A Ronnie Conlon goal just two minutes from time was enough to give the Rooks a 1-0 win against a resolute Chipstead side, reports Stuart Fuller.
Darren Freeman made just one change from the starting XI that had won against Faversham Town last Saturday, with Jonte Smith ruled out with a knee injury, replaced by Billy Medlock.
It was a frustrating opening quarter, with neither side able to weather the conditions and the heavy pitch. Winterton was the busier of the two goal keepers, making saves from Bell and Lelor-Dell. The home side were forced into an early change with Maclean unable to continue after falling awkwardly, replaced by Allan Tait. At the other end, Billy Medlock was booked for a late challenge on Felix.
The Rooks best chances came from set-pieces, although both efforts from Hammond and Redwood sailed over the bar.
Half-time saw Darren Freeman make a tactical change with Bouwe Bosma withdrawn for Charlie Coppola, looking to stretch the play. The Rooks certainly had more of the ball in the opening spells of the half but they still struggled to break down the solid centre-half pairing of Page and Gunner.
Jamie Brotherton made way for Ronnie Conlon with twenty minutes to play and he was able to use his pace to get behind the full-back on a couple of occasions although the final ball couldn’t find its way to Billy Medlock or any other blue shirt.
With ten minutes remaining, Chipstead right-back brought down Lawson on the edge of the box and received his second yellow card, reducing the home side to ten men. From the resulting free-kick, Redwood’s effort sailed over the bar.
Darren made his last change with eight minutes to go, bringing on George Landais for James Hammond, looking to expose the space down the left-hand side after the sending off of Khan. The substitution paid dividends as with just two minutes left on the clock the ball finally found its way to Conlon just inside the area after some pinball involving Landais and his low shot was deflected into the net. The Rooks had left it late but the relief was clear to see from the celebrations of the team which saw the goal-scorer booked for his part.
The last few minutes saw The Rooks control the ball and despite a late series of corners that saw Chipstead’s goal keeper join the attack, Lewes held on to take all three points in one of their toughest tests of the season.
The Rooks head to Bromley next Saturday for the top of the table clash with Cray Wanderers.
Picture thanks to the magic lens of James Boyes.
Chipstead: Sibley, Khan, Felix, Cumber, Page, Gunner, Adaje, Maclean (Robinson – 19mins), Bell, Lodge (Tait – 67mins), Lalor-Dell (Cascoe – 82mins)
Subs not used: Doukoure, Smith
Booked: Khan, Page
Lewes: Winterton, Brinkhurst, Redwood, Hammond (Landais – 82mins), Chappell, Wilson, Bosma (Coppola – 46mins), Sow, Medlock, Brotherton (Conlon – 70mins), Lawson
Subs not used: Reed, Cotton
Booked: Medlock, Conlon
Attendance: 132 (78 Rooks)