A superb first-half performance saw Lewes record an emphatic 5-0 win over Brightlingsea Regent at the Pan to go top of the Bostik Premier table, reports Tom Harper.
Darren Freeman made one change to the side that won 2-1 at Bishop’s Stortford in their previous game, with Luke Blewden replacing Michael Dome-Bemwin in the starting line-up.
Lewes started brightly but were restricted mainly to efforts from distance early on, Omarr Lawson going closest with a strike from the edge of the area that went just wide.
The Rooks took the lead after 14 minutes through Luke Blewden, who found the back of the net with a close-range header on the rebound after Jonte Smith had seen a powerful shot at the end of an incisive passing move pushed onto the underside of the bar by James Bradbrook in the Regent goal.
Lewes doubled their lead less than a minute later, as Blewden won the ball back and found Smith, who played in Dayshonne Golding down the right to squeeze the ball betwen Bradbrook and his near post to make it 2-0 to the Rooks after only 15 minutes.
It was 3-0 after 23 minutes, Blewden meeting a Kieron Pamment corner with a thumping near-post header which flew past Bradbrook and into the back of the net.
The Rooks were playing some outstanding football and nearly increased their lead further minutes later, as Bradbrook was forced into a smart save to prevent Matt Cripps turning a Golding cross into his own net.
Blewden was the next player to go close for Lewes, shooting just over after more good pressing had seen him win the ball on the edge of the Regent area.
Lewes were able to make it 4-0 three minutes before the break in spectacular fashion, as Stacey Freeman found the top corner with a superb 25-yard strike after being teed up by Frankie Chappell.
The Rooks capped an exceptional first-half display by scoring a fifth goal in the final minute of the half, Henri Wilder crossing from the left for Smith to head past Bradbrook from close range.
After such an impressive first half, it was always going to be difficult for Lewes to continue in the same manner after the break, with there being very little goalmouth action for long periods of the second half.
The best opportunties that were created continued to fall to the Rooks though, as substitute Tom Day saw a header blocked in the six-yard box, before Steve Brinkhurst shot over from the edge of the area after a mesmerising run from inside his own half just minutes later.
Lewes’ best chance to extend their lead came in the final five minutes, as Harry Reed drew Bradbrook off his line before squaring for Golding. Unfortunately for the majority of the crowd, the ball hit a bobble and Golding could only put his effort over the bar in what was the final meaningful action of the game.
This was a superb performance from Lewes, who produced some excellent attacking football throughout the first half and managed the game well after the break, with Lewis Carey remaining relatively untroubled all evening.
Post match, Darren was delighted with the showing when he spoke to Barry Collins.
You can read the E-Prog from last night’s game here.
James Boyes’s pictures from the game can be found here.
The Rooks will hope to build on this when they welcome Margate to the Pan on Saturday, kick-off at 3pm.
Lewes: Carey, Brinkhurst, Wilder, Hammond (Day 28), Chappell, Freeman, Pamment, Blewden (Elliott 53), Smith (Reed 59), Lawson, Golding.
Unused Subs: Karl, Barclay.
Brightlingsea Regent: Bradbrook, Griggs, Jake Gould, Barnett, Josh Gould, Cripps, Condon (Banner 75), Turner (Hargreaves 83), Hunt, Morgan, Gelashvili.
Unused subs: Yaxley, Hodd.
Booked: Josh Gould.
Referee: George Warren