, quickly individually and collectively, because otherwise we’ll end up with the same results which nobody wants, certainly not me.
“We spoke before the game about believing in our processes, believing in our playing philosophy and our game model, and I think at times today – especially in the second half – we went away from that.”
Positive planning for Palace clash
Despite the result, Gill believes the Rooks can build on that first-half performance and says he will take away positives ahead of the next clash, at home to Crystal Palace on Sunday.
“I think we need to probably play to those principles more because we know they can be successful and we can be really be effective playing to that game model and that game plan,” Craig added.
“So I think at times we need to be a little bit more disciplined, we need to be a little bit more constructive in the final third, and then when the opportunity presents obviously take our chances.”
One big positive from the game was the performance of Rebecca McKenna, who Lewes Supporters club named their player of the match, and Gill agreed her performance was one of the best.
“Rebecca McKenna’s been superb since I arrived at the football club. She has always played at that sort of level of seven or eight out of ten on a weekly basis,” Gill noted.
“She never lets anybody down, is very neat in possession, combative without the ball and is someone you can rely on, week in, week out and obviously that was evident again today.”
It may be a loss this week, but the club now looks to the next. We hope to see you at the Dripping Pan again on Sunday as we take on Crystal Palace at 2pm.
Lewes FC vs Crystal Palace tickets
Tickets for the game, which kicks off at 2pm on Sunday, are available to buy now online (at a discount). £11 Adults, £7 concessions U16’s free!
Lewes FC tickets
Come on you Rooks!!
Report by Tai Kolade
Photos by James Boyes
United for a common cause
Players on both teams carried sunflowers on to the pitch this weekend to represent solidarity with the Ukraine, handing them to the crowd ahead of kick-off. Sunflowers, the national flower of Ukraine which has also become a symbol of resistance. Collection buckets were present at this game and our men’s game against Worthing and raised over £1000 for the British Red Cross Humanitarian effort and the Disaster Emergency Committee
If you’d like to donate you can do so here
British Red Cross Ukraine Effort