Written by: Stuart
Lewes crashed out of the FA Trophy on penalties after surrendering an early two-goal lead against local rivals Bognor Regis Town at the Pan, reports Tom Harper
The Rooks made a bright start and took the lead after just two minutes through Razz Coleman De-Graft, who cut inside from the left before unleashing a superb strike into the far corner.
Lewes could have doubled their lead minutes later when De-Graft sent a volley on the turn just wide.
The Rooks did make it 2-0 on 12 minutes, as they won the ball back high up the pitch and teed up Joe Taylor to finish past Toby Steward.
Conceding a second goal seemed to wake up the visitors who pulled a goal just five minutes later, Tom Chalaye controlling a cross from James Crane before firing a low shot into the bottom corner.
Lewes saw plenty of the ball for the remainder of the half and came close to regaining their two-goal advantage just before the break, Steward reacting well to keep out a close-range effort from Taylor.
The visitors started the second half brightly and were awarded a penalty on 52 minutes when Will Salmon tripped Nathan Odokonyero as he attempted to latch onto a ball in behind.
Odokonyero took the penalty himself and converted it emphatically to level the scores.
Bognor were enjoying their best spell of the game, moving the ball quickly and always looking capable of getting in behind the Lewes defence.
Isaac Olaniyan was enjoying a particularly impressive game for the visitors and only just missed the target with a powerful 30-yard strike.
Lewes began to see more of the ball as the half progressed though, and saw Steward save bravely at the feet of De-Graft after excellent play in midfield by Ayo Olukoga.
Steward had to be alert again minutes later to make a slightly more comfortable save, parrying a powerful De-Graft strike.
The Rooks continued to apply pressure and saw Steward make another fine stop, this time to help an effort from Olukoga round the post.
The visitors were unable to completely clear the resulting corner, but Jack Skinner sliced his half-volley wide from just inside the box.
Both sides could have been forgiven for settling for penalties heading into the closing stages, but they continued to push for a winner in normal time.
It was Bognor who came closest late on, Olaniyan sending a long-range strike just over, before a cross from the right took a wicked deflection off Tom Champion, hit the inside of the post and landed at the feet of Lewis Carey.
Carey then had to be alert to push another Olaniyan effort from distance round the post. The resulting corner dropped to the feet of Cameron Black, but he blasted his half-volley over the crossbar with the final meaningful chance of the game, meaning the tie would be decided by penalties.
Both sides made a good start to the shoot-out, scoring the first two spot-kicks – Odokonyero and Bradley Lethbridge converting for Bognor, and Jamie Mascoll and Taylor scoring for Lewes.
Craig Robson converted the visitor’s third penalty, but Mitchell Nelson saw his saved twice by Steward after it had to be re-taken due to the goalkeeper being off his line.
Olaniyan scored Bognor’s fourth, meaning Steward’s save from Marcel Elva-Foutaine ensured the visitors won the shoot-out 4-2 to progress to the next round.
More pictures from James Boyes can be found here.
The highlights, thanks to Your Instant Replay, can be found here.
You can read the Progcast here
Lewes return to league action when they visit Potters Bar Town on Tuesday, kick-off at 7.45pm.
Lewes: Carey, Renee, Mascoll, Champion, Salmon, Young, Hyde (Oluloga 39), Skinner (Elva-Fountaine 87), Addy (Nelson 90), De-Graft, Taylor.
Unused Sub: Hall.
Bognor Regis Town: Steward, De St Croix, Crane (Rabbetts 84), Bragg, Black, Robson, Whyte (Lethbridge 90), Olaniyan, Odokonyero, Chalaye, Bridgman (Robinson 74).
Unused Subs: Howick, Holland.