On an historic night at the Pan, a first-half goal from Kalvin Lumbombo-Kalala was enough to help Lewes to a 1-0 win over FC Oslo in their inaugural Fenix Trophy game. Reports Tom Harper, pictures by James Boyes.
Tony Russell made three changes to the side that lost 2-0 at Margate in their previous game, with Ayo Olukoga, Will Salmon and Keiran Murtagh replacing Archie Tamplin, Ronnie Vint and Bradley Pritchard in the starting line-up.
In front of a superb crowd of 1,109, Lewes made a bright start, with Salmon calling Oslo keeper Robin Vikskjold into action with a close-range header inside the opening minutes.
They came even closer to taking the lead on eight minutes, as Lumbombo-Kalala saw a powerful 25-yard strike hit the top of the bar with Vikskjold beaten.
Lewes made their early dominance count by going in front on 15 minutes, Deon Moore going on a superb run down the right before standing a cross up to the far post for Lumbombo-Kalala to head home.
Moore was enjoying a fine first half on the right, with another purposeful run ending with him cutting inside and shooting straight at Vikskjold.
Oslo were defending bravely, but were struggling to gain a foothold in the game and stretch the Lewes defence.
It was only impressive goalkeeping from Vikskjold keeping the scoreline at 1-0, as he got down well to keep out a long-range Jake Elliott strike, before making another fine save to tip a piledriver from Moore over the bar.
After such a dominant first-half performance from Lewes, the second half was more even, with the visitors enjoying spells of possession as they looked for a route back into the game.
Despite this, the Rooks could have doubled their lead just after the break, as Vikskjold appeared to be slightly wrong-footed by a Harvey Hughes cross and was forced into evasive action to help it behind the near post.
Oslo then enjoyed arguably their best spell of the game, with Nathan Harvey called into action twice in quick succession to deal with long-range efforts fron Daniel Tavakoli and Allaedin Maach.
In truth, the game began to peter out midway through the half, mainly due to two lengthy stoppages following injuries to Arthur Penney and Archie Tamplin as the game became more physical.
Thankfully for the Rooks, Penney was able to play on and Tamplin was later given the all clear after receiving treatment from paramedics.
Seeing Tamplin stretchered off the pitch understandably made the closing stages a little more subdued, but the better openings fell to Lewes, who saw Lumbombo-Kalala test Vikskjold twice with powerful efforts after cutting in from the left.
There would be no further goals though, with the Rooks recording a 1-0 win to get their Fenix Trophy campaign off to the best possible start before travelling to Belgium to take on KSK Beveren in their second group game on the 12th December.
Lewes have a busy domestic schedule before then, starting with the visit of Wingate & Finchley to the Pan in the league on Saturday, kick-off at 3pm.
Lewes: Harvey, Elliott, Hughes, Olukoga (Tamplin 55) (Panyi 73), Salmon, Penney, Murtagh, Wood, Whelpdale (Pritchard 46), Moore, Lumbombo-Kalala (Ogunwamide 88).
Unused Subs: Wickramsinghe, Egan, Dalling.
FC Oslo: Vikskjold, Molsaeter, Sowe, Furu, Fjellstad, Maach, Telle, Ouhadou, Tavakoli, Hansen, Matos.
Subs: Al Aboudi, Brodahl, Reyes, Fellus, Belay, Yakubu, Okolo, Kviljo, Jarra.
Booked: Molsaeter, Belaym
Referee: Steve Hughes