The Rooks returned to winning ways on the road after a comprehensive win against Cheshunt in the torrential rain in Hertfordshire, reports Stuart Fuller.
Joint managers Tony Coade and Ross Standen were able to welcome back Charlie Coppola and Peter Gregory from the team who lost in the FA Trophy at Folkestone Invicta last Saturday, with Dayshonne Golding out with a hamstring injury and Teddy Bloor missing due to a slight knock.
The Rooks started the game in a confident manner, playing against Cheshunt and the elements, and could have taken the lead in the second minute when Camara caught Ilic late, picking up a yellow card in the process. James Hammond’s free-kick cleared the wall but the Cheshunt keeper Girling managed to grab the ball at the second attempt.
Lewes played with confidence in the first half, stretching the play with Coppola, Ilic and Redwood seeing a lot of the ball, with the midfield trio effectively breaking up any Cheshunt attacks. Redwood was almost in on goal in the 10th minute but a last-gasp tackle from Cronin saw the ball played out for a Rooks corner. Two minutes later the Rooks left-back’s whipped in cross appeared to strike the hand of Hughes but the referee waved away the protests for a penalty.
In the 31st minute Camara caught Hammo slightly late and saw a second, quite harsh, yellow and the home side were reduced to ten men. The Rooks saw their opportunity and finally made their possession pay in the 36th minute when Gregory didn’t give up the ghost on a ball racing towards the touchline, pulling it back to Charlie Coppola who flicked it neatly into the six-yard box. Hammo’s first and second efforts were saved by the keeper but when the ball came back to him for a third time, he made no mistake and the Rooks had the lead.
Alex Malins came within a whisker of doubling the Lewes lead in the 40th minute when his flick from Stefan’s corner flew narrowly wide, whilst Peter Gregory almost had his first goal in a Rooks shirt after being played in by Hammo. In injury time Stefan Ilic created space for himself in the area but the keeper saved smartly. From the resulting corner, Stefan played the ball back to Leon whose cross/shot (depending on who you believe) flew over the pack in the area and caught Girling off his line to double the lead for the Rooks.
As the weather worsened in the second half then the Rooks passing game became harder. They could have scored a third when Cronin almost put the ball into his own net after a wicked Ilic cross, whilst Alex Malins just failed to divert the ball into the net from close range from a Hammo free-kick. At the other end Nathan made a smart stop from the marauding Moss when he was through on goal.
Cheshunt keeper Girling had to be on top form to deny the Rooks a third, making saves from Gregory and Onovwigun within the space of 30 seconds. The driving rain essentially killed the contest in the last ten minutes with neither side able to string passes together and it was a welcome relief to all Rooks fans and players when the final whistle blew. Three points, a clean sheet and an impressive performance to boot.
Post match Tony Coade spoke to Stuart Fuller about the game.
The Rooks start their Sussex Senior Cup campaign on Wednesday night when they host Three Bridges at the Dripping Pan, kick off 7:45pm before hosting Wingate & Finchley next Saturday at The Pan back in the Isthmian Premier League, kick off 3pm.
Cheshunt: Girling, Udoji, Williams, Hughes Cronin, Moncur (Nelson-Roberts 32 mins), Re, Camara, Moss, Tarh (Akindayini 80mins), Lalor-Dell (Mills 62 mins)
Subs not used: McKenzie, Chambers
Booked: Camara, Re
Sent off: Camara
Lewes: Stroomberg-Clark, Day, Redwood, Dome-Bemwin, Chappell, Malins, Ilic (Mongoy 74 mins), Hammond, Gregory, Onovwigun, Coppola
Subs not used: Diedrick-Roberts, Freeman, Santos
Attendance: 175 (33 Rooks fans)