Lewes travel to Bishop’s Stortford this Saturday for a 3pm kick off in the Isthmian Premier League, having been knocked out of the FA Trophy by The Blues only a week ago, writes Sam Simons.
Job done against Carshalton
Since that cup exit the team earned themselves a midweek 1-0 win in a dogged performance against Carshalton Athletic.
Lewes midfielder Michael Klass made the difference, driving home a clean strike from the edge of the box, making amends for his sending off in the FA Trophy a few days previously.
Rooks boss Tony Russell praised Klass’ reaction and hopes the team can take inspiration from him as they return for the league encounter.
“He’s had a torrid couple of weeks, he didn’t have a great game against Worthing, couple of the goals come from him, and he knew it, and then last week he obviously got sent off.
“I suppose most managers would have dropped him at that stage but I’m glad we backed him, and he’s repaid it.”
It was a tricky game for the Rooks, something Tony was acutely aware of ahead of the game, as he has a lot of history with the visitor’s coaching staff.
“It was a tactical chess match, I know Pete Adeniyi really well, we go back a long way. And the assistant manager, Keith Boanas was my tutor when I did my UEFA badges so, two very good football minds.”
“They came and sat back and set traps for us and they were hoping for us to make mistakes and they were going to counter attack. And that first half was a bit of a stalemate. Fortunately enough in the second half, we spoke at half time about being patient and we felt we’d get chances and fortunately enough we got that chance.”
First team regulars Joe Taylor and Razz Coleman De-Graft started on the bench and vastly improved the attack when they entered the fray, with the goal coming moments after their arrival.
Tony confirmed why Taylor, who remains top of the goalscoring charts with 12 league goals, couldn’t start, “On the JT front, he’s had COVID, so we had to be really careful with him. I wasn’t even going to put him in the squad to be honest, but I spoke to him in the morning, and he wanted to be part of it.”
“Ideally in my head I was only going to give him ten minutes, but we got 60 minutes in, and they started to get on top and I thought we might as well roll the dice.”
Focus on Bishop’s Stortford
The two sides sit one point apart in the table with Lewes in fifth and Bishop’s in seventh. They are unbeaten in six and didn’t play midweek giving them some extra rest than the Rooks. Top scorer Jake Cass sits on 8 league goals but matches Joe Taylor’s tall of 13 in all competitions.
It was Cass who inflicted the damage for the host’s last weekend. He headed home a corner just minutes into the game and added a second when he drilled in a free kick from 25 yards past stopper Lewis Carey. Tony believes the result last week flattered the hosts and that a full-strength team Lewes can avenge the 2-0 defeat.
“[It’s a] tough game, obviously we went there last week, didn’t start very well, first 20 minutes, probably, they had the better of us and then we had the man sent off.”
“But from that point on I thought we’ve done really well. They’ve scored from two set plays, they scored from a corner and a free kick, and outside of that I don’t remember Lew making a lot of saves.”
Tony believes there were plenty of positives from the disappointing loss which saw Lewes exit in the first round for the third year in a row.
“Ayo went through on the goalkeeper, put it wide, Freddie Parker went through on the goalkeeper, he saved it, we hit the crossbar with Taylor Maloney, and we missed the penalty, with ten men. So, there’s loads of positive’s, they’re a good side, they’re very good at what they do – they’re a big side.”
“But we’re looking to go there and get revenge, so to speak.”
Bishop’s Stortford will also be buoyed by the return of Darren Foxley from Billericay Town. The popular 24-year-old is no stranger to the Blues having notched 17 goals in 65 appearances for the club across two previous spells.
The hosts will be hoping to leapfrog the Rooks with a win while three points on the road could see Lewes rise as high as second in the table.
COME ON YOU ROOKS!
Rooks return to Bishop’s looking for redemption