An encouraging second-half performance wasn’t enough to help Lewes end their recent poor run, as they slipped to a controversial 1-0 defeat at home to Bognor, reports Tom Harper.
Hugo Langton handed new signing Daniel Olusemo a start, and was also able to include Leon Redwood in the side after his return from injury.
The game got off to the worst possible start for Lewes, who fell behind inside two minutes, as Dan Smith sent a glancing header from a left-wing cross across Nathan Stroomberg-Clarke and into the bottom corner.
Unsurprisingly, this early goal galvanised the visitors, with Alex Malins forced into a fine last-ditch challenge to prevent Joshua Flint getting a shot away when clean through on goal.
Bognor continued to look like adding to their lead as the half progressed, as Stroomberg-Clarke was forced into a fine double-save to deny Bradley Lethbridge and Harvey Whyte.
Lewes began to come into the game more in the lead-up to half-time, with Dimitri Hatimouratis forcing Bognor goalkeeper Amadou Tangara into his first meaningful action of the game with a low strike from a tight angle after exchanging passes with Aaron Cosgrave.
The Rooks started the second half brightly and saw both Billy Medlock and Dayshonne Golding send attempts over the bar as they looked to find an equaliser.
Lewes came even closer to levelling the scores minutes later, as Medlock dispossessed Jerry Puemo before seeing his strike saved by Tangara, with Hatimouratis’ effort on the rebound being blocked by the recovering Puemo.
Despite carrying much more of an attacking threat after the break, Lewes still needed to be wary of the visitor’s quality in the final third, and saw Stroomberg-Clarke make no fewer than four fine saves throughout the second half as Bognor looked for a second goal to secure the points.
Lewes continued to push for a goal themselves though, with Tangara making two saves in quick succession to deny Hatzimouratis and Medlock.
The moment of controversy arrived as the game moved into the final ten minutes, as Cosgrave rounded Tangara, only to see Puemo claw the ball off the line with his hand.
Despite the protests of the Lewes players and fans behind the goal, the referee only awarded the Rooks a corner.
Lewes dominated the closing stages, with Leon Redwood drawing a smart save from Tangara and Medlock seeing his effort on the rebound blocked.
The final chance of the game fell to the Rooks but they were once again denied by Tangara, who pushed a goal-bound header from a Golding corner wide.
Highlights can be viewed here.
Hugo’s post-match interview can be viewed here.
Tonight’s Progcast can be viewed here.
Lewes will hope to build on an encouraging second-half display when they visit Wingate & Finchley on Saturday, kick-off at 3pm.
Lewes: Stroomberg-Clarke, Day, Redwood, Hammond, Malins, Frimpong, Olusemo (Francis-Adeyinka 46), Hatzimouratis, Cosgrave, Medlock (Conlon 81), Golding.
Unused Subs: D’Arienzo, Freeman, Yeboah.
Booked: Redwood, Golding.
Bognor Regis Town: Tangara, Kavanagh, Crane, Dinsmore (Mendoza 89), Puemo, Wood, Whyte, T. Leigh, Smith, Flint (Shema 84), Lethbridge (A. Leigh 70).
Unused Sub: Wakley.
Booked: Crane, Puemo, Lethbridge.
Attendance: 278 (Approx. 25 Bognor Regis fans)