Tony Russell says fans should brace themselves for more goals as we welcome Wingate & Finchley to the Pan tonight.
It’s the first of two home games for us this week following a defeat and a draw on the road last week.
Saturday was certainly a game for neutral with Lewes coming from two down at half-time to rescue a point against Tony’s former side, Cray Wanderers, and he gives us his reflection on the performance.
“Saturday was interesting, I’m seeing a lot of people say it was a game of two halves, I tend to disagree with that.
“It’s easy to make that assumption when first-half one team scores two and second-half the other team scores two.
“The reality of it is that the pattern of the game was the same throughout. But second-half we were just much better in the final-third.
“We carried more of a threat and both halves started with us controlling the game in their half, but the first 45 we lacked a bit of imagination with our passing.
“Also, the penetration with our running wasn’t good enough. That meant that we had a lot of the ball 20-30 yards away from goal but never really threatening enough.
“Like all awkward sides, Cray carry threats and out of nothing really, we give the ball away on their left-hand side and they broke us. It’s a lovely cross and a great goal.
“The half carried on much the same, a lot of the ball, a shot from JT has been saved and Deon’s follow up has gone just wide, then they’ve got another goal which was disappointing from our perspective.”
There’s no doubt however that in the second-half, it was far more clinical from the Rooks but Tony believes they still need to do better.
“Half-time we were pretty calm, I told them we hadn’t played badly but just didn’t carry much threat. We brought Rhys Murrell-Williamson on, with Gondoh on the left, and we started well again.
“This time was different, we carried threats, Gondoh has gone down the left and put the ball in the bottom corner. 2-1. I still didn’t think we were top-notch in the final third, considering the areas we were getting in.
“Our goal-kick went within 20-yards of their goal from three-passes, several times. Maybe it’s my fault for in the build-up putting a lot of work on manipulating their formation, in 4v4 situations, we had so many of them throughout the game.
“The reality is we didn’t convert those into clear-cut chances, and we were punished for that. They’ve got pace out wide, a forward who is good in the air, good runners.
“We kept pushing and JT got his second, they thought it was a foul but to be honest I couldn’t really see from where I was. But JT finished clinically.
“The longer it went on the game got more stretched and listen, it was a great game for the neutral. Full credit to both sets of players because they gave everything for their respective sides.
“We’re disappointed with the amount of possession we had without creating enough so there’s work to do on that. But I said to them after, what I am so proud of is the character they showed.”
Our home form is an area of good consistency for Lewes, unbeaten in all 11 games at the Pan. Tony though, believes Wingate will bring a big threat.
“For tonight’s game, it will be interesting. I watched some footage on them, they’ve got some good young players. I think we’ll suit them more than other teams, because they’ll come to play.
“It will be quite an open game and I think they will be similar to Corinthian Casuals in their approach. In that sense we’ve got to be at it, they have good players in key areas.
“When they get it right, they’re a problem, look at their game against Dulwich Hamlet, beating them 5-1 in the cup, they carry threats.
“They’ll be up for us and the way they set up and how we approach that will make it a very open game. So, strap yourselves in!”
Tony has been very vocal on the support from the fans this season and was full of praise for the big numbers that travelled to Cray on Saturday.
“I have to talk about our fans again. The numbers they brought, the volume they made was unbelievable, I hope they had a good day out.
“We appreciate the numbers and support they give and hopefully we can repay them tonight with three points.”
Lewes FC vs. Wingate & Finchley tickets
The match on Tuesday is at 7:45pm. 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