Lewes vs Merstham – Saturday 15th January 2022 3pm – The Isthmian Premier League

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

Pictures from James Boyes and Stuart Fuller

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NOTES FROM THE CHAIR

Good afternoon and welcome to the Dripping Pan for this afternoon’s Isthmian Premier League game against Merstham. I’d like to welcome the fans, players, management and officials from the Moatsiders and hope their brief stay in East Sussex is enjoyable.

Last Saturday we comprehensively beat a very strong Enfield Town side in pretty awful conditions on a very stodgy pitch. The magnitude of the victory underlined how good we have become as a side. We have always believed that we can beat any side in our league and away from home we have been unplayable in a number of games – Potters Bar Town, Margate, Bowers and Pitsea and Horsham for instance. Even at Kingstonian when we lost 4-2 we were the better side for long periods of time.

The win at Enfield, and the nature of our three second half goals, the fourth including 34 consecutive passes where all eleven players touched the ball, demonstrates how we want to play. It may not always be successful, and many teams will do everything in their power to disrupt it, but we have the players who can perform. Every game in this league is like a cup final now – we’ve won four of our last five games but we cannot rest on our laurels now with six points separating eight teams at the top.

One name that will be on the team sheet today is Ollie Tanner, despite what you may have read in the press this week. I had to laugh that the Sun claimed they had an exclusive on a number of clubs who were “interested” in Ollie, 36 hours after the Argus printed the same list of clubs, which they had also asked me to confirm (which I wouldn’t). It is just lazy journalism – take a player, add some random clubs and press “print”. We have had formal approaches for Ollie and and as a club we will handle those in a way that is acceptable to Ollie, his agent, our management team and of course the club. Move on.

Last night Tony and I went to watch Barking vs Maldon & Tiptree, which was a chance for us to see Freddie Parker in action. Freddie has been unlucky this year, picking up COVID early in the campaign and then with the goal scoring form of Taylor Maloney. He’s still only 20 years old and has a very bright future in the game. But he needs some game time and a few goals and it was good to see him on the mark with a smartly taken effort. Tony and Joe have a good relationship with Barking’s player-manager, Charlie McDonald, and so we’ve allowed him to go there for a few weeks. Whilst we operate on a small squad, we also need them all to be sharp and ready for action. With Joe Taylor in such good form, Freddie has suffered a little and we hope the temporary move will see him return with some goals under his belt.

Two weeks ago we had over 1,400 here for the Bognor Regis Town game – the biggest attendance we’ve had for a competitive Men’s game at the Pan for well over a decade. The atmosphere was brilliant and we hope to see another great crowd today. We are also encouraging all of our fans to bring a friend, someone who may not have experienced a game here at the Pan. As we prepare to enter the final third of the season, having 1,000+ crowds here at the Pan will make a huge difference to the team.

We heard this week that Derrick Parris, one of the legends that has made the club what it is today, is currently unwell and in hospital. We all send our best wishes to him and the whole of the Parris family and hope for a speedy recovery.

Finally, our Women’s team finally get to play a league game tomorrow when they head to Crayford to take on Charlton Athletic in the FA Women’s Championship. Due to the a) ludicrous fixture schedule, b) Christmas and c) COVID cases with our opponents, Sunday is the first league game since the 3-1 win at Sheffield United some eight weeks ago!

Get behind the team and Come On You Rooks!

Stuart

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TONY’S THOUGHTS

Good afternoon everyone. Last Saturday it was a brilliant result at Enfield Town and a good performance following on from the defeat at Kingstonian where I had no real complaints about how the boys played. We worked with the squad in the run up to the Enfield game, driving the message through that they needed to keep playing that way, keep pushing and the results would come. First half was OK – at half time we reinforced our structure and patterns of play and we came out for the second half in the right shape. Three great goals, one touch football for the third and the fourth goal was an example of where we say “controlling the game”.

Take nothing away from Enfield Town – they are a class outfit and they will be up there at the end of the season and we wish them all the best for the rest of the season. I was delighted for Michael Klass who had a slow start to the season and we’ve worked with him and he’s really grown into the role we want him to play. For me, there aren’t many midfielders better than him in our league at the moment. There’s definitely more to come from him which will come as he matures as a person and a player.

Today we face Merstham who are a dangerous outfit with a very quick front three. If anyone thinks this will be an easy game then I want to assure you it won’t be. We are going to need to address the Achilles Heel against some of the teams in mid-table. Our record against the teams around us is very good, but when we have come up against some sides below us, we have struggled. Today, and our next two games here against Brightlingsea Regent and Cray Wanderers are potential dangers for us.

But I think we have gone up a level, probably from that win at Bowers & Pitsea before Christmas. We have to be focused today and the boys know that. We’ve worked on a plan this week and want the three points. Our target at the start of the season was 2 points per game and we are just behind that.

What I will say is that we need big numbers supporting us, especially here at the Pan. Against Bognor Regis when we had over 1,400 in here it gave us that extra couple of percent. So, round some friends up and let’s pack the Pan out and make some noise. This is where you can all help us out.

Keep it loud and Come On You Rooks!

Tony

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LEWES 2 BOGNOR REGIS TOWN 0 – SAT 1ST JANUARY 2022

Goals at the end of each half from Razz Coleman De-Graft and Joe Taylor saw Lewes start 2022 with a 2-0 win over ten-man Bognor Regis Town at the Pan.

Tony Russell made one change to the side that won 3-1 at Horsham in their previous game, with Bradley Pritchard replacing Tom Phipp in the starting line-up.

Lewes started the game well and could have scored twice in the opening stages, with Taylor Maloney shooting over when well placed, before Razz Coleman De-Graft missed his kick with the goal gaping just minutes later.

The Rooks were dominating the game, moving the ball quickly and always looking capable of getting in behind the Bognor defence.

Maloney soon went close again, latching onto a Bradley Pritchard through-ball, rounding Amadou Tangara in the Bognor goal and dragging his effort just wide from a tight angle.

The visitors were finding it difficult to get out of their half and nearly played themselves into trouble, as Pritchard won the ball back high up the pitch and played Joe Taylor through, with only a superb last-ditch challenge stopping him from testing Tangara.

Tangara was called into action during Lewes’ next attack, reacting superbly to push an Iffy Allen volley round the post.

Bognor gradually found a foothold as the game approached half-time and nearly took the lead through Nathan Odokonyero, who cut inside from the left before seeing a curling effort spectacularly saved by the previously untroubled Lewis Carey.

The Rooks finally took the lead their first-half performance had deserved right on the stroke of half-time, as Taylor controlled a Carey goal-kick before teeing up De-Graft to unleash an unstoppable 30-yard strike that flew past Tangara and in off the inside of the post.

Lewes started the second half with the same intent they had shown throughout the first and nearly doubled their lead within minutes of the restart, with Will Salmon squeezing an effort under Tangara from a Maloney corner, only for the ball to hit the inside of the post before being scrambled off the line.

De-Graft and Maloney both went close minutes later, Tangara saving well to deny the former before the latter blazed the rebound wide.

The Rooks were handed a further advantage just after the hour, as Bognor midfielder Charlie Bell was shown a second yellow card for tripping Maloney.

Despite being down to ten men, the visitors were starting to pass the ball incisively and nearly levelled the scores when former Lewes midfielder Kayne Diedrick-Roberts, introduced as a substitute only minutes earlier, saw a powerful 25-yard strike hit the bar.

Bognor were seeing more of the ball than they had done at any point in the game, but were unable to turn possession into clear-cut opportunities heading into the closing stages.

Lewes nearly secured the points in the final minute of normal time, but saw Tangara make another smart save to keep out an effort from Taylor after good work by De-Graft.

Taylor was able to retrieve the loose ball after this save though, and was tripped in the area by Joe Dandy as he attempted to turn and run at goal.

Taylor took the penalty himself, and sent Tangara the wrong way from the spot to make it 2-0 and ensure Lewes started 2022 in the same way they had finished 2021 – with an impressive derby win.

Lewes: Carey, Spencer (Colombie 79), Carlse, Salmon, Nelson, Klass (Olukoga 88), Pritchard, Maloney (Parker 66), Allen, De-Graft, Taylor.
Unused Subs: Weaire, Dalling.
Booked: Nelson.

Bognor Regis Town: Tangara, Dandy, Crane (Leigh 46), Robb, Cook, Robson, Brook, Bell, Odokonyero, Gifford, Mongoy (Diedrick-Roberts 66).
Unused Subs: Howick, Wyatt.
Booked: Bell.
Sent off: Bell.

Attendance: 1,416

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ON THIS DAY IN ROOKS HISTORY – SAT 15TH JAN 2011

Lewes travelled to Braintree Town in the National League South on the 15th January 2011 and went down to a Sean Marks goal in the 47th minute. But what can you remember about the game, and more importantly, the Lewes squad from that season?

Results

#1. Who was the Lewes manager on the day of the Braintree Town game?

#2. Who was in goal for the Rooks?

#3. Who was the oldest player in the Lewes starting XI?

#4. Who was the youngest Lewes player in the starting XI?

#5. At the end of the 2010/11 season, what was the points difference between the two sides?

finish
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KINGSTONIAN 4 LEWES 2 – MONDAY 3RD JANUARY 2022

Lewes ended the festive period with a 4-2 defeat against a clinical Kingstonian side.

Tony Russell made one change to the side that had beaten Bognor 48 hours earlier, with Tom Phipp replacing Bradley Pritchard in the starting line-up. There was also a place on the bench for Ollie Tanner on his return from suspension.

The hosts made a bright start and saw Rhys Murrell-Williamson go close twice early on, seeing a shot deflcted over the bar before shooting wide with only Lewis Carey to beat.

Lewes looked dangerous going forward themselves though, with Rob Tolfrey forced into a smart save at his near post to deny Razz Coleman De-Graft, then making another good stop to keep out Joe Taylor from the resulting corner.

Kingstonian took the lead on 20 minutes, as a Nyren Clunis cross from the right was cleared against Daniel Ajakaiye by Mitchell Nelson and the ball ended up in the bottom corner.

They doubled their lead two minutes later, a corner from the right being headed past Carey from close range by the unmarked Jerry Puemo.

Lewes responded well to conceding two goals in such quick succession, with De-Graft forcing another save from Tolfrey.

They were able to pull a goal back on 26 minutes, as Taylor Maloney cut the ball back from the right for Iffy Allen to finish past Tolfrey.

The Rooks should have been handed an opportunity to level the scores minutes later, as Taylor was tripped in the area by Elliott Buchanan as he looked to turn and shoot. Despite it appearing to be a stonewall penalty, the referee waved play on.

Kingstonian nearly made the most of this let-off as Buchanan was played through on goal, only to be denied by Carey.

Lewes started the second half on the front foot, with Taylor latching onto a long clearance forward and making space for himself before shooting over the bar.

A presentable chance then fell to Allen, who shot wide from the edge of the area after good work down the left by Tom Carlse.

Kingstonian managed the game well at this point, keeping a good shape defensively and always looking capable of stretching the Lewes defence when they got forward.

The hosts regained their two-goal advantage on 71 minutes, as good play down the right ended with the ball being worked to Clunis to send a powerful shot across Carey and into the bottom corner.

Kingstonian scored a fourth goal and all but secured the win three minutes later through Murrell-Williamson, who cut in from the right before sending a curling effort into the far corner.

Lewes continued to look for a route back into the game and pulled a goal back with seven minutes remaining, as substitute Ollie Tanner beat two defenders before finding the bottom corner from the edge of the area.

There was still time for Taylor to head onto the roof of the net in the closing stages, but Lewes were unable to claw another goal back and were left to reflect on a display of clinical finishing from the hosts that was ultimately enough to secure them the three points.

Kingstonian: Tolfrey, Clunis, Bilongo, Puemo, Cook, Beaney, Ajakaiye, Sow, Buchanan (O. Allen 80), Banton (Ekpiteta 80), Murrell-Williamson.
Unused Subs: Lamont, Gjoshe, Whitnell.
Booked: Beaney, Sow.

Lewes: Carey, Spencer, Carlse, Salmon, Nelson, Klass, Phipp (Pritchard 31), Maloney (Parker 72), I. Allen (Tanner 64), De-Graft, Taylor.
Unused Subs: Colombie, Weaire.
Booked: Nelson, Klass.

Attendance: 421(approximately 75 travelling Rooks)

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INTRODUCING OUR VISITORS FROM MERSTHAM

THE HISTORY

Founded in 1892, Merstham were founder members of the Redhill & District League in 1897, finishing champions in 1927, 1935, 1936, 1950 and 1951. They gained Intermediate status and moved up to the Surrey Intermediate League which they won at the first attempt in 1953.
The Moatsiders achieved senior status in 1964 and joined the Surrey Senior League, winning the league title in 1972. They switched to the London Spartan League in 1978 and to the Combined Counties League in 1984.

They finished runners-up in the Combined Counties League in 1988 and 1990, and again in both 2006 and 2007, winning the Premier Challenge Cup in 2005 and 2007 and the Southern Combination Challenge Cup in 2007. In 2008 they completed a treble, winning the Combined Counties League, and thus promotion to the to the Isthmian League, and both the Premier Challenge Cup and Surrey Senior Cup.

In 2015 Merstham won promotion to the Isthmian League Premier Division via the play-offs after a fourth-place finish. They won the Surrey Senior Cup in 2016. A record crowd of 1,920 in November 2016 saw Merstham go down 0-5 to Oxford United in the first round proper of the FA Cup.

2017/18 saw Merstham celebrate their 125th anniversary, finish 12th in the league and for the second time in four years win the Surrey Senior Cup, beating Leatherhead 3-1 at Sutton United’s Gander Green Lane.

At the time of writing the Moatsiders have not played a match since 1st January in a 3-1 home win against Wingate & Finchley. After 23 games they sit 16th in the league.

THE SQUAD

Frank Wilson – Manager

Frank joined Merstham at the start on the 2019/20 season and had his work cut out after the entire first team squad left to join Kingstonian in the summer. He is best known at this level for his spell at Tooting & Mitcham, where he won the old Division One South title in the 2016-17 campaign, and also led the club to the London Senior Cup.

Barry Hayles – Assistant Manager/Forward

Barry is a striker and assistant manager to Frank Wilson. He began his illustrious career in the Spartan League, before playing for Stevenage Borough, Bristol Rovers, Fulham, Sheffield United, Millwall, Plymouth Argyle, Leicester City, Cheltenham Town, St Albans City, Arlesey Town, and Truro City. He had player/coach roles at Chesham United, and Windsor, before joining Merstham. Barry made over 200 appearances during his spell at Fulham, scoring 44 league goals and helping them to two promotions. He was capped ten times by Jamaica at international level.

Toby Bull – Goalkeeper

Toby is on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion’s academy side. He has been with the Seagulls since the age of 10 and has represented Ireland U19s.

Ollie Ellaway – Goalkeeper

Ollie stepped up from the U23s to the first team squad following some good performances in pre-season. He is a commanding presence at the back and a good shot-stopper.

James Richmond – Defender

James is seen as a strong, commanding defender, with vast experience at Step 3, and was one of Frank Wilson’s first signings at Merstham. He originally signed James towards the end of 2018/19 Season, during his brief spell at Kingstonian, bringing the experienced player over from Burgess Hill Town where he had been a key figure for the previous three seasons.

Jude Mason – Defender

Jude is an attack-minded left-back who joined the Moatsiders on loan from Sutton United and impressed during the shortened season. The loan became a permanent signing at the start of this season.

Bertie Lloyd – Defender

Bertie joined Merstham in pre-season after completing his degree in Biology at Bristol University. A tall central defender and commanding in the air, Bertie originally joined Merstham on loan from Tonbridge Angels during the curtailed 2020/21 campaign. He returned to the Moatsiders at the start of this campaign to sign permanently.

Reuben Collins – Defender

Reuben returned to the Moatside after spells with Basingstoke Town and Billericay Town. He was named AFC Wimbledon’s Academy Player of the Year in 2019, going on to sign for Truro City at the start of the 2020/21 campaign following his release from Wimbledon. Frank Wilson welcomed the powerful defender back to Merstham this season.

Daniel Stone – Defender

Daniel is a left-back who began his career at Brighton’s academy. He joined Merstham two seasons ago, previously having played at South Park and Sutton Common Rovers.

Jack Haire – Defender/Midfielder

Jack is a versatile player and has played in the centre of defence, full back, and in midfield. Previously at Balham FC.  He is considered powerful and strong in the air and in the tackle, with two good feet.

Troy Williams – Midfielder

Troy is regarded a promising youngster who began his career at the Moatside before moving to Tooting & Mitcham and the on to Grays Athletic. Returned to Merstham towards the end of pre-season.

Chace Jacquart – Midfielder

Chace spent four years at AFC Wimbledon’s Academy, graduating into the first team squad as a central midfielder, before spending a season at Portimonense in Portugal’s top-flight. Chace first joined the Moatsiders for the 2019/20 campaign and returned in pre-season this year. He is regarded as a  gifted ballplayer with two good feet.

Craig McGee – Midfielder

Craig is a central midfielder on loan from Leatherhead where he has notched up 21 appearances so far this season. He joined the Tanners after coming through Sutton United’s Academy.

Dylan Adjei-Hersey – Midfielder

A fast and tricky winger, Dylan was part of the AFC Wimbledon team that won the Youth Alliance Cup last season. After eight years at the Dons, he signed his first pro contract this summer and Frank Wilson was delighted to secure him on loan.

Ayman Gharbaoui – Midfielder

Ayman is described as a technically gifted midfielder, who joined Merstham from Cheshunt during pre-season. He also previously played at Eastbourne Borough.

Charlie Greenwood – Midfielder

Charlie is thought of  as an all-action midfielder with a great engine, good in the air and technically gifted. He impressed during an open trial in June and since then has been a fixture in the Merstham midfield.  

John Ufuah – Forward

John was signed from Carshalton Athletic this season and has notched 9 goals so far in all competitions. John was previously at Leatherhead, Whitstable Town, and Margate.

Korrey Henry – Forward

Korrey was a West Ham United youth before signing for Yeovil Town. He’s also played at Poole Town, Bromley, Welling United, Dulwich Hamlet, as well as Braintree for whom he had two spells. He signed for the Moatsiders from Leatherhead this term. Despite not starting until October he has notched 13 league goals.

Sam Blake – Forward

Sam joined Merstham U23s and played in their successful team for the last couple of seasons. He was given the opportunity in the first team in pre-season when he impressed.

Serge Makofo – Forward.

Serge is a vastly experienced player. Amongst some of his previous clubs are Milton Keynes Dons, Kettering Town, Maidenhead United, Burton Albion, Grimsby Town, Farnborough, and Havant & Waterlooville.

THE RECORD

14/09/21 – Merstham 1 Lewes 3
20/10/20 – Lewes 1 Merstham 0
14/12/19 – Merstham 2 Lewes 4
06/04/19 – Lewes 2 Merstham 0
19/12/18 – Merstham 3 Lewes 2
28/03/16 – Merstham 2 Lewes 2

THE FORM

THE LAST VISIT HERE – 20TH OCTOBER 2020

Lewes recorded a valuable three points thanks to a second half Aaron Cosgrave penalty which led to the sending off of Merstham’s centre-forward Calvin Ekpiteta in what turned out to be our last home game of the 2020/21 season.

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ENFIELD TOWN 1 LEWES 4 – SAT 8TH JANUARY 2022

Lewes completed the double over a strong Enfield Town side with a comprehensive 4-1 victory on a rain-soaked afternoon in North London, reports Stuart Fuller.

Rooks boss Tony Russell made two changes from the side that started at Kingstonian on Monday, with Ollie Tanner and Bradley Pritchard both in the XI, replacing Taylor Maloney and Iffy Allen who were on the bench.

The home side were fast out of the traps and Lewis Carey was tested early, saving well from a shot from Lyle Della-Verde but the Rooks soon found their feet with Michael Klass and Razz Coleman De-Graft both stinging the Enfield keeper’s hands, whilst in the 19th minute, a clever flick by Joe Taylor from an Ollie Tanner cross was well saved by Nathan McDonald at his near post.

The opening goal came in the 31st minute after Joe Taylor was wrestled to the ground 25 yards out, having won back possession in a dangerous area. Ollie Tanner took the free-kick which hit the wall and rebounded to Michael Klass whose first attempt was well saved but when it came back to him 6 yards out he bundled the ball home.

The home side almost had an immediate equaliser when top-scorer Mohammed Faal’s effort took a kind deflection and flew just wide of Carey’s far post but they were celebration in the 40th minute when the Rooks failed to clear the ball and a deep cross from the Enfield right was met at the far post by Adam Cunnington who headed it into the corner of the net.

Tom Phipp almost gave the Rooks the lead before half-time with a well struck shot that took a deflection whilst at the other end Della-Verde was adjudged to have handled the ball before he struck the ball into the Lewes net.

The start of the second half saw the rain pour down but the wet conditions suited the Lewes style of play and they held onto the ball well, stretching the home side. In the 60th minute Razz scored an almost carbon-copy of his goal against Bognor Regis Town last Saturday, taking a ball from Jueven Spencer, cutting inside and letting rip with a shot past the despairing Enfield keeper.

The pick of the Lewes goals came in the 66th minute and started from the back. Spencer played the ball down the line to Joe Taylor who held up the play, allowing Bradley Pritchard to overlap. He then played it back to Taylor, drawing two players before setting up Razz. Rather than taking the chance himself he set up Michael Klass who fired the ball across the keeper for his second of the game.

Five minutes later Ollie Tanner went clean through and forced a great save where perhaps he could have squared it for Joe Taylor who was in a better position. However, in the 73rd minute Tanner slipped the ball through to the Rooks top scorer and as the keeper came out, Joe dinked the ball over him and into the net for the Lewes fourth.

It could have been more – the Enfield back line and keeper all deserve credit for laying their collective bodies on the line and it was with some surprise that they gave their Man of the Match to centre-forward Cunnington.


Make no mistake, this was as an impressive win as the score line suggested against a strong Enfield side who have one of the best home records in the league.

After three of the last four games on the road, the Rooks can look forward to three consecutive games back at The Dripping Pan, starting next Saturday when Merstham are the visitors.

Enfield Town: McDonald, Kiangebeni, Kirwan, Thomas (Gyebi 70 mins), Joseph, Bray, Taaffe (Coker 62 mins), Youngs, Cunnington, Faal, Della-Verde (Dome-Bemwin 73 mins)

Subs not used: Smith, Cook

Booked: Kiangebenim Bray, Thomas

Lewes: Carey, Spencer (Allen 90 mins), Carlse, Salmon, Nelson, Klass, Phipp, Pritchard, Tanner, Coleman De-Graft, Taylor

Subs not used: Colombie, Wearie, Maloney, Dalling

Booked: None

Attendance: 501 (approximately 40 Rooks)

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THE ISTHMIAN LEAGUE PARTNERS

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ON THE ROAD WITH THE STODGEBUSTERS TO HORSHAM

Boxing Day (sort of) and another local derby with our old rivals Horsham. We hadn’t won at Horsham since 2011 according to one of our statto’s so it was high time we put that right. The Stodgebusters all remember the halcyon days of the early 2000’s when we usually put them to the sword. What we wouldn’t give to recover the bragging rights.

This might be hard to believe but the Stodgebusters never had a plan for pre-match lunch for this game. We figured that even we would have had enough eating over the previous two days to tide us over. Or it might just have been that there weren’t many places open. Anyway, with public transport being a non-starter for this it would be a driving job and Steve kindly threw his hat into the ring as driver. He picked up Roly in Polegate and then PJ and Gary at Lewes Prison bus stop. PJ was last to arrive as he had the inevitable turkey and stuffing with Branston sandwiches for lunch to finish.

Our destination was the park and ride at Horsham’s new-ish out of town ground in Southwater. PJ handed the Lemon Sherberts around and we discussed what would happen in this game. We don’t know why we do it as we are rarely correct. Roly and Steve are ever the optimists and went for a Lewes win. PJ and Gary were more sceptical and thought we would probably be on the wrong end of the result as Horsham were on a bit of a roll which has seen them rocket up the table after a very inauspicious start to the season, and our defence hasn’t covered itself in glory very often. What was predictable, though, was the weather. Wet. Decent wet weather coats were the order of the day as there isn’t a lot of cover at the ground and with the probability of a big bank holiday crowd the cover that exists could be very much in demand. Not ideal in these social distancing times.

It didn’t take long to get there and we parked up for the stroll to the Camping World Stadium. We know nothing about camping but we find it surprising that there is enough finance and demand in selling tents to build a brand new stadium and be the main sponsor of a football club. But obviously there is. And a fine stadium it is too if you like that sort of thing. Us old curmudgeons fondly remember many encounters at Queen Street in Horsham and preferred that sort of thing. It was easy for the train too. There’s something bland, formulaic and Lego-ish about these new grounds however nice they seem. It also has a plastic pitch but we seem to coming around to accepting these a bit more. However, don’t ever get Gary started about goals on wheels. Gary hadn’t eaten for a couple of hours so tried out the chips. They went into the “alright” category.

There was an excellent turnout of Rooks supporters for this one. All the usuals plus a few unusuals. It was nice to see the legend that is Golden Goal Ethel had made the trip and, as usual, was flanked by her minders to keep her in order.

We had to suddenly change ends before kick off and while we were trying to get to the other end the game kicked off. Within seconds there was a loud OOOOOH! from the home fans for a near miss. We didn’t see it as we were still walking. Oh dear. That didn’t bode well. But Lewes settled into the game and were very soon ahead when Joe Taylor was on hand to tap home a cross from Tom Carlse who had made a lovely run. Great stuff. We were jumping up and down with delight. The lead didn’t last that long though. A move down the Lewes left saw the referee play an advantage after a clear foul. The cross came in and the ball was tapped home for an equaliser with the defence and keeper oddly static. The Lewes players were somewhat upset by the award of a goal and made their feelings clear to the referee and lino. The bench got very excited too. We didn’t know why. What was the problem? Was it that a Lewes player was down with a possible head injury? Play to the whistle we were always told. But unbeknown to us the crosser had overrun the ball and it was out of play when he crossed it. Some wag suggested it was so far over the line that it was in the bar when he crossed it. Anyway, everyone at that end except the referee and lino saw it was out. The Lewes defence and keeper saw it was out and stopped. The striker saw it was out and just nonchalantly clipped it into the net. He was as amazed as everyone else when the referee pointed to the centre circle.

This didn’t faze Lewes though and they regained the lead mid way through the half when Taylor again found the ball at his feet in the area and he instinctively sent a beautifully placed shot across the keeper into the far corner much to the delight of the Rooks faithful behind the goal. What a finisher he is.

2-1 up at half time. Could we weather the storm that would surely come? Sure enough Horsham came out like the clappers and put us under pressure. We were pinned back for periods but still the home team never really made any clear cut chances. Then something very predictable happened. The ball was in the box and a Horsham player goes down with a huge roar from their supporters. Penalty. What the hell was that for? We wouldn’t know until we saw the highlights later. Fortunately for Lewes the penalty taker really gave it some welly and put it two feet wide of the post. It was deep joy for us accompanied by loud celebrations while the heads of the Horsham fans around us visibly dropped with a wave of expletives.

That was a bit of a turning point. 2-2 at that point would have been a very different game. This let-off seemed to give the Rooks a boost and they came close to scoring with Salmon just failing to force a Maloney free-kick over the line at the far post but succeeding in moving the goalposts in the collision. De-Graft then went close for Lewes, denied by a great save from the keeper. Lewes scored a third goal to seal the win right at the death, as Taylor held the ball up superbly at the goal line before crossing for Dalling to tap in. Cue pandemonium behind the goal, all of us able to breathe a bit easier and a wave of home fans heading towards the exit as if the fire alarm had sounded.

We nearly got a spectacular fourth as Klass cheekily tried to lob the keeper from just inside the Horsham half with virtually the last kick of the game. It beat the keeper but it just drifted wide. That really would have been the cherry on the cake.

A well deserved win and a lovely three points to lift us back into the play off places with stand out performances by Joe Taylor and Tom Carlse. Great stuff. We went home very happy bunnies with PJ probably looking forward to some more turkey, stuffing and Branston sandwiches for tea.

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THE 2021/22 ISTHMIAN PREMIER LEAGUE CAMPAIGN

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SPECIAL K NOT ON THE MENU FOR THE STODGEBUSTERS AT KINGSTONIAN

The games come thick and fast at this time of year. Less than 48 hours after the final whistle at the Pan on Saturday we were on the road to Kingstonian. Well, King Georges Arena in Tolworth actually, the home of Corinthian Casuals where Kingstonian currently lodge. We were on the road because we had decided at a Stodgebuster Board Meeting that we didn’t fancy taking a risk on the train with cancellations left, right and centre due to Covid amongst the train staff. With only one train an hour to Tolworth if the one we wanted was cancelled we would be catastrophically lunch-less. If the next one was cancelled too we would miss the game. Obviously none of this was an acceptable risk so Turnstile Al, him of the yellow jacket, volunteered to drive even after previous memorable encounters with the Roundabout from Hell on the A3.

The master plan was to pick up Roly from Polegate, Gary the Badge near Lewes Tesco and PJ from the Prison bus stop for the journey North up the A23, M25 to the Broadway Cafe in Tolworth. PJ had been to B&M and had a pocket full of Opal Fruits for the trip while we discussed Saturdays sweet victory over Bognor and how we would do at King George’s Arena. We never seem to do well at Kingstonian but this time we were quite confident of getting a result, although we would have taken a draw. If we could improve on our finishing from Saturday we would surely be ok. Ha!

The plan was to head to our usual watering hole in Tolworth Broadway but we spotted the decent looking Barwell Cafe in Chessington as we passed. We have seen it in the past and remarked that maybe we should try it out. So this time Alan did a U turn that Boris Johnson would have been proud of and parked up opposite the Cafe albeit halfway on a double yellow.
In we went and the Cafe owner advised Alan to move onto the forecourt instead of the road. Good job too as the Rozzers appeared on a mission and stopped right next to where he had just moved from. The Cafe was empty which is not usually a good sign at lunchtime but the menu looked perfect to satisfy a Stodgebuster. Roly and Gary both plumped for omelettes with chips, Alan a Full English while PJ went for ham, egg, chips and beans. The helpings size was most impressive with PJ’s tucker almost overflowing the plate with a mountain of chips. He would never eat that lot without some outside help. It was very impressive for only £5.50 though. It was all very good and we were well satisfied with our choice. We are usually quite lucky with our choices, or maybe it is instinct, and have very rarely encountered a poor meal although the infamous Rubber Egg incident a few seasons ago at Enfield sticks in the memory. Joe Taylor might sniff out goals but we can sniff out a good cafe.

Back in the car and time to take on the Roundabout from Hell. Or maybe not! PJ found a shortcut that meant the cursed thing could be made quite toothless by approaching from the South, getting in the left lane and simply taking the first exit. Simples. Although one has to be alert to take the slip road immediately afterwards or it’s a couple of miles to the next roundabout to come back again. Everyone who has driven to the ground seems to have a story about getting in the wrong lane and going around multiple times, taking the wrong exit or missing the slip road. Sometimes all three. Local drivers generally don’t seem very forgiving either if you get it wrong. PJ remembers trying to find the place many years ago in the dark, pre-SatNav with a London A to Z on his lap for a game where Joe Vines played centre back for Lewes and gave away a penalty in an eventual Lewes victory over the Casuals with Jimmy Hill looking on.

It’s a shame Kingstonian had to move from Kingsmeadow which was a really decent football ground. It had the superb Fatboy’s cafe just around the corner which figures highly in the Stodgebuster Hall of Fame. King Georges Arena is not the best ground in the league by a long chalk although it does have good cover at both ends if there is a monsoon. The pitch is quite susceptible to rain and consequent postponements but we would be ok today.

Popular Ex-Rook Gus Sow was in the Kingstonian line up. He’s very good at breaking up the play, not always legally and no stranger to a card or two of either colour. He’s basically a pain in the backside to whoever he plays against. We used to like Gus but now we don’t like him quite so much!

Kingstonian started off well and had a few good moments but Lewes looked dangerous too. The home team went ahead on 20 minutes when some ping-pong in the Lewes box saw the ball somehow end up in our net. It was 2-0 a couple of minutes later when we gave them an unchallenged free header from a corner. We really must stop doing that. Lewes heads didn’t drop though and we pulled one back very quickly when Maloney chased a ball to the goal line that the defence had given up on and pulled it back for Iffy Allen to shoot home. Minutes later came the incident that probably changed the whole game when Taylor was about to turn and shoot in the area but was chopped down by two lunging defenders. Well, that’s a penalty we all thought. Not so by the referee who simply waved play on to our (and Joe’s) total astonishment. We won’t see many clearer penalties than that this season. Two-all at that point would have made it a very different game.

Second half Lewes came out on the front foot but the equaliser wouldn’t come. Even Joe put a very presentable chance over the bar from 12 yards. Unfortunately a couple of attacks down our left with minutes of each other resulted in two goals for the home side. Both were well hit strikes, and one was from another ex-Rook Rees Murrell Williamson. Ollie Tanner, on as a sub for Iffy, pulled one back late on with a fine effort but it was too little too late.

Kingstonian deserved the win. They were very pacy and pressed the ball very well while being very organised at the back. There was no surprise that Gus got his seemingly obligatory booking for doing what Gus does. In fairness we had enough chances to win three or four games but we couldn’t put the ball in the net. Every effort was high, wide or both, blocked by an outstretched leg or soft enough to qualify as a back pass. The home team were just more clinical on the day.

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AND FINALLY….

TO BE IN ENGLAND IN THE WINTER TIME WITH THE ONE I LOVE

It is hard to keep up with the current laws and regulations relating to the COVID situation in the United Kingdom, with England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all having different rules.

Take watching football for instance. We can all go and watch any games we want in England at the moment, subject to showing our COVID passports, on request, at any stadiums where the capacity is more than 10,000. North of the border the restrictions are tighter, with no grounds allowed to have more than 500 people in attendance (which includes guests, officials and staff) which has led to some challenges for clubs (see the Falkirk example below), although for most in Scottish Leagues One and Two the reduction in capacity hasn’t caused too many issues.

The rules in Scotland on limited capacities for outdoor events have impacted some football, but with bars and pubs still able to open it has led to situations such as the one at Falkirk FC. The club play at the impressive 8,000 capacity Falkirk Stadium in Scottish League One where they have average attendances over 3,000 which naturally leads to issues when the capacity has to be reduced by over 2,500. Fear not, as the club are able to stream their home games live into the two supporter club bars at the ground where significantly more fans can watch…so, it is deemed not safe to have more than 500 people in an open air stadium where there is approximately 2.5 seats per person on an average game, yet they can have hundreds in the enclosed bar areas, where social distancing is problematic.

But head west in Wales and it is a whole different world, with the Welsh Government decided that no sport can take place in front of fans for the foreseeable future. This is causing some concern with the Six Nations Rugby almost here and talks are already taking place to move games to England. But for Swansea City, Cardiff City, Newport County and Wrexham, they cannot play any home games in front of fans, yet their fans are free to travel across the “border” into England and follow their sides on the road.

But last week a strange meeting took place at The Diva Stadium in Chester between the local councils and police forces of the surrounding areas of the ground. You see, despite Chester FC’s registered offices at the Deva Stadium being in England, most of the pitch and the stands are actually in Wales (as the map below shows).

So, by hosting games in the National League North on the 28th December against AFC Flyde (where over 2,000 attended) and AFC Telford United (2,116) on the 2nd January, they appear to have fallen foul of the law.

Chester’s Chairman Andy Morris is quite clear on the situation: “The entrance to the stadium site is in England. The stadium is registered in England. It’s actually owned by Cheshire West and Cheshire Council, so it’s all very, very complicated at the moment.

“I’m not really sure as to why it’s become an issue. It hasn’t been for the last two years whilst we wrestled through Covid. We haven’t had access to any Welsh government support, Welsh funding, anything like that.”

It does seem to be an unnecessary argument, one that could be solved with some sense…we await the next stage of the row with bated breath.

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TODAY’S TEAMS

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LEGALS AND CREDITS

“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 Sue Anstiss MBE (co-opted), Ed Briggs, Scott Currie, Charlie Dobres, Karen Dobres, Stuart Fuller, Lucy Mills, John Peel, Ed Ramsden, Claire Rafferty (co-opted), Sally Taplin, Trevor Wells
Chief Executive Officer Maggie Murphy
Club Secretary John Peel
Fan Engagement Manager Shrey Nilvarna
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 Tom Parker
Goalkeeping coach Grant Hall
Match logistics Clive Burgess
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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NEXT UP HERE AT THE PAN

SATURDAY 22nd JANUARY 2021 – 3pm KICK OFF

TICKETS ON SALE NOW!

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TODAY’S QUIZ ANSWERS

  1. Tim O’Shea
  2. Chris Winterton
  3. Anthony Barness
  4. George Porter
  5. 53 points