Tomorrow we welcome Billericay Town to the Dripping Pan as we look to continue our impressive unbeaten home form.
We suffered a minor setback last Saturday losing 2-0 fellow promotion hopefuls, Aveley and Tony has reflected on the game.
“Coming into the Aveley game – I said that I felt whoever could deal with each other’s style better would win the game.
“Unfortunately we didn’t deal with them very well – especially first-half. Their goalie takes a free kick forty-yards from his goal, launches it up field and it’s ended up in the back of the net.
“Whatever level you play at, if you can’t deal with a long ball, you aren’t winning many games of football. That’s disappointing how little they had to work with that.
“We didn’t deal with the first ball and the second one there’s no cover and we’ve worked on it in training. That’s all we can do as a management team, as hard as it is, we have to accept it and learn from it.
“We’ve worked on the what if’s in training so ‘what if Tom Champion doesn’t win that header?’ we have to start thinking that way.
“I didn’t think we were great first-half. We started the first 15 well, got in some good areas, but as it went on, Aveley grew into the game.
“Lew made a smart save, they had a chance from a long throw, again first balls not being dealt with, so we were very disappointed at half-time.
“I thought second-half we were a lot better, their goalie made some really good saves, I think he got player of the match.”
Tony was again unhappy with the refereeing display against Aveley but maintains that Aveley deserved the win.
“I’m reluctant to talk too much about the referee – it was a frustrating game. Firstly I don’t want the referee to sound like an excuse to why we lost, and I also don’t want to give him more airtime than he deserves.
“I’ve never come across a refereeing performance like that – the second goal shouldn’t have stood but the way he managed the game was crazy.
“I can’t say too much because we’ll be making a complaint but I just don’t understand how that can be possible. Two people from Aveley have warned me about the ref before the game which isn’t great to walk into.
“That’s not the reason we lost though – Aveley were better than us and we congratulate them on that.”
Moving onto Billericay – Tony believes it could be the hardest test of the season at the Pan.
“We’re disappointed and we’ve tried to reset in training, that’s all we can do and move onto Billericay. I genuinely think this is our hardest home game to date – our biggest threat to our unbeaten record.
“Looking at the league table you might not understand but looking at their side, on paper, player for player, they’ve got one of, if not the best team in the league.
“Their left-back has played for Charlton and scored a hat-trick for their first team, their right-back has been in the Crystal Palace squad this season. When everyone came back from the world cup he was out in Australia with them.
“Michael Chambers is a really big, good centre-half, good on the ball, promoted with Dulwich, played for Palace, we can go on. Bradley Stevenson, centre-midfielder, scored 17 goals.
“I actually had Brad as a kid, when I was at Cray, he was with Gillingham as a pro, I thought he’d go on. Exceptional player.
“AJ out wide, come through the Arsenal academy, played at Wrexham, quickest player you’re going to see, they’ve got threats all over.
“Maybe other teams look at us in the same way and the players we have individually, but I think they’ve got an excellent side.”
Tony is often complimentary of teams that play the way Billericay do and believes it will make for a great game.
“They play a good brand of football and have been beaten up a bit when they’ve gone away. When they come to the Pan, they’re not going to get that, they’re going to get one of the best grass pitches in non-league and a team that’s going to play football.
“That means we’re going to get the very best of them and I think the very best of them beats anyone in our league. I put us in that category as well.
“I think it will be an unbelievable game of football, the threats they carry, and we have threats as well.
“Our front boys were good on Saturday, Gondoh looking back to his best, JT is JT, Deon is always a threat and it was great to see Raz come on with no reaction. Trained really well and will be pushing for a starting place.
“We’re both good sides that play football, good coaching in them as well so I think it will be a cracking game and the makings of possibly the best game of the season.”
The goal remains the same for Tony for the rest of the season and is maintaining that message with the players.
“From the management team, we’re going to constantly push, me and Vinesy have worked extremely hard this week. I said to the players at training we won’t accept anything other than going up.
“If we come short then it won’t be for the lack of trying or effort. We’re all focused on what we need to do. We need your support Saturday because we’ll have to dig in at times and your support as always will make the difference.”
Lewes FC vs. Billericay Town tickets
The match on Saturday is at 3:00pm. You can buy Lewes FC tickets for the game online and skip the queue at the gate. Online ticket prices are as follows:
Adults – £12
Concessions – £8
Kids U16 – Free
Beach Huts – £110
Photo: James Boyes