A goal in each half was enough to give Lewes a good away win at Bishop’s Stortford in an eventful Isthmian League Premier Division game, reports Stuart Fuller.
Co-managers Ross Standen and Tony Coade made two changes to the team that lost last week at Kingstonian with the unavailable Charlie Coppola replaced by the fit again James Hammond whilst Peter Gregory dropped to the bench in favour of Leon Redwood, with Tom Day moving from left to right back. There was a spot on the bench for the returning striker Billy Medlock.
The home side lined up with former Rook Shomari Barnwell up front, playing alongside the evergreen Jamie Cureton and it was clear from early in the game that they were looking for the big man, with centre-backs Alex Malins and Frankie Chappell being kept busy. However it was the Rooks that drew first blood in the 7th minute when a strong run down the right-hand side from Dayshonne Golding pulled the Bishop’s Stortford defence out of position. His cross was cleared but only to Michael Dome-Bemwin 25 yards out and his powerful, but wayward shot struck a defender, wrong-footing the goal keeper and giving Lewes the lead.
Five minutes later Lewes came within a whisker of a second when James Hammond’s free-kick was deflected by the wall and almost onto the boot of Jordy Mongoy. Tegan Freeman, only making his second start for the Rooks was harshly booked in the 20th minute for winning a fifty-fifty ball, arguably the Rooks first foul of the game whilst the officials were happy to let much worse go unpunished for the home side.
A string of attacking play by the home side saw a flurry of corners but between the back four and Nathan Stroomberg the danger was dealt with. A good exchange of passes between Dayshonne and Hammo saw the latter curl a ball around a defender and almost beat the keeper whilst at the other end Stroomberg was in the right place at the right time to deny Cureton. Barmwell saw yellow for clattering into Leon Redwood whilst a minute later Stroomberg took out Cureton as he headed the ball over the keeper’s head and into the net only for the Linesman to have already flagged for offside.
Tegan Freeman was withdrawn at half-time having picked up an arm injury in the first half, and his replacement Kane Diedrick-Roberts almost made the perfect start to his match bursting through onto a pass from Jordy Mongoy but blasting the ball over the bar when clean through on goal. The Rooks had lost their first-half momentum and struggled to deal with the direct play from the home side, with balls frequently flashing across the area. The Lewes defence held firm though and finally got a second in the 72nd minute when a superb run and cross from Dayshonne Golding was met powerfully by the head of Stefan Ilic sending the ball into the corner of the net.
With ten minutes to play the home side were awarded a penalty but Barmwell’s free-kick was well saved by Nathan, diving down to his right. Within seconds of the game restarting there was confusion as the referee called both benches together. It appears the man in the middle had picked up an injury and could no longer continue so after a lengthy pause, the Stortford Chairman donned his referee’s kit and took over from one of the linesmen.
A nervy last ten minutes which saw the return to the pitch of Billy Medlock, plus over five minutes of injury time, saw the Rooks hold firm and take all three points, plus a clean sheet to boot.
Next up for The Rooks is the visit of Folkestone Invicta next Saturday at The Pan, kick off 3pm.
Bishop’s Stortford: Burbidge, Sampayo, Thomas, Robbins, Charles, Cureton (Johnson – 87mins), Manu (Dos Santos Seixas – 72 mins), Debrick, McClenaghan, Barnwell, Antonio
Subs not used: Warman, Johnson, Richefond
Booked: Charles, Barnwell
Lewes: Stroomberg-Clarke, Day, Redwood, Dome-Bemwin, Chappell, Malins, Golding, Hammond, Mongoy, Freeman (Diedrick-Roberts – 46mins), Ilic (Medlock – 90 mins)
Subs not used: Gregory, Dawson
Attendance: 219 (32 Rooks)
Lewes MOTM: Nathan Stroomberg-Clark