A late equaliser saw Lewes leave Corinthian Casuals with a point from a 1-1 draw after dominating the game for long periods, reports Tom Harper.
Tony Russell made two changes to the side that beat Bishop’s Stortford 2-1 in their previous game, with Ayo Olukoga replacing the suspended Will Salmon and Deshane Dalling starting in place of Rhys Murrell-Williamson, with these changes seeing Alfie Young move back into the heart of defence with Tom Champion.
Lewes had the first chance of the game, as Razz Coleman De-Graft cut in from the right before blazing his effort over the bar when well placed.
They came even closer to opening the scoring minutes later, Deon Moore latching onto a Ronan Silva through-ball before shooting straight at Sami Nabaad when through on goal.
The hosts made the most of this by going up the other end almost immediately and scoring with their first attack of the game, Benjamin Cheklit being picked out by a cross from the right before firing past Lewis Carey and into the bottom corner.
The rest of the half passed without incident, as Lewes controlled possession without testing Nabaad, while Casuals stayed disciplined and were seemingly content with frustrating the Rooks.
Lewes started the second half on the front foot, with Silva hitting the bar from just inside the box after being teed up by De-Graft, before Deshane Dalling drew a comfortable save from Nabaad with a far-post header from a Marcel Elva-Fountaine cross.
Nabaad was called into action again soon after, saving bravely at the feet of De-Graft as he ran onto a Jack Skinner through-ball.
The introduction of Joe Taylor, making his return from injury, just after the hour immediately gave Lewes a more physical presence up front as they looked for a route back into the game.
Despite this, Casuals could and arguably should have doubled their lead through Ibitayo Oyebola, who dispossessed Champion on the edge of the box before shooting straight at Carey with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Just as it was beginning to look like one of those days where nothing would go in for Lewes, they finally scored the equaliser their performance had deserved with eight minutes remaining.
The goal owed a lot to the hold-up play of Taylor, who turned his marker before firing in a low cross from the left that was deflected over the line by a covering defender to level the scores.
Taylor came close to winning it for the Rooks almost immediately after the restart, but saw his header hit the top of the bar after Tom Carlse had charged down an attempted clearance and the ball had looped back towards the host’s goal.
Lewes came even closer to scoring a winner late on, as Champion forced the ball goalwards after Alfie Young had headed a Bradley Pritchard corner down to him, only to see the covering Michael Abnett head the ball off the line with Nabaad beaten.
The Rooks continued to dominate possession late on, but were unable to find the winner their performance had arguably deserved and were forced to settle for a point from the first of two fixtures over the Bank Holiday weekend.
Lewes welcome Hastings United to the Pan on Monday, kick-off at 3pm.
Corinthian Casuals: Nabaad, Abnett, Tucker, Thompson, Green, Ali, Stokoe, Edwards (Sanogo 71), Oyebola, Cheklit (Caton 84), Simpson (Pinney 45).
Unused Subs: Adelakun, Sheehan-Cozens.
Booked: Nabaad, Abnett.
Lewes: Carey, Elva-Fountaine, Carlse, Champion, Young, Olukoga, Silva, Skinner (Pritchard 71), De-Graft, Dalling (Taylor 64), Moore (Murrell-Williamson 71).
Unused Subs: Yao, Muggeridge.
Booked: Silva, Taylor.
Attendance: 306 (approx 70 Rooks fans)