Lewes produced a professional performance to progress in the FA Trophy with an ultimately comfortable 4-1 win over Lowestoft Town at the Pan, reports Tom Harper, pictures from James Boyes.
Tony Russell, absent with flu, gave the instructions to assistant Joe Vines to make one change to the side that beat Hampton & Richmond 3-0 in the FA Cup in their previous game, with Deshane Dalling replacing Kalvin Lumbombo-Kalala in the starting line-up.
There was also a place on the bench for new signing Ola Ogunwamide, whose arrival was announced this week following his recent departure from Bishop’s Stortford.
Lowestoft were sitting top of the Isthmian Division One North heading into the game and took an early lead through Rob Eagle, who made space for himself 20 yards out before firing an impressive strike past Nathan Harvey and into the bottom corner to make it 1-0 after six minutes.
This seemed to jolt Lewes into action and they levelled the scores on 12 minutes, Marcus Sablier sending a superb strike from the edge of the area into the corner after incisive build-up play down the right.
The Rooks soon took control of the game, moving the ball quickly through the pitch and stretching the Lowestoft defence.
The visitors were indebted to goalkeeper Luke Holt for the keeping the scores level, as he got down well to turn a curling Deon Moore shot round the post.
Lewes continued to dominate though, and took the lead on 29 minutes through Tommy Wood, who headed in from inside the six-yard box after Bradley Pritchard had seen his close-range effort from a Moore cross saved by Holt.
Pritchard was involved again minutes later, winning the ball back in the area before drawing another smart stop from Holt.
Lowestoft made a bright start to the second half as they looked for an equaliser, with Eagle shooting into the side-netting at the end of a quick counter-attack, before the unmarked Travis Cole swept a close-range effort over the bar minutes later after not being picked up at a corner.
Ogunwamide was introduced for his debut in place of Dalling just after the hour and made an immediate impact, volleying a Moore cross wide at the far post, and then seeing another powerful strike cleared off the line by a covering defender with Holt beaten.
Lewes made it 3-1 on 83 minutes, Harvey Hughes sending a perfectly-placed 25-yard free-kick round the wall and into the bottom corner.
The Rooks completed the scoring and secured the win with a minute remaining, Moore latching onto a poor pass by Holt and playing in Ogunwamide to finish through the goalkeeper’s legs to cap a fine cameo with a deserved goal.
Highlights from the game, thanks to Your Instant Replay, can be viewed here.
Next up for Lewes is a trip to National League side Aldershot Town in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round on Saturday, kick-off at 3pm.
Lewes: Harvey, Olukoga, Vint (Salmon 46), Elliott, Hughes, Penney, Pritchard (Tamplin 85), Sablier, Moore, Dalling (Ogunwamide 62), Wood.
Unused Subs: Egan, Murtagh, Whelpdale, Panyi.
Lowestoft Town: Holt, Norman, White, McIntosh (Fitzgerald 70), Cole, Ruffles, Johnson, Hinton, Haylock, Sayer, Eagle.
Unused Subs: Burwood, Aldous.
Booked: Norman, Ruffles.