Welcome to The Dripping Pan for today’s Pitching In Isthmian Premier League game with Cheshunt. Here is your complimentary e-programme.

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Good afternoon to everyone and welcome back to the Dripping Pan for the first competitive league game of 2021. I’m sure, like me, you have all been waiting for today, some patiently, others impatiently but we are finally here. I’d like to welcome our visitors from Cheshunt and their manager Craig Edwards. Enjoy your afternoon off the pitch in Lewes.

It has been hugely frustrating for all of us not to have any football. Yes, we had wall to wall coverage of the Premier League and the Euro’s but that made it worse in many respects that we couldn’t play. The break did give us time though as a club to really question where we want to get to, on and off the pitch, and that’s the reason why we saw a number of changes made during the last few months

We appointed Tony and Joe in late April and have been working incredibly hard behind the scenes to build their back room team and of course the playing squad. We’ve made a number of fundamental changes to how we have approached things in the past such as our training base, the approach to pre-season and during season preparation and our future strategy for the playing side of the club. The core thinking here is if you do the same time after time, you can’t expect different results.

We’ve recruited Tony, Joe and the rest of the management team to build us a squad that will not only compete at the top end of the Isthmian Premier League but will take us into the National League. That may not be this season – Rome wasn’t built in a day, but the foundations were and that is what we are doing at the moment. We want to give the fans something to be proud about, getting you all excited to come and watch the team.

It isn’t just on the Men’s side either – we have invested on and off the pitch for our Women’s squad too, bringing in a lot of new faces as they adapt to training five days a week. They go into the most competitive FA Championship ever off the back of the highest league finish the club has ever had. It promises to be an exciting season for both of our first teams.

We will also be investing time, resources and budget into strengthening our pathways. We have a Under18s squad on the Men’s side that is arguably the best in Sussex and we want to make that stronger. We’ve merged our DS and our Under18s on the Women’s side to ensure we have one strong squad rather than two good ones. We will also start planning for success for the levels below our Under18s sides, including looking at reintroducing our Academies once the time is right.

All of this takes time and resources. We are always so grateful to the volunteers who give up time to help build our club. This summer has seen some amazing efforts, led by our Supporters Club, in redecorating, rebuilding and revamping the Pan. We have a new bar at the top of the Philcox and even a community garden, managed by Bradley Pritchard (Brad’s Pit) at the Ham Lane/Main Stand corner.

Off the pitch we were delighted to promote Maggie to be Chief Executive Officer of the whole football club, and Lynne Burrell to step into Maggie’s Converse as our GM.

Enjoy the game and get behind the boys this afternoon.

Come On You Rooks!


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Good afternoon everyone. This is my first competitive game here at The Pan in charge of Lewes FC and I cannot tell you how excited myself, the staff and the players are to be here. We came away from the Dartford game two weeks ago buzzing about the reception we got.

Unfortunately, things didn’t go to plan last Saturday at Cray Wanderers. I’d like to apologise to you all on behalf of the staff and the players for the performance. It wasn’t great and we know that. We have set ourselves a standard for this season and we were well below that on Saturday. Cray Wanderers played well and they deserved the win.

We asked all of the players to come in for an extra session on Monday and everyone to a man responded as we expected them to. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, we won’t get immediate results – it will take time and there will be bumps in the road. You never know what you really have until the league starts and we came up short on Saturday. We will continue to strengthen where we need to, work even harder on the training pitch and deliver the performances that we expect.

We’ve met with a couple of new players who will be joining us shortly – we may not get the paperwork done in time for today but they will be available for next Saturday’s trip to Potters Bar Town.

In terms of today’s game, I know that Craig Edwards has built a good, strong squad and he is confident they will do well this season. We’ve watched some of their pre-season games and the game from last Saturday to get an idea of where they could cause us problems but also where we can take advantages of their weaknesses. We know his sides are always hardworking so we expect a tough challenge today.

When I first started off in management at Erith Town over 10 years ago I rang a number of managers to ask for advice and pick their brains. Few ever returned calls or gave me anything that was useful but Craig always did. He didn’t know me but he always tried to help me out and I will never forget that. Whilst for 90 minutes on Saturday we will be mortal enemies, I have nothing but respect for him and he will always be one of the good guys in my book.

Enjoy the game


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You can get full updates from today’s game, including team line-ups, goals and substitutions, by clicking here. It will automatically update throughout the game. Data supplied by FootballWebPages.

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The hard work continues after the last ball is kicked in earnest at the Pan and this summer we have seen some fantastic work carried out by the Supporters Club-led volunteers. Massive thanks to everyone who has given up their time to get the ground in shape but especially to Alan Sayers, Stuart Carruthers and Terry Morton. I think you agree they all deserve a pint!

The off-season might have been much longer than any of us wanted, but The Supporters Club has been busy throughout.

Our Maintenance Crew have put in a truly heroic number of hours over the past few months to make sure The Dripping Pan was back to its sparkling best for the return of football.

The list of jobs completed is too vast to mention here, but the dozens of volunteers who turned up for the Prep the Pan day in late July certainly helped ensure that everything was box fresh for the pre-season friendlies. No wonder we were once again voted the favourite ground to visit in the recent Isthmian League poll.

The Supporters Club has also been pushing hard on fundraising events over the summer. Our sponsored walk in early July put more than £1,600 in the coffers, while the early August Golf Day – attended by players and management – banked another £1,000.

Combined with the money we’ve raised by recruiting dozens of new members to our monthly Pan For Gold draw, The Supporters Club is preparing to invest in new facilities for supporters at The Dripping Pan – and we want Supporters Club members to help us decide how that money should be spent.

Membership of The Supporters Club is free – all we need is your name and email address. Sign up on our website now and we’ll keep you abreast of all the social and fundraising events we’ve got coming up, as well as giving you an opportunity to vote on how the money we’ve raised should be spent.

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The Dripping Pan voted the Fan’s Favourite AGAIN

Isthmian League fans have voted and their overwhelming choice for their favourite ground to visit is The Dripping Pan.

This is genuinely one of THE best awards to get because fans are the heart of football and attending a match should always feel special (even if the final result is sometimes not what you want).

We do work incredibly hard to make visiting the Dripping Pan a grand day out. So when people cite, the food, the bar, the views, the welcome and the whole atmosphere, that is music to our ears. Actually, people do also say they like our match day music choice, though it can also split opinion!

So, thank you to all the fans from all the clubs who voted for The Dripping Pan. And we aren’t going to stop making improvements. For this season, we’ve added an additional quick-service bar at the back of the home stand, MORE pies (so we don’t ever run out), replica shirts on quick-sale at the main bar, a vending machine Club Shop with our full range of other accessories and other stuff too.

Come for the match, but if you can, come for the day too as Lewes is a great town to visit.

Lewes partner with GIVEMESPORT

Lewes FC has a lot of stories to tell and this season, we will be joined by the online media company GIVEMESPORT and their 26 million-strong social audience.

This will take the form of a content partnership, with monthly columns from key figures within the club, regular interviews with players, and entertaining social videos all being produced across the GIVEMESPORT website.

GIVEMESPORT will also be helping the club in its drive to double Ownership numbers and ultimately to beocme the world’s most-owned football club. Well, you have to aim high.

Lewes FC director, Charlie Dobres, has high hopes for the partnership: “This season will see a big push by us both on the pitch and off it. We have built excellent squads for both our men’s and women’s teams that will see us challenging at the top of the tables. And we want to double our ownership numbers, building on 1,800 owners across 36 countries. So we need to amplify our message globally, and with GIVEMESPORT, we have an innovative online partner with huge reach and popularity and one that is also dedicated to driving coverage of women’s sport too. We can’t wait for it to all kick off.”

Speaking on that dedication, GIVEMESPORT Women Editor Nancy Gillen believes the values and ethos of the two organisations strongly align.

“I am very excited about the upcoming partnership,” she said. “The club is at the forefront of pushing for gender equality in football, something we’re also trying to achieve through our coverage of the Women’s Super League and Championship. I’m really looking forward to working closely with everyone at Lewes FC in the coming months as we aim to promote the club through columns, interviews and video content.”

To read more about this exciting new partnership, head over to GIVEMESPORT Women now and read an exclusive interview with Lewes FC’s CEO, Maggie Murphy.

Rooks announce four year partnership with VEO

Lewes FC is delighted to announce a four-year partnership with Veo that includes financial investment, camera hardware and performance software for its men’s and women’s first teams, youth teams and grassroots community partners.

Lewes FC & Veo share goals of building value within football communities through shared experiences and improving professionalism at all levels. The club’s community-oriented set-up, spanning elite and grassroots football, men and women, boys and girls provides the ideal launchpad to showcase both the social and performance impact of Veo cameras.

All first team and selective youth set-ups will now have access to cameras and software to support performance analysis, providing a competitive edge on opponents. Equally though, the Veo cameras will be used within the wider Lewes FC football community to share and celebrate special moments and ensure that parents and family members will never miss a goal.

Furthermore, one of our youth girls will be the star of a forthcoming Veo television commercial with viewers able to spot the Dripping Pan, training ground and the famous red and black stripes.

Lewes FC Chief Executive Maggie Murphy said “Veo is the perfect partner for us. They will help us increase the level of professionalism within our ambitious first and youth teams but also because our wider community teams will be able to enjoy and share the special moments and memories that are made every week as well. Veo will further strengthen our “One Club” environment that will be the envy of other clubs around the country.”

Oli Perkins, Veo’s UK Market Manager said “Partnering with Lewes FC is a dream come true for Veo. Their continuous championing of equality in community and elite football aligns perfectly with our own vision. We believe that teams of all ages, genders and ability should have access to technology to improve their players and their club. We will work alongside Lewes FC to amplify that message and also work with them to educate ourselves and the wider football community about equality in our game”

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A disappointing performance saw Lewes start the season with a 3-1 defeat at Cray Wanderers.

There were plenty of competitive debutants in Tony Russell’s new-look side, as well as Fintan Walsh and Nic D’Arienzo, who both featured for the Rooks last season.

The hosts started brightly and saw Adam Coombes go close twice early on, hitting the foot of the post after beating Mitchell Nelson to a long ball forward, before lifting another effort just over the bar minutes later.

Lewes began to pose more of a threat going forward after these early scares though, with Ollie Tanner hitting the side-netting from inside the area after Joe Taylor had seen a close-range strike blocked.

The hosts made the most of this by taking the lead on 16 minutes, as Coombes headed a corner from the left back across goal for the unmarked Anthony Cook to volley past Lewis Carey.

Cray doubled their lead nine minutes later, as Cook capitalised on hesitant defending to run through and finish across Carey and into the bottom corner.

Lewes were seeing plenty of the ball but found it difficult to turn this possession into clear-cut opportunities as the half progressed.

The Rooks were able to halve the deficit eight minutes before the break through Tanner, who cut in from the left before unleashing a powerful strike across Jack Turner and into the far corner.

Cray continued to look a threat going forward though, and Carey had to be alert to deny Jamie Yila and Cook to keep the score at 2-1 heading into half-time.

Lewes started the second half brightly and began to stretch the Cray defence with their movement in the final third.

Despite this, the closest the Rooks came to levelling the scores during this spell saw Taylor just fail to connect with a low Killian Colombie cross in front of goal.

Cray restored their two-goal advantage midway through the half, as Coombes was picked out with time and space in the area and he was able to draw Carey off his line before squaring for Yila to finish into the empty net.

The hosts continued to push for more goals in the closing stages and saw both Yila and Sadik Balarabe denied by Carey either side of an Annis Nuur strike, which went just over the bar at the end of an incisive counter-attack.

Lewes were unable to find a way back into the game late on and were left to reflect on a frustrating start to the season against an impressive Cray side.

The Rooks take on Cheshunt in their first home game of the season at the Pan next Saturday, kick-off at 3pm.

Cray Wanderers: Turner, Brand, Taylor, Cray, Okosieme, Brodie, Drury, Cook, Yila (Balarabe 79), Lewis (Nuur 62), Coombes (Rogers 80).
Unused Subs: Saccoh, Onoabagbe.

Lewes: Carey, Walsh (D’Arienzo 46), Colombie, Nelson, Weaire, Klass, Tanner, Pritchard (Olukoga 56), Taylor, Parker, Allen (De-Graft 57).
Unused Subs: Dent, Richards.

Attendance: 305 – approximately 90 Rooks

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The Rooks line up ready for the new season
Ollie Tanner’s early effort hits the side netting
Keeping the noise up
Ollie Tanner scores his first competitive goal for the Rooks to reduce the arrears to 2-1 just before half-time
The Lewes youngster celebrates his goal
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Saturday 26th June – Peacehaven & Telscombe (A) – 4-0 – Ojo x 2, Weaire, Trialist

Saturday 3rd July – Lancing (A) – 4-0 – Parker x 2, Tanner, Triailist

Tuesday 13th July – Tonbridge Angels (A) – 0-1

Saturday 17th July – VCD Athletic (A) – 3-0 – Parker, Tanner x 2

Wednesday 21st July – Sevenoaks Town (A) – 4-2 – Taylor, Nelson, Trialists x 2

Saturday 24th July – Whitehawk (A) – 3-1 – Tanner, Taylor, Trialist

Tuesday 27th July – Billericay Town (A) – 2-2 – Tanner, Allen

Saturday 31st July – Eastbourne Borough (A) – 3-2 – Klass, Richards, D’Arienzo

Tuesday 3rd August – Aveley (A) – 4-2 – Tanner, Allen, Coleman De-Graft, Taylor

Saturday 7th August – Dartford (H) – 2-1 – Taylor, Coleman De-Graft

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The match of the day in the Premier Division, on paper at least, was Folkestone Invicta v Worthing – or as our Supporters Prediction series suggested, 3rd v 1st. The first half was goalless, but Ollie Pearce broke the deadlock for the visitors six minutes after the restart and there was a second goal soon afterwards, this one delighting those in stripes- we suspect most of the eight hundred and thirty six in attendance- as Ian Draycott equalised. Invicta then took the lead, and it was Draycott once more finding the net, before the hosts entered dreamland as David Smith made it three-one.

FA Trophy winners Hornchurch had what looked like a difficult match in prospect, as they travelled to Horsham. The Hornets have strengthened over the summer, but they were unable to stop the Urchins taking the lead on fourteen minutes, Liam Nash the scorer- and Nash doubled his tally on the half hour to seal victory.

Another team strengthened and highly fancied, Kingstonian, hosted Haringey Borough. The K’s struck from the spot after twenty six minutes, Gus Sow beating Jonathan Miles in the visitors goal, and that turned out to be the only goal of the game.

Bognor Regis Town fans approached the new season with confidence as they hosted Bishop’s Stortford, but it may have been dented when Craig Robson saw red midway through the first half. Six hundred and fifty seven turned up, and that red card turned out to be the only other number to write about as the game ended goalless.

Alexander Sami got the first Pitching In Premier Division goal of the day at the right end, although it was the wrong end for Bowers and Pitsea as Leatherhead went ahead on nine minutes. The hosts got one at the right end for them five minutes later, Bradley Sach with the leveller from the spot, but the Tanners were ahead once more by thirty three minutes, Sami striking again, and they made it three as the player got his hat trick on sixty-nine minutes. Sach perhaps also wanted a hat trick, getting his second to reduce the arrears with eighteen minutes to go- again from the spot- but couldn’t manage it, and the Tanners left with the points.

Brightlingsea Regent and Merstham waited sixty eight minutes for a goal, and when it arrived it came to the hosts, Jake Clowsley breaking the deadlock. Lewis Byrne-Hewitt doubled the Regent advantage three minutes from time and sealed victory.

Carshalton Athletic are amongst the favourites but had a terrible start as they hosted Enfield Town, an own goal breaking the deadlock in the first minute. They levelled, however, Harry Ottaway with the goal twenty minutes later, and were ahead before the break, Luke Read completing the turnaround right on half time. That lead lasted only five minutes, before Mo Faal- back with the Towners for now- equalised for the visitors, and the Towners were ahead again in this see-saw match on the hour, as Lewis Taafe found the net, and put daylight between themselves and their hosts when Faal scored again to make it two-four and take the points.

Cheshunt were going great guns when 2020-21 fell apart, and opened the scoring against East Thurrock United when Theo Osinfolarin scored eight minutes before the break. It was two-nil before the half time whistle, Reece Beckles-Richards doubling the score, and three soon after it, Ken Charles with the next one. That was that, three points and three goals to the Ambers. .

Potters Bar Town and Corinthian-Casuals didn’t manage a goal between them in the first half, but the visitors quickly got one after the break- three minutes after the break to be exact, Benjamin Cheklit with the opener. Devonte Aransibia equalised just after the hour, and then the hosts took the lead through ben Ward-Cochrane, who scored from the spot. Ward-Cochrane then netted another spot kick at the end to confirm victory.

Wingate & Finchley fell behind on the half hour as they hosted Margate. Ben Greenhalgh has looked impressive in pre-season and took that form into the campaign with the opening goal after thirty one minutes, and that turned out to be the only goal.

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The original Cheshunt Football Club was formed around 1880, being founder members of the Southern Amateur League in 1907 and joining the Athenian League in 1919. They disbanded in 1931.

The modern club was established in July 1946, joining the London League and winning Division One two years running in 1948 and 1949, and stepping up to the Premier Division which they won at the first attempt in 1950. The club joined the Delphian League in 1951, returned to the London League in 1955, were founder members of the Aetolian League in 1959, switched to the Spartan League in 1962 which they won at the first attempt, and joined the Athenian League in 1964.

They finished runners-up in their second season in the Athenian League Division Two, winning promotion to Division One which they won in 1968 to step up to the Premier Division. They won the Mithras Cup in 1970, the London Charity Cup in 1974, the East Anglian Cup in 1975 and the Athenian League Cup in both 1975 and 1976.

Cheshunt joined Division Two of the Isthmian League in 1977, winning promotion to Division One in 1982, but suffered relegation in 1984. They dropped back to the Spartan League in 1987, regained promotion to Division Three of the Isthmian League in 1993 (alongside winning the Spartan League Cup).

They finished second in their first season and were promoted to Division Two; were relegated in 1998, and made an immediate return to Division Two after finishing third in 1999. In 2003 they won Division Two and were promoted to Division One. A third-place finish the following year saw them promoted to the Premier Division. They were reprieved from relegation the following season when Hornchurch folded, and were transferred to the Southern League Premier Division. Relegation in 2008 saw them placed in Division One North of the Isthmian League.

League reorganisation saw Cheshunt placed in the South-Central Division. Finishing third, they defeated Marlow 2-1 and Bracknell Town 3-0 in the play-offs to win promotion back to the Premier Division. We all know what has happened to our football over the course of the past two seasons. The Ambers had mixed results in this season’s friendlies, drawing their last two friendlies 1 -1 at home to St. Alban’s City and 3-3 against Dartford on Wednesday night.

They started the 2021/22 season with a comprehensive 3-0 win at home to East Thurrock United last Saturday with goals from Theo Osinfolarin, Reece Beckles-Richards and Ken Charles.

I know we won’t need reminding of the last meeting between the two sides here at The Pan, but we have a duty to, so look away now if you are easily shocked.

Our Last Meeting – 8th February 2020 – Lewes 1 Cheshunt 6

It all started so well for the Rooks, without a win in seven games and a goal in four, when Dayshonne Golding took advantage of a mistake on the halfway line and ran through to score after 2 minutes. The lead lasted 17 minutes before Beckles-Richards scored and that is how it stayed until half-time.

The fans who stayed at the Ham Lane End certainly got value for money as they saw a further five goals in the second period with Cheshunt goals coming from Moss, Kassarate, Newton, Camara and a second from Beckles-Richards to send the 500 Rooks fans home in disappointment.


Craig Edwards – Manager
From Kingstonian, Craig became the Amber’s Manager in January 2018 with the club six points adrift at the bottom of the Bostik North Division One. In the end the side secured safety comfortably, finishing ten points clear of relegation. In 2018/19 the club achieved promotion to the Bostik Premier Division in his first full season. 2020 saw a premature ending to the season due to Covid-19. 2021 was similarly prematurely ended with the club in 2nd position in the newly named Pitching In Premier Division. Craig spent some seven years at Billericay Town FC leading them to the Ryman League Premier Division Title in 2011/12 season.

2020 saw a premature ending to the season due to Covid-19. 2021 was similarly prematurely ended with the club in 2nd position in the newly named Pitching In Premier Division. Craig spent some seven years at Billericay Town FC leading them to the Ryman League Premier Division Title in 2011/12 season.

Charlie Taylor – Goalkeeper
Charlie is a 24 year old London born ‘keeper who has played international football for Panama U20 side.

Ola Williams – Defender
Ola is a right-back, ex Staines, Bromley Town and Corinthian Casuals.

Chevron McLean – Defender
Chevron is a 25 year old who started his career with Fulham and has played international football for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines national football team.

Taylor McKenzie – Defender
Taylor is a 27 year old Enfield-born centre-back.

Tom Gardiner – Defender
Tom is a 26 year old who we believe began his career at Tottenham Hotspur, and has also played at Dartford, Eastbourne Borough, and St Albans.

Ayoub Cherradi – Defender
Ayoub is this weeks opposition mystery man, and we should never look back in Amber.

Lennie Armstrong – Defender
We think Lennie is a young centre-back who joined the Ambers for the start of this season from Bangor City.

Theo Osinfalarin – Defender/Midfielder
Theo is a 22 year old who joined the Ambers this summer. Amongst his previous clubs are Greenwich Borough and Ashford Utd. In Cheshunt’s 3-0 home win opener against East Thurrock last week he scored their first goal.

Joe Re – Midfielder
Joe Joined the Ambers from St Albans, he likes to join the attack and pop in the odd goal or two.

Taylor Miles – Midfielder
Taylor is a 26 year old who joined the Ambers in June 2020 from St Albans. Amongst his previous clubs are Lincoln City, Hemel Hempstead Town, and Chelmsford City.

Ashley Nzala – Midfielder
Ash joined Cheshunt in the 2018/19 season having formerly played for Hayes & Yeading United.

George Marsh – Midfielder
George began his career at the Tottenham Hotspur Academy where he was known as a tough tackler. He was loaned to Leyton Orient, and also played at Wimbledon before signing for Cheshunt.

Zack Newton – Midfielder/Forward
Zack previously played for Worthing and joined Cheshunt in July 2020 from Welling Utd.

Reece Beckles Richards – Forward
Reece is a 26 year old Antigua and Barbudan international. He has also had spells at Aldershot Town, Woking, Kingstonian, Wingate & Finchley, and Wealdstone. He scored their second in Cheshunt’s 3-0 home win opener against East Thurrock.

Ken Charles – Forward
Ken is another of the many player imports to the Ambers from St Alban’s; got their last goal in Cheshunt’s 3-0 home win opener against East Thurrock.

Mo Camara – Forward
Mo is a valuable member of the Cheshunt squad who scored the sixth Ambers goal against us in their 1-6 win here in February 2020. That won’t, of course, happen today.

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L-R from our Starting XI at Cray Wanderers – Allen, Walsh, Pritchard, Nelson, Parker, Klass, Carey, Tanner, Colombie, Weaire, Taylor

Lewis Carey
Carey will be a familiar face to Rooks fans having previously played for us in the 2018/19 season and winning Supporters Player of the Season. Lewis came through the youth ranks at Bristol City, and is an experienced non-league keeper having appeared for Bromley, Tonbridge Angels, Eastbourne Borough and Cray Wanderers.

Tom Carlse
An energetic full-back, Tom has previously played for Sittingbourne, Greenwich Borough, Ashford United and was part of the Cray Wanderers side that were promoted from the Isthmian South in 2018/19.

Killian Colombie
Able to play in defence or midfield, Killian has spent most of his career so far playing in the US for Iona Gaels, AHFC Royal, Brazos Valley Cavalry and Sporting Kansas City II. Killian joined Aldershot Town in November 2020 and making 12 appearances before switching to the Rooks ahead of the 2021/22 season.

Kenny Yao
The former Charlton Athletic youngster is a versatile player who is comfortable at full-back, in the centre of defence or as a holding midfielder. Was at Dartford on loan during the 2019-20 season.

Nic D’Arienzo
Nic made his first team debut for the Rooks in the League Cup in 2019/20 against Three Bridges, graduating from the Under 18s and went on to make four first team appearances that season and another seven in the curtailed 2020/21 season. An accomplished left-back who is also comfortable in the centre of defence.

Ben Mundele
An England C international, Ben is a full back by trade but can also play at centre back and in midfield. Ben was named in the Isthmian Team of the Season in 2017/18 and 2018/19 and joined the club from Cray Wanderers ahead of the 2021/22 season.

Mitchell Nelson
An experienced centre back, Mitchell started his career at Bournemouth and subsequently played for Eastleigh, Sutton United, Margate, Dulwich Hamlet, Welling United, Tonbridge Angels and Cray Wanderers. Mitchell has previously played for the club joining on loan from Bournemouth in the 2010/11 season.

Matt Weaire
A young but composed centre back, Matt has represented Denmark Under 19’s. Starting his career at Brighton & Hove Albion, Matt joins the club from Colchester United.

Karl Dent
A highly technical midfielder, Dent was with Arsenal in his youth, going on to join Dartford before joining up with Tony Russell at VCD Athletic and Cray Wanderers.

Michael Klass
With Fulham and Queens Park Rangers as a youth player, Michael went on to join Southend United making 12 appearances for the first team. Had an impressive spell on loan with Bromley in the 2019/20 season before returning to Southend and joining the Rooks in 2021/22. A player with exciting potential and one to watch this season.

Ayo Olukoga
Previously played for Romford, Cheshunt and East Thurrock, some impressive performances in pre-season saw the industrious centre midfielder snapped up by the management team for 2021/22.

Freddie Parker
Still only 21, Parker is a strong and technically gifted midfielder and has scored 30 goals in just over 75 games in the Isthmian League. Started his career with Millwall and had a spell at Crystal Palace before joining Cray Wanderers.

Bradley Pritchard
Pritchard joined us from Cray Wanderers to link up once again with Tony Russell and Joe Vines, although he is probably better known for his performances in the English Football League for Charlton Athletic and Leyton Orient. Rooks fans may also remember him from our encounters against Greenwich Borough. He made 67 appearances for Cray Wanderers between 2018 and the end of last season, scoring nine goals.

Kyron Richards
A promising and versatile midfielder, Kyron has previously played for Atlantis FC in Finland and FC Barkingside before joining Tony Russell at Cray Wanderers in 2020.

Iffy Allen
A very skilful wide player who can also play as a Number 10, Allen joined the club from Ebbsfleet United in the summer of 2021. A youth player with Fulham, Allen went on to play for Barnet, Yeovil Town, Torquay United, Aldershot Town, Wrexham, Dulwich Hamlet, Braintree Town and Maidstone United.

Razzaq Coleman De-Graft
A technical and powerful player, Razzaq can play in a front three and as left back, the former Hampton & Richmond Borough player joined the Rooks following a series of impressive performances in pre-season including a goal against Dartford FC.

Brad Santos
Made is first team debut at Margate in August 2019, Brad had several successful season with the Under 18’s as well as appearances for Sussex and England Under 18s. Known for his close ball control and speed, Brad has joined the first team squad in 2020/21 going on to make 11 appearances before the season was curtailed.

Ollie Tanner
A highly promising and exciting winger, Ollie was a Charlton and Arsenal youth player before joining Bromley’s academy and was promoted to their first team squad in 2019/20, making his debut at 17. Joined the Rooks in the summer of 2021.

Joe Taylor
A prolific goal scorer, Taylor counts Ramsgate, Folkestone, Margate and Cray Wanderers amongst his former clubs. Scored 32 goals in 38 appearances for the Wands in the null and voided 2019/20 and 13 goals in 14 games in the curtailed 2020/21 season. Taylor was Tony Russell’s first signing as Lewes manager.

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Ian is undoubtedly one of the best football bloggers of the 21st century and a regular visitor here at the Pan. Every progcast we will feature one of his articles but please drop by his website and read some of the excellent, topical posts he produces on an almost-daily basis.

Return of the Mac

It’s been a long time since things were anything like normal. Football grounds have been empty for the vast majority of the last year and a half, with only a brief interlude last autumn when a very small number of fans were allowed into some non-league matches, but this weekend sees the return of crowds from the fifth tier of the non-league game down as those leagues kick off their seasons. And in the North West Counties League, a new club will be kicking off, trying to erase memories of the mismanagement which killed off its predecessor completely as it fell from the EFL back into the non-league game.

Macclesfield Town’s ascent to the Football League in the late 1990s was in its own way a strange sight to behold. This club felt like what a non-league football club should look like. They’d been the first ever champions of the Northern Premier League in 1969 and the first ever winners of the FA Trophy a year later, but they missed out on a place in the Alliance Premier League (now the National League) upon that league’s formation in 1979 because they were in the middle of a slump which saw them drop to the very bottom of the Northern Premier League.

It wasn’t until 1987 that they reached the GM Vauxhall Conference. They were harshly denied promotion after winning the Conference title in 1996 for ground grading reasons, even though just a couple of years earlier their Moss Rose ground had been hosting League football when Chester City ground-shared there while awaiting the completion of their all-new Deva Stadium. Undeterred, they won the league title again two years later, and this time the ground was ready. Macclesfield wasted no time by getting promoted straight into League One, but relegation back to League Two followed immediately and the club stayed there until relegation back into the Conference in 2012. Six years later, they were back as champions of the National League, but just over two years after this last title, on the 16th Sptember 2020, Macclesfield Town folded altogether over an unpaid tax debt of £188,000 and with total debts of almost £600,000, after repeated adjournments requested by the club led to nothing.

Macclesfield FC had been Town’s name until 1966, so it was no surprise that the new club formed took it too. Indeed, the whole formation came about very quickly. On the 13th October 2020, just four weeks after the winding up of the old club, the Official Receiver confirmed that the assets of Macclesfield Town had been sold to Macc Football Club Limited, owned by local businessman (and owner of 10th tier Stockport Town) Robert Smethurst, who owns a company called Pro Football Academy, a private youth academy with 41 sites around the country.

Smethurst hasn’t been shy with his money. A new artificial playing surface has been laid and the floodlights upgraded, with further improvements planned and others already started. Placed into the Premier Division of the North West Counties League, Danny Whitaker, who played more than 400 games for Town and who came out of contract to sign a year’s contract with them the day before they were liquidated, is their manager, and the team has experience elsewhere, too. Kieran Kennedy started his career at Motherwell, but also played for several English clubs, including AFC Fylde and… Macclesfield Town. Curtis Obeng made almost 100 appearances for Wrexham between 2009 and 2012, and has also played for Fleetwood Town, York City, Stevenage and Newport County.

Off the pitch, there seem to be no signs of discord. The Silkmen Trust, who had been exploring ways to save the club as it imploded at court, have swung behind the new club, and while the appointment of Robbie Savage as Director of Football might have been considered a bit of publicity and little more, he certainly seems to have been a lot more hands-on than many expected. Their placing at the fifth level of the non-league game may displease some. There are those who believe that phoenix clubs should be placed at the lowest available tier, and opposing clubs in the North West Counties League would be entitled to feel aggrieved by a club of this size landing in their division. There are no answers to these matters which will please everybody.

It is worth pointing out that, although the fate of Macclesfield Town was sealed during the pandemic, the timing wasn’t the cause of the club’s collapse. Macclesfield had been mismanaged for several years, a failure of senior management within the club and of oversight from the EFL. Insofar as the record books are concerned, the club is recorded as a non-league failure, but the last two years of this club’s existence were played out against a backdrop of red flags and warnings being sounded which largely seemed to go ignored.

But, while it’s a familiar trope to grumble about the EFL or the FA – and God knows there can be enough to gripe about, at times – perhaps it’s time for a little optimism, instead. There’s a crackle in the air, at the moment. Friendly matches are being welcomed with open arms by supporters who’ve been starved of live football for almost a year and a half. Macclesfield’s season league season starts in in four days with a home match against Burscough. The people of the town have a team to support this season, and that should be the most important thing of all, really.

They may well be bumps ahead in the roadmap of this season. We’re not as close to life returning to normal, as some people apparently believe they can force through will alone. The new football season, however, is a time for optimism. We haven’t seen our teams’ shortcomings up close and personal yet. We’ve forgotten about the annoying foghorn who always seems to be standing a few feet away from you, no matter where you are.

But we’ve also half-forgotten the thrill of drinking a pint of beer at one o’clock in the afternoon without the nagging concern that we should probably cut down on the daytime drinking. We have a vague recollection of that feeling of hope, dread and anticipation at it being ‘football day’. We’ve waited for this. The vast majority of us have obeyed the rules, and done what we could. A great many of us have lost loved ones, friends, and partners, but there are a good number of ordinary heroes out there, too, who’ve worked themselves to the bone and beyond for us. We deserve this new season, the feeling of a new day dawning that comes with the start of every new season. If we can’t wish everybody well at this time of the year, well, when can we?

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A first chance to see Simon Parker’s new look Lewes squad in action as they prepare for the start of the FA Women’s Championship campaign next Sunday with a tough test against Super League West Ham United.

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It costs as little as £40 to become an owner of Lewes FC. For that, you not only get the inner glow of helping your local community-owned football club, but you get great discounts from dozens of retailers in the Lewes area and nationwide. You can join instantly by clicking the button below.

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About The Pakex Stadium
The Pakex Stadium is well-appointed and pleasant ground to visit. The main stand is a four-row affair that runs around half the way down one side of the pitch, resplendent in the club’s blue and red colours. Behind the stand is a decent-sized clubhouse, upgraded in the summer. There’s a small covered stand in between the two dug-outs on the far side of the ground whilst behind one goal is another small covered area. An interesting bit of trivia for you – the turnstiles came from the Old Wembley Stadium.

How to get to The Pakex Stadium
The ground is located close to junction 24 of the M25, meaning you have a choice as to whether to head clockwise or anti-clockwise when you reach junction 7 from heading up to M23. In terms of distance, it is within a mile either way (98/99 miles from Lewes and around 2 hours) so it will depend purely on the traffic – perhaps go clockwise on the way there, anti-clockwise on the way back so that you can claim to have done a complete circuit in a day!

From the M25 junction 24 head north on Southgate Road until the junction with the A1000 and take a right into the High Street. After the BP garage on the left, take the next left in The Walk. The entrance to the ground is 100 yards on the right-hand side. It is street parking for everyone.
The nearest railway station is Potters Bar which is on the line from Kings Cross (around 17 minutes journey) or Moorgate (around 35 mins). From the station the ground is a 10-minute walk away – The Walk is opposite the station and simply head eastwards, taking the path on the left after 500 metres to the ground.

Admission at The Pakex Stadium
Admission this season is £12 for adults, £8 for concessions (senior citizens and students), under 16s are admitted for £1 with an adult.

Fancy a beer?
The nearest pub to the ground is The Admiral Byng in Darkes Lane which is a decent sized Wetherspoons. The Old Manor is an attractive looking pub almost next door to the station and is definitely worth a visit for their good selection of beers. There is a Harvester (The Oakmere) in the High Street about a five-minute walk from the ground.

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Yes, the Stodgebusters are back!

It’s been a long time away. Sixteen months to be precise since our last proper awayday. Starved of proper football and fed up of being dragged around Dunelm Mill and IKEA, the friendlies have never been so eagerly awaited by the lads. Lockdown had been catastrophic for the gang with all our favourite cafes and restaurants being closed. Although there had been some positives! For example, Gary had found out how to turn his oven on, and PJ had mastered cheese on toast.

The fact that we have a new management team who have had some recent success, and some exciting new signings makes us optimistic for possibly the most enjoyable season that we have had for quite a while. It would be nice to be not looking at the bottom of the table. It’s sad that a few fans favourites have decamped to Whitehawk. But that’s football.

First up would be Peacehaven and Telscombe and a Stodgebuster favourite comes into play for our pre-match fill up. The Peacehaven Carvery. Only PJ and Gary the Badge could make the lunch and with public transport not being that attractive PJ drove to Peacehaven. The carvery rarely disappoints and didn’t on this occasion either. A couple of plates of generously cut turkey and roast beef heaped up with vegetables and the obligatory roast potatoes, all smothered in thick gravy followed by the perilous journey back to the table without losing a spud on the way. The only disappointment was the bottomless ice cream machine was out of action due to covid19 restrictions. Booo! We always like a bowl of the whippy ice cream and a good dose of caramel sauce over it.

Onto the ground, and after nabbing the last parking spot in we went. What a pleasure it was to see so many familiar faces again, even Treacle, and enjoy some much missed banter on a nice sunny day. Some who don’t usually do away games had turned out. It seemed like everyone was just so pleased to get back to watching The Rooks.

As for the game with all the trialists it was difficult to recognise anyone in the Lewes line up. We spotted Santos and Malins….and that was about it for us. Lewes were well on top for most of the first half but went in only one up. Changes aplenty at half time and Lewes rattled in three more in the second half. We didn’t know names but one lad was quite impressive and scored twice. We were delighted to find out he was one of our under 18s. Four nil and a splendid way to spend an afternoon.

Onto Lancing and our first venture onto the trains since Lord knows when. This was a proper Stodgebuster outing with PJ, Gary the Badge and Steve Rook joining up with Roly on the train at Lewes. Surprisingly, and rather concerningly in these Covid times, it was very busy and we had to take seats where we could. PJ was sitting next to a young lady and, ever the ladies man, quickly struck up a pleasant conversation. He’s still got it y’know.

A swift change at Brighton and a short journey along the coast to Lancing for the two minute walk to the Rainbow Cafe. PJ had carried out a reconnaissance mission earlier in the week. He had been accompanied by his significant other who had been expecting lunch at somewhere a little more upmarket but ended up with an omelette, chips and a cup of tea instead of Penne Arrabiatta and a glass of wine. Anyway, PJ reported back that it was perfect Stodgebuster territory. It’s a very pleasant, clean and spacious cafe with very good service, and a couple of English breakfasts and a couple of dinner plate sized omelettes were quickly served up. Absolutely superb all round and scored a well deserved ten on the Stodge-o-Meter. Possibly one of the best we’ve been to on our travels.

It’s only a five minute walk to Culver Road, even after a huge lunch. Once again there were plenty of Lewes fans there for some pre match banter. One or two of the new signings from Cray were playing first half. It’s fair to say it was a bit one sided. Lewes cut through Lancing at will with some brilliant football. We think that Lewis Carey in the Lewes goal didn’t touch the ball until the thirty second minute. There were mass changes at half time and the momentum was lost but Lewes ran out four-nil winners and could easily have been double that.

Next up for us would be Tonbridge Angels. A league above would mean this would be a stiffer test for the new look Rooks. A midweek fixture means no sit down meal but we usually sample the delights, or otherwise, of the ground catering. PJ drove to this one with Gary the Badge riding shotgun. With Earwig Corner being a mess with roadworks PJ took the Chailey road out of town, then via Wych Cross and Hartfield without ever really knowing where he was, relying on the SatNav to guide him round some pretty narrow lanes. Turnstile Alan drove from Eastbourne and picked up Polegate Roly on the way.

No chips! That’s always a black mark for any ground catering. The hot dog and burgers weren’t bad though. We gave it a Seven.

Now, we were under the impression that this was a friendly. Someone didn’t tell Tonbridge this and they got stuck in as if it was a derby match. Their number five kicked anything that moved. The Lewes nine, Taylor, having been on the receiving end of some dubious challenges from him must have got a bit fed up and put in a rugged tackle of his own and went straight in the book.

Tonbridge were really physical but were also very good with the ball. They pinned Lewes back and it was no surprise when they went one up when a superb pass was brought down and brilliantly finished. The strong arm tactics continued into the second half and finally the referee decided the home team deserved a yellow card or two. Unfortunately a Lewes player, (we don’t know who as the Lewes team sheet read “25 Trialists”) took a little revenge. There was a huge melee and we assume it was the perpetrator got sent off. The referee was flashing yellow cards like confetti to whom we don’t know. Near the end the Tonbridge number three was involved in some play acting that the Italians would have been proud of. Cue Cynical Dave with a trademark response. We seemed to play a bit better with ten men but Tonbridge ran out deserved one-nil winners without living up to their Angels name, and amongst the plethora of cards shown the Angels number five mysteriously escaped receiving one. We reckoned he must be the referees brother in law or something.

Next up was VCD Athletic. It was left to Gary and Roly to fly the flag for this one with the other Stodgebusters unavailable. It was going to be a hot day and it was plenty warm enough at 11-20 when Gary turned up at Lewes Station to buy his ticket. What’s this? Nobody at the ticket office, and one young lady behind the barrier who couldn’t issue tickets. In the end the infernal machine outside was pressed into service to issue a Travelcard.

Roly was already on board as we settled down on a very quiet train for the first stage of the journey to Gatwick Airport. A quick change to the London Bridge service and we arrived on time to catch the train to Crayford.

The Bubble and Squeak Cafe has served us well in the past and did so again. The roast beef and omelette served up were both superb.

The walk to the ground is an uphill slog and with the heat it was a bit of a struggle but we made it in plenty of time.

The first thing noticeable was that there was a lack of Rooks fans with only the hard core making the trip. To be honest the home support was a bit sparse as well.

Lewes went 1 up in the first couple of minutes and were cutting through the home defence at will. Another goal and a 2-0 half time lead and we were looking comfortable.

During the second half VCD came into the game a bit more but Lewes wrapped up the win with the last kick of the game. All credit to the players on both sides who put on such a good show in the stifling conditions.

The journey home went without a hitch and the train from East Croydon was virtually empty so we could thankfully remove our masks and breathe.

To be continued…….

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Alfie Bendle has recently signed for AFC Wimbledon after being part of the youth set up at Lewes. A talented attacking midfielder who at 16 years old has signed a professional deal with the League One club. Alfie made an appearance in our first pre-season game away at Peacehaven & Telscombe. We wish Alfie all the best as he starts on his career as a professional.

This week the u18’s will begin their league campaign against Burgess Hill Town. A fixture that is always competitive and was the final of the Sussex u18 County Cup in 2019. Lewes won 1-0 and still remain County Cup champions due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The 2020 final was null and voided when the young rooks were due to play Worthing FC whilst looking for their 3rd County Cup title in a row.

A new squad have been assembled over the summer and the players are looking forward to representing the club. A wealth of talent from across Sussex has joined the pathway this year, in what promises to be another exciting group.

The newest addition to the men’s pathway is the u14’s. The u14’s will play against Eastbourne Borough u14’s on Sunday 22nd in a friendly before their season begins on the 5th September.

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Not only is Paul part of the editorial team for this e-programme but during lockdown he has only gone and written a book about the club.

‘Bea on the Ball is a Lewes-based story about 15-year old Beatriz who wants to be a top goalscorer for Lewes FC. This new novel for young adults follows Bea’s life as she copes with her self-image, her friendships, her school and her dad, and is author Paul Sheppard’s first novel.

The page-turner was inspired by Lewes FC’s Equality FC campaign, by which they become the first club in the world to assign equal playing budgets to both first teams in 2017, valueing women and girl footballers just as much as men and boys

In the novel Bea is discovered by the club whilst managing some challenging circumstances, strong feelings and interesting characters.

Sheppard said, ‘I’ve been an owner of Lewes FC for some years now, and have always been a scribbler, mostly of short stories. This book was born out of lockdown, about a young footballer because football is in my blood. At first I was going to write about a boy, but then – thinking about Equality FC – I thought why not tell a new story, a different story? And since I couldn’t find any books about girls who played football in the bookshops, I decided I had to write ‘Bea on the Ball’.

Lewes director Karen Dobres said, ‘When Lewes FC began its equality campaign we hoped to start a movement and inspire people, so it’s brilliant to see ‘Bea on the Ball’ in bookshops! It’s a wonderful read, showing girls that there is a place for them in football too. And we all have a great stereotype-busting role model in Bea – she’s full of gutsy determination, on the ball on and off the pitch, and a character who really trusts herself.’

Bea on the Ball is available from all good book shops and online at £9.99, and also at The Dripping Pan in Lewes.

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Sunday 22nd August 2021 – Lewes vs West Ham United Women (Pre-Season Friendly) – 2pm

Thursday 26th August 2021 – Lewes U18s v Burgess Hill Town (Isthmian Youth League) – TBC

Sunday 29th August 2021 – Lewes vs Charlton Athletic Women (FA Championship) – 2pm

Monday 30th August 2021 – Lewes vs Horsham (Isthmian Premier League) – 3pm

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“The Isthmian Football League strongly supports the FA statement that there should be a zero tolerance approach against racism and all forms of discrimination. Accordingly any form of discriminatory abuse whether it by reason of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion and belief, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, sex and sexual orientation or any other form of abuse will be reported to The Football Association for action by that Association.” (The FA 0800 085 0508 / Kick it Out 020 7253 0162).The Isthmian League and all Member Clubs in the League are committed to promoting equality by treating people fairly and with respect, by recognising that inequalities may exist, by taking steps to address them and providing access and opportunities for all members of the community.”

Lewes 2000 FC Limited. Registered in England and Wales with Company Registration Number 03790979. Lewes 2000 FC Limited is 100% owned by Lewes Community Football Club.

Honorary President Terry Parris
Chair Stuart Fuller
Directors Ed Briggs, Charlie Dobres, Karen Dobres, Stuart Fuller, John Peel, Ed Ramsden, Claire Rafferty (co-opted) Trevor Wells
Chief Executive Officer Maggie Murphy
Club Secretary John Peel
Match Coordinator Jessie Maes
Youth Secretary Kevin Brook
Operations Manager James Barker

Equality FC Campaign Manager Karen Dobres

Life Members
Mr and Mrs Brook, Vic Blunt, Pat Dartnell, Gary Elphick, Gordon Fowlie, Peter Hiscox RIP, Billy Nixon, Derrick Parris, Terry Parris, Jimmy Quinn, P. Swaysland, Steve Ibbitson, Jason Hopkinson, Steve White, Martin Elliot, Kevin Fingerneissl, Kevin Powell, David and Barbara Arnold, Roger and Cathy Feltham, Ethel Treagus, Roy Dartnell RIP, Ron Moore, Derek Southouse, Ray Smith, Ken Carter RIP

Manager Tony Russell
Assistant manager Joe Vines
Head of Recruitment Adam Drew
First team coach Dale Hurley
First team coach Nathan White
First team physio Lydia Woodland
Goalkeeping coach Grant Hall
Match logistics Vik Dogra
Kitman Clive Burgess
Data Analyst Shaun Harrison
Under-18s Manager Dale Hurley
Under-18s Assistant Manager Craig Stevens
Under-18s coaches Jake Legrange and Johnny Buggy

Golden Rook Rob Read
Web Editor Stuart Fuller
Progcast Editors Paul Sheppard and Stuart Fuller
Club Photographer James Boyes

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MONDAY 30th AUGUST 2021 – 3pm – HORSHAM FC

Tickets on sale now!