Lewes left it late to come from behind to beat Potters Bar Town to give Tony Russell his first competitive win as Lewes manager, reports Stuart Fuller.
The Rooks had to switch their line up around with Tom Carlse serving a one match suspension from his sending off last Saturday against Cheshunt with Matty Weaire returning to the back four and Iffy Allen also coming into the starting XI.
It was a tepid and tetchy start to the game with the referee’s whistle more frequent than attacking play. The home side had the best chance of the game when they hit the frame of the goal from 25 yards after Mitchell Nelson had been cautioned for a late challenge. Five minutes later it was another challenge that saw the first goal of the game when Ayo Olukoga was judged to have pulled back his man and the referee pointed to the spot which Ben Ward Cochrane converted.
The Rooks passing wasn’t as crisp as boss Tony Russell expected – they had the possession but the final pass just never fell to the right man.
The second half saw a different Rooks side come out of the dressing room, playing with an air of confidence from the first minute and looking to move the play from side to side. Full-back Colombie picked up a yellow, having been cynically chopped down minutes earlier, committed a similar foul and was cautioned.
Michael Klass headed against the post from a deep Ollie Tanner corner and then Joe Taylor and Iffy Allen both had golden chances to equalise but both were denied by the keeper, perhaps expecting to do better.
With just under 20 minutes to go it looked like it was going to be one of those games where possession doesn’t translate into goals. Then in the 72 minute, Joe Taylor was pushed in the back as he tried to turn and the referee pointed to the spot. Taylor dusted himself down and slotted it down the middle of the goal to equalise.
Three minutes later and Taylor had his, and Lewes’, second when he finally got a foot on the ball as it pinged around the six yard box.
In the 82nd minute Killian Colombie was judged by the referee as time wasting whilst he tried to retrieve the ball down the touchline and was given a second yellow card in what was a bizarre decision in the context of others during the game.
Instead of looking nervous, the Rooks pressed forward, with Tony Russell making changes, with Kenny Yao replacing Iffy Allen and Nic D’Arienzo replacing Ollie Tanner and dropping into the back four.
With two minutes to go Joe Taylor was once again in the right place at the right time to get on the end of a great run by Razz Coleman De-Graft to complete his hat-trick.
It was certainly an impressive second half from the Rooks and one that could have seen them score more but the important fact is the win and the nature of the confident second half performance to take into the game on Monday.
Monday sees the first Sussex derby of the season as the Rooks host Horsham at The Pan, kick off 3pm.
Potters Bar Town: Al Droubi, Pascal, Cole (Sassi 72 mins), Tajbakhsh, Tingey, Livings (Cole 79 mins), Sharman, Shulton, Ward-Cochrane, Aransibia, Carvalho (Parchment 66 mins)
Subs not used: Young, Cathline
Booked: Cole, Livings, Parchment
Lewes: Carey, Colombie, Coleman De-Graft, Nelson, Weaire, Klass, Tanner (D’Arienzo 84 mins), Olukoga, Taylor, Parker, Allen (Yao 84 mins)
Subs not used: Dent, Santos, Ojo
Booked: Nelson, Taylor, Colombie
Sent off: Colombie
Attendance – 238 (23 Rooks)