In their first game in front of fans for over five months, Lewes produced an encouraging display to continue their pre-season preparations with a 6-2 win at Eastbourne United, reports Tom Harper.
The Rooks started brightly and took the lead after just five minutes through Aaron Cosgrave, who latched onto a Ronnie Conlon through-ball before lifting the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
The hosts made a similarly lively start though, and were level four minutes later, as a Jack Murphy cross from the left was converted at the far post by Panashe Makwiramiti.
Despite the best efforts of Storm Francis, both sides were getting the ball down and attempting to play out from the back.
Lewes were enjoying the majority of possession and went close twice in quick succession midway through the half, with Conlon seeing a curling strike from the edge of the area come back off the post, before Player A was denied by United goalkeeper Jordan Hawkins at his near post.
The Rooks regained their lead minutes later, as Hawkins could only parry a powerful Conlon effort away as far as Player A, who finished on the rebound from close range.
Hawkins had to be alert again approaching half-time to save from Brad Santos after he had been played through on goal.
Lewes doubled their lead just before the break through Ross Barclay, who headed a Conlon cross into the bottom corner at the far post.
There were no substitutes made by Lewes at half-time, and they started the second half in the same way they had finished the first, with Santos seeing an effort from the edge of the area deflected just wide within a minute of the restart.
Hugo Langton made a number of changes around the hour mark but the Rooks continued to attack in numbers and they increased their lead further on 69 minutes, as Luke Blewden dispossessed a defender before playing in Cosgrave to finish.
The same duo combined two minutes later to make it 5-1, with Blewden beating the goalkeeper to a Jay Popham through-ball and teeing up Cosgrave to complete his hat-trick with a deflected strike.
Lewes scored their sixth in slightly fortunate circumstances in the final ten minutes, as a deflected Conlon cross forced the United goalkeeper into a smart save, but he could only push the ball onto an onrushing defender and into the back of the net.
The hosts continued to work hard though, and pulled a goal back with a couple of minutes remaining, as Toby Guest capitalised on a defensive mix-up to finish from close range.
This was an encouraging performance from Lewes, who always looked dangerous going forward and played some excellent football at times in difficult conditions.
Lewes continue their pre-season preparations at Corinthian (Note: not Corinthian Casuals) on Saturday, kick-off at 3pm. Corinthian encourage any fans who plan to attend to buy tickets in advance from their website.
Lewes: Stroomberg-Clarke (Lockyear 60), Beresford (Player B 58), D’Arienzo, Malins, Frimpong, Santos (Blewden 60), Barclay (Player C), Conlon (Popham 60), Cosgrave, Player A (Conlon 75), Ferreira.