The Rooks once again showed their resolve on the road, coming from behind to beat third place Bishop’s Stortford and end their long unbeaten home run, reports Stuart Fuller.
Darren Freeman named an unchanged side, with the only change coming on the bench where Callum Overton replaced Sam Karl. The home side had won their last four games and had risen to third in the table, no thanks in part to the goals of 44 year old Player/Manager Jamie Cureton who came into the game as the league’s top scorer, and it only took 120 seconds for the veteran striker to show his ability as he held up a long ball superbly, before playing in Ryan Charles, who drove the ball into the corner of the net to open the scoring.
The next few minutes saw the home side surge forward with confidence. Callander’s long range shot whistled narrowly wide whilst Mason’ far post header rattled the Lewes post. The Rooks seemed to be still on the M25 and the danger was that the game could quickly be out of sight before the end of the first ten minutes.
Slowly but surely the Rooks came back into the game. Both Golding and Pamment started seeing more of the ball and both full-backs were in an overlapping mood. The midfield trio started to win the ball and quickly move forward and it was no surprise when the equaliser came. A superb cross from Henri Wilder was controlled with one touch by Golding and he rolled the ball into the path of James Hammond who stroked it home from 10 yards.
The goal signalled a change in dynamics in the game. Lewes pushed forward with confidence, stretching the Stortford defence. Time and time again the ball was delivered in from wide and the home defence were at sixes and sevens in dealing with the danger.
In the 40th minute a superb strike from 30 yards by Michael Dome-Bemwin was tipped over the bar by Kitscha and from the resulting corner Freeman headed wide after he had lost his man. Thirty seconds later and a Golding cross found Omarr Lawson put his header went agonisingly wide.
The Rooks went in at half-time having dominated the last thirty minutes and home side’s team talk could be heard in the stand.
Whatever was side certainly had an impact as Bishop’s Stortford came out all guns blazing and created the best of the early chances. Lewis Carey, who had little to do in the first period, was all of a sudden the busiest man on the field, making some important interventions. One long clearance found Michael Dome-Bemwin in an unusual position chasing down the home keeper as as he went to clear, the Rooks midfielder was caught and went down. Despite a long period of treatment and trying to play on, he was replaced in the 53rd minute by Luke Blewden.
A minute later Jonte Smith was tripped as he moved towards the penalty area and from Kieron Pamment’s free-kick, Luke Blewden’s first touch was saved by the keeper only for the rebound to fall to Frankie Chappell who took one touch before smashing it home.
The Rooks then retreated a bit, almost inviting Stortford to attack and looking for the counter-attack. However, the defence held firm and Stortford were frustrated time and time again, a fact borne out by the four second half cautions they picked up. At the other end, James Hammond pulled a free-kick wide from 20 yards after Jonte was tripped as he tip-toed through the defensive line.
In the 83rd minute Lewes has a golden chance to increase their lead. Marcus Elliott, having come on for Jonte Smith put the Stortford centre-back under pressure and faced with the Rooks striker running free on goal, tapped the ball back to the keeper who picked it up. The referee gave the indirect free-kick just inside the box but James Hammond’s strike hit the ball and bounced over.
Despite four minutes of injury time being added, the Rooks saw out the game and celebrated with the away fans on another superb team performance that took them to second in the Bostik League Premier Division and a third consecutive win.
After the game Darren Freeman spoke to Barry Collins about the win and the confidence in the squad at the moment.
Lewes will look to continue to build on their fine recent form when they host Brightlingsea Regent at The Pan on Wednesday night, kick-off 7:45pm.
Bishop’s Stortford: Kitscha, Sampayo, Gregan, Thomas, Robbins, Henshaw, Mason, Renee, Cureton, Callander (Kyprianou – 63 mins), Charles
Subs not used: Nkosi, Brown, Miles, Belaid
Booked: Sampayo, Charles, Thomas, Henshaw
Lewes: Carey, Brinkhurst, Wilder, Dome-Bemwin (Blewden – 54 mins), Chappell, Freeman, Golding, Hammond, Smith (Elliott – 79 mins), Lawson, Pamment
Sub not used: Day, Reed, Overton
Booked: Wilder, Lawson
Referee: Thomas Hancock
Attendance: 322 – Approx. 25 Rooks