An excellent defensive performance and a second-half goal from Luke Blewden helped Lewes secure their first victory of the season with a 1-0 triumph over Margate at the Pan, reports Tom Harper.
Hugo Langton made three changes to the side that had drawn 1-1 at Bowers & Pitsea in their previous game, with Nathan Stroomberg-Clarke, Ronnie Conlon and the returning Alex Malins replacing Mitchell Beeney, Nic D’Arienzo and Tom Bolarinwa in the starting line-up.
The first half saw few clear-cut chances for either side, with Lewes happy to allow Margate possession and then look to hit them on the break.
The first opportunity of the game fell to the Rooks, who saw a curling effort from Ronnie Conlon pushed over the bar by Bailey Vose in the Margate goal.
The visitors started to pose more of a threat in the final third as the half progressed with Malins forced into a last-ditch clearance to divert a John Ufuah cross just wide of his own goal.
Ufuah should arguably have done better when presented with a chance himself minutes later, but put his half-volley over the bar after a half-cleared corner fell to him in space in the area.
Lewes started the second half brightly and saw Aaron Cosgrave test Vose from the edge of the area after winning the ball back high up the pitch.
The Rooks had to remain alert at the back though, and were forced into some committed last-ditch defending inside their own six-yard box just before the hour after a cross from the right was headed back across goal.
Chances were generally few and far between as the half progressed, but Margate came close to taking the lead with 20 minutes remaining, as Stroomberg-Clarke made a smart save to keep out a powerful Ufuah strike.
Lewes made the most of this by taking the lead on 73 minutes, as a James Beresford cross from the left was headed goalwards by Luke Blewden and took a deflection off Ben Swift to help the ball loop over Vose and into the back of the net.
Margate seemed to attempt a more direct approach in the closing stages as they looked to find an equaliser, but the Rooks defended superbly and ensured Stroomberg-Clarke didn’t have another save to make as they held on to record their first victory of the season.
Lewes will hope to build on this result when they travel to Potters Bar Town on Saturday, kick-off at 3pm.
Lewes: Stroomberg-Clarke, Walsh, Beresford, Bosma, Frimpong, Malins, Santos (Redwood 61), Arthurs, Cosgrave, Blewden, Conlon.
Unused Subs: Owusu-Nepaul, James-Lewis, Wakley.
Margate: Vose, Egole, Porter, Prestedge, Friend, Swift, Carey (Leighton 61), Moncur, Ufuah (Hatton 81), Evans, Richards.
Unused Subs: Kallmeier, Steele.
Booked: Moncur, Leighton.
Referee: Barrie Small