Lewes were forced to settle for a point, as Brightlingsea Regent recovered from 2-0 down to earn a hard-fought draw at the Pan, reports Tom Harper.
Tony Russell made one change to the side from last weekend’s 3-0 win over Merstham, with Iffy Allen replacing the injured Bradley Pritchard in the starting line-up.
Recent additions to the squad Casey Pettit and Reece Gillies were named on the bench for the first time, with Taylor Maloney also ruled out through injury.
The Rooks started well and were ahead after just three minutes, Joe Taylor finishing well from close range after the ball eventually dropped to him in the area following good play down the left by Ollie Tanner.
Brightlingsea nearly equalised immediately though, with Aaron Blair seeing an effort deflected wide after capitalising on a loose pass at the back.
Lewes doubled their lead on 12 minutes, as the ball was worked to Razz Coleman De-Graft on the right, and he cut inside before unleashing a powerful strike which hit the underside of the bar and bounced almost on the line before being tapped in by Taylor.
Despite being two goals behind, the visitors were looking dangerous going forward, with Lewis Carey forced into a smart save to deny Dom Locke as they looked for a route back into the game.
Lewes continued to look like adding to their lead whenever they were in the final third though, and saw De-Graft cut inside from the right before hitting the post from the edge of the area at the end of a sweeping move through midfield.
Brightlingsea pulled a goal back on the half-hour mark through Locke, who latched onto a Blair through-ball before steering his strike past Carey and into the bottom corner.
The Rooks started the second half on the front foot, with Taylor latching onto a long ball forward from Mitchell Nelson before shooting over the crossbar.
Taylor went close again minutes later, rolling the defender and forcing a save from Charlie Turner in the visitor’s goal. Michael Klass picked up the loose ball and teed up Tom Carlse, but he could only shoot into the side-netting from just inside the area.
Lewes continued to push for a third goal and saw De-Graft go close twice in quick succession, first being denied by Turner after latching onto a Klass through-ball, then missing the target after being teed up by Taylor shortly after.
Having weathered a storm during the early stages of the second half, the visitors began to see more of the ball, with Valter Cachicote de Rocha shooting over from close range after impressive build-up play.
Blair went even closer with Brightlingsea’s next opportunity, seeing his deflected effort from 25 yards hit the outside of the post.
The visitors were handed an excellent opportunity to level the scores with nine minutes remaining, as Tanner tripped Locke in the area as he looked to clear a corner.
Blair took the penalty and sent Carey the wrong way from the spot to make it 2-2 and send the visiting supporters behind the goal into raptures.
Lewes dominated possession during the closing stages but were unable to turn this into clear-cut opportunities against their hardworking opponents.
Brightlingsea were reduced to ten men in the final minute of stoppage time as Connor Barmby was shown a second yellow card, but there was barely time for Lewes to take the resulting free-kick, and the Rooks were left to reflect on a disappointing result in front of over 1,000 fans at the Pan.
Highlights of the game can be viewed here.
Today’s progcast can be viewed online here.
Lewes will hope to return to winning ways when they welcome Cray Wanderers to the Pan on Tuesday, kick-off at 7.45pm.
Lewes: Carey, Spencer, Carlse, Salmon, Nelson, Klass, Phipp, Allen, Tanner (Dalling 81), De-Graft, Taylor.
Unused Subs: Yao, Hall, Pettit, Gillies.
Brightlingsea Regent: Turner, Bennett, Gregan, Bell (C. Rocha 63), Ribchester, Littlejohn, Locke, Durling (Skinner 46), Blair, Barmby, V. Rocha (Osinfolarin 85).
Unused Sub: Gilbert.
Booked: Littlejohn, Barmby.
Sent off: Barmby.