On an emotional day at the Pan, Lewes produced a fine performance to move back up to third in the table with an emphatic 3-0 victory over Folkestone Invicta, reports Tom Harper.
Tony Russell made two changes to the side that beat Haringey Borough 4-2 in their previous league game, with Killian Colombie and Michael Klass replacing Kenneth Yao and Ayo Olukoga in the starting line-up.
Before the game, fans, coaching staff and players paid tribute to supporter ‘Cynical’ Dave McKay, who sadly passed away last weekend, with a minute’s applause.
Lewes started the game on the front foot and came close to taking an early lead through Joe Taylor, who shot wide after being played through by Bradley Pritchard.
The Rooks saw a lot of the ball throughout the first half, but were finding it difficult to turn this into clear-cut chances against the well-organised visitors.
That was until Ollie Tanner put them ahead on 28 minutes, collecting a pass from Taylor before beating two defenders and sending a shot just under the dive of Timothy Roberts and into the back of the net.
The visitors nearly equalised immediately, as a mis-hit Kieron McCann cross from the left deceived Lewis Carey and hit the inside of the far post before bouncing clear.
Lewes came close to making the most of this let-off just before half-time, as Roberts made a smart save to keep out a shot on the turn from Will Salmon after Folkestone had been unable to clear a Taylor Maloney corner.
The visitors enjoyed arguably their best spell of the game immediately after half-time, as Tom Carlse blocked a goal-bound effort from Scott Heard after good work down the left by Adam Yusuff, before McCann cut inside from the left and sent a powerful strike just wide of Carey’s near post.
The Rooks always posed a threat going forward though, with Tanner latching onto a superb Michael Klass through-ball and lifting his attempt over the onrushing Roberts only to see it cleared off the line by a covering defender.
Folkestone continued to push for an equaliser but were unable to turn this into a spell of meaningful pressure, a comfortable Carey save to deny Joshua Vincent being the closest they came to equalising.
The Rooks doubled their lead and secured the win in injury-time, as Maloney found the bottom corner at the second attempt from just inside the area after excellent work down the left by substitute Razz Coleman De-Graft.
Lewes fans were still celebrating this goal when they scored a third with virtually the final kick of the game through Taylor, who chipped the ball over Roberts and into the far corner from a difficult angle at the end of an incisive counter-attack involving Carlse and Maloney.
This was a big win for the Rooks as they leapfrogged their visitors back up to third in the table in front of over 800 supporters at the Pan.
The match progcast can be viewed here
Pictures from James Boyes can be viewed here.
Highlights of the game can be viewed here.
Lewes welcome Corinthian Casuals to the Pan on Tuesday, kick-off at 7.45pm.
Lewes: Carey, Colombie, Carlse, Salmon, Nelson, Klass, Pritchard (Olukoga 75), Maloney, Tanner (Gillela 84), Allen (De-Graft 71), Taylor.
Unused Subs: Weaire, Parker.
Booked: Nelson, Gillela.
Folkestone Invicta: Roberts, Vincent, McCann (Wright 78), Newman, Davies, Johnson (Draycott 85), Heard, Dolan, Smith, Yusuff, Paxman.
Unused Subs: Borrello, Everitt, Collins.
Booked: Newman, Dolan, Yusuff.