Goals from Tom Day and Dan Darbyshire in the final 15 minutes, as well as a first-half penalty save from Lewis Carey, helped Lewes pick up their first home league win of the season with an impressive 2-0 victory over Folkestone Invicta at the Pan, reports Tom Harper.
Darren Freeman made one change to the side that had won 5-1 at AFC Hornchurch in their previous game, with Stacey Freeman replacing the injured Leon Redwood in the starting line-up, a change which saw Day moved across to left-back and Freeman partner Frankie Chappell at the heart of the Lewes defence.
Without playing at their best, Lewes were the better side during the opening stages and saw both Luke Blewden and Omarr Lawson denied by Tim Roberts in the visitor’s goal early on.
Roberts was called into action again midway through the half to parry a close-range effort from Ronnie Conlon, before gathering Jonte Smith’s effort on the rebound at the end of an incisive Lewes counter-attack.
Folkestone grew into the game as the half progressed though, with Kieron McCann cutting in from the left and forcing a fine save from Lewis Carey with a powerful shot from the edge of the area.
The visitors were handed an excellent chance to take the lead just after the half-hour mark, as Stacey Freeman fouled Adam Yusuff in the penalty area, leaving referee Jim Paterson with little choice but to point to the spot.
Yusuff took the penalty himself, but saw Carey guess correctly and dive to his left to keep out the spot-kick.
Carey made an even better save minutes later to prevent Kane Rowland finding the top corner with a close-range header, as the visitors looked to find the opening goal.
Lewes were keen to make the most of these let-offs and should arguably have taken the lead just before the break, as Smith latched onto a Conlon through-ball but missed the target with only Roberts to beat.
The final action of the half saw Folkestone nearly take the lead in fortunate circumstances, with an over-hit right-wing cross from Finn O’Mara coming back off the top of the bar before eventually being cleared.
There were few chances of note for much of the second half and it took over 20 minutes for either goalkeeper to be forced into meaningul action, as Carey got down well to his right to keep out a Ronnie Dolan strike.
Just as the game appeared to be petering out slightly, Lewes took the lead after 76 minutes. Tom Day was the scorer, sending a sliced volley past Roberts after an attempted Callum Davies clearing header from a left-wing Lawson cross had found him unmarked at the far post.
The Rooks doubled their lead just five minutes later, with Dan Darbyshire latching onto a through-ball from fellow substitute Declan Appau and wrong-footing Roberts with his close-range strike.
Lewes saw out the closing stages comfortably and could even have added to their lead, Appau shooting just wide from the edge of the area at the end of an excellent passing move.
This was an impressive win for the Rooks, who saw Lewis Carey produce a superb first-half performance before making the most of their chances late on to secure a hard-earned three points.
After the game Barry Collins spoke to Darren Freeman about the win and how the side had bounced back after a shaky start to October.
Saturday’s e-programme can also be viewed here.
Highlights of the game will be available here from midday on Sunday.
Pictures from the game can be found here thanks to James Boyes.
Next up for Lewes is a short trip to Whitehawk on Tuesday, kick-off at 7.45pm.
Lewes: Carey, Brinkhurst, Day, Dome-Bemwin, Chappell, Freeman, Blewden (Darbyshire 61), Lawson, Smith, Conlon (Reed 82), Hammond (Appau 57).
Unused subs: Elliott, Karl.
Folkestone Invicta: Roberts, Vincent (Paxman 7), O’Mara, Newman, Davies, Dolan, Hasler, Everitt (Draycott 83), Rowland (Ter Horst 63), Yusuff, McCann.
Unused subs: Madden, Shaw.
Referee: Jim Paterson