Lewes made it back-to-back league wins with a well-deserved 2-0 victory over Margate at the Pan, reports Tom Harper.
Tony Russell handed a first league start to recent signing Johnville Renee at right-back, and also named fellow new arrival Tyrique Hyde on the bench, with Michael Klass’ loan spell from Aldershot Town ending and Marcel Elva-Fountaine suspended after picking up five yellows.
There were few chances early on, both sides keeping the ball well without coming close to opening the scoring.
The closest Lewes came to taking an early lead saw the unmarked Deon Moore fail to connect with a cross at the far post when well placed.
The Rooks took the lead on 29 minutes in spectacular fashion, as Razz Coleman De-Graft cut in from the right and sent an unstoppable effort past Daniel Jinadu and into the far corner from the edge of the area.
Taking the lead gave Lewes confidence and they were the better side for the remainder of the first half, Bradley Pritchard coming close to doubling their lead with a goal-bound effort that was blocked after a Jamie Mascoll free-kick had caused confusion in the Margate penalty area.
The visitors had won their previous two league games and made a brighter start to the second half, calling Lewis Carey into action with a relatively comfortable save to deny Ade Cole.
De-Graft was at the heart of all of Lewes’ best play and it was no surprise to see him come close to doubling their lead, seeing a powerful strike blocked before making space for himself on the rebound and drawing a fine save from Jinadu.
The Rooks were dealt a blow with just over ten minutes remaining, as Deon Moore had to be helped off the pitch with a serious looking injury.
Margate enjoyed a brief spell of pressure as they pushed for an equaliser, with Carey having to be alert to parry a long-range effort from Ben Greenhalgh.
The visitors then missed a gilt-edged chance to level the scores, as Korrey Henry just missed the target from inside the area after being picked out by Greenhalgh.
Lewes were defending well whilst continuing to pose a threat going forward, and saw debutant Tyrique Hyde force a smart save from Jinadu at the end of a quick counter-attack after being teed up by Joe Taylor.
The Rooks doubled their lead and secured the three points deep into stoppage time, as they won the ball high up the pitch and De-Graft squared for Taylor to finish into the bottom corner from close range.
Highlights of the game, thanks to Your Instant Replay can be found here.
Today’s Progcast can be read here.
Lewes will hope to build on this result when they welcome Hornchurch to the Pan on Tuesday, kick-off at 7.45pm.
Lewes: Carey, Renee, Mascoll, Champion, Salmon, Young, Pritchard (Olukoga 85), Silva (Hyde 72), De-Graft, Moore (Murrell-Williamson 77), Taylor.
Unused Subs: Nelson, Skinner.
Booked: Carey, Silva.
Margate: Jinadu, Fisher, Brodie, Deslandes (Rogers 89), Hudson, Cole, Greenhalgh, Barton, Ojemen, Henry, Dsane (Bessey-Saldanha 78).
Unused Subs: Kaiser, Marsh.