from Billy Medlock helped Lewes to a hard-fought victory over East Grinstead in
an entertaining FA Trophy Preliminary Round tie in West Sussex reports Tom Harper.
Freeman made three changes to the side that had won 3-0 at Guernsey in their
previous game, with Chris Winterton, Frankie Chappell and Harry Reed replacing
Nathan Stroomberg, Gus Sow and Bouwe Bosma in the starting line-up.
changes saw Reed play on the right wing and captain Lloyd Cotton move into
midfield, with Chappell playing alongside Alex Malins at the heart of the Lewes
made a bright start to the game and could have taken an early lead, but saw Billy
Medlock volley a Steve Brinkhurst cross just wide.
Grinstead made the most of this by taking the lead themselves after only five
minutes. The goal was a poor one to concede from a Lewes perspective, as
Brinkhurst was dispossessed on the halfway line and the ball eventually found
its way to Marcus Elliott in the penalty area, who saw his initial effort saved
by Chris Winterton before finding the back of the net with the rebound.
falling behind, Lewes were creating most of the chances, and saw Ronnie Conlon
force a smart save from Martin Grant in the host’s goal, before Alex Malins had
a volley from a James Hammond corner cleared off the line minutes later.
were forced into an early substitution, with Charlie Coppola being replaced by Gus
Sow after being caught late by a strong challenge in midfield.
continuing to push for an equaliser though, with Medlock just missing the
target with a curling effort from distance, and Hammond seeing a long-range
strike of his own tipped onto the bar by Grant.
finally found the equaliser their attacking play had deserved after 31 minutes,
as Medlock guided a close-range header from a pinpoint Matthew George cross
past Grant and into the bottom corner to level the scores.
Hammond and Malins all went close to giving Lewes the lead before half-time,
but the hosts were defending resolutely and always looked capable of creating
chances on the break with their pace up front.
Grinstead felt they should have been given the opportunity to regain the lead
right on the stroke of half-time, as Frankie Chappell appeared to bring down
Charlie Postance in the penalty area, only for referee John Pike to wave play
did take the lead for a second time within a minute of the restart though, as Postance
sent a powerful effort from the edge of the area across Winterton and into the
levelled the scores again just six minutes later, with Grant only able to
fumble a deflected Medlock strike into the path of Reed to score his first
senior goal for the Rooks.
were seeing most of the ball at this stage, but were unable to turn this
possession into clear-cut opportunities against a hardworking East Grinstead
able to take the lead for the first time after 71 minutes thanks to a superb
strike from Medlock, who sent a dipping, swerving 25-yard free-kick over the
wall, past Grant and into the top corner.
could have completed his hat-trick minutes later, as he latched onto a Conlon
through-ball and rounded Grant, but saw his effort brilliantly cleared off the
line by the covering Drew Cooney.
resulting corner taken by Sow, substitute Wilfried Grimaud saw his close-range
strike blocked on the line before Grant eventually dived on the loose ball.
made the game safe and secured their place in the next round with eight minutes
remaining, as Conlon broke down the right and picked out Medlock at the far
post, leaving the striker a simple tap-in to complete his hat-trick and score
his seventh goal in his last three games.
out the closing stages comfortably to record an impressive win and secure a
visit to Evo-Stik Southern Premier side Dunstable Town in the First Qualifying
Round on the 28th October.
Post match Darren Freeman spoke to Barry Collins about the game.
Next up for
the Rooks is a league game at VCD Athletic on Saturday, kick-off at 3pm.
East Grinstead Town: Grant, Gaggin, Gales, Sargent,
Cooney, Williams-Agunabor, Hoare, Hogan, Postance, Elliott, Straker.
Subs: Spence, Giraud-Hutchinson, Meeres,
Lewes: Winterton, Brinkhurst, George,
Hammond (McCarthy 84), Chappell, Cotton (Grimaud 67), Reed, Malins, Medlock,
Coppola (Sow 22), Conlon.
Unused Subs: Smith, Hurley.
Referee: John Pike