Lewes produced a superb first-half performance to comfortably beat National League South side Hampton & Richmond Borough 3-0 at the Pan and progress into the FA Cup fourth qualifying round, reports Tom Harper (pictures: James Boyes).
Tony Russell named an unchanged side after Tuesday’s impressive 3-1 win over Hastings United.
Both sides eased their way into the game without really stretching the opposition defence.
The first opening of the game fell to Lewes, who saw Kalvin Lumbombo-Kalala draw a smart save from Adam Desbois at the end of a slick counter-attack.
The Rooks remained on the front foot and took the lead on 18 minutes, Bradley Pritchard floating a free-kick in from the left that Arthur Penney headed goalwards and into the corner with the help of a deflection off a covering defender.
Lewes nearly doubled their lead immediately, as Deon Moore found space down the right and saw his initial cross blocked, before blasting his strike on the rebound over the bar.
The Rooks were controlling the game at this stage and made it 2-0 on 40 minutes, an excellent move down the right ending with Tommy Wood crossing for Pritchard to finish from close range at the second attempt.
It got even better for Lewes a minute before half-time as their dominance was rewarded with a third goal, another patient but incisive spell of possession ending with Harvey Hughes cutting the ball back for Marcus Sablier to finish emphatically into the bottom corner.
After such a scintillating first half, it was perhaps unsurprising that the second saw fewer clear-cut chances with Lewes continuing to look untroubled at the back.
The better of the opportunities that were created continued to fall to the Rooks though, with Ayo Olukoga seeeing a strike deflected just wide after a superb underlapping run down the right saw him latch onto a through-ball from Moore.
The visitors were finding it hard to gain any kind of foothold in the game, but missed a gilt-edged chance to start a comeback when the unmarked Ben Seymour could only guide his header from an Alex Fernandez cross wide.
This seemed to give Lewes even more of an impetus to look for a fourth goal, with fine moves ending with both Moore and Penney respectively narrowly missing the target.
Nathan Harvey was called into action for the first time in the closing stages, helping a deflected Alfy Whittingham shot round the post.
This was the closest the visitors would come to mounting a comeback though, with Lewes managing the closing stages comfortably and coming close to ending with a flourish, as Moore headed a Hughes cross into the side-netting at the far post.
The final whistle was greeted with jubilant scenes among players and supporters alike, with Lewes now able to look ahead to the FA Cup fourth qualifying round draw on Monday, as the National League sides enter the competition.
Lewes are in cup action again next Saturday when they welcome Isthmian Division One North side Lowestoft Town to the Pan in the FA Trophy third qualifying round, kick-off at 3pm.
Lewes: Harvey, Olukoga, Vint, Elliott, Hughes, Penney, Pritchard, Sablier (Tamplin 77), Moore, Lumbombo-Kalala (Dalling 82), Wood.
Unused Subs: Egan, Murtagh, Whelpdale, Panyi, Salmon.
Booked: Hughes, Wood.
Hampton & Richmond Borough: Desbois, Whittingham, Pitblado, Donaldson, Inman (Cheadle 46), Fernandez, Hall (Soloman 38), Seymour, Gray, Deafield, Vazagashvilli (Hunt 46).
Unused Subs: Kurran-Brown, Wishart, Comley, Davies.
Booked: Cheadle, Deadfield.