TUESDAY 25th JANUARY 2022 7:45pm – THE ISTHMIAN PREMIER LEAGUE

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Welcome to The Dripping Pan for this evening’s Pitching In Isthmian Premier League game with Cray Wanderers. Here is your complimentary e-programme.

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NOTES FROM THE BIG CHAIR

Good evening and welcome back to the Dripping Pan for this evenings game against Cray Wanderers. I’d like to extend a warm welcome to the fans, players, management and officials from London’s oldest club and hope they have a safe and expedient journey home.

I’m sure there will be a lot of people looking at this as a grudge match, with the fact that Tony, Joe and a number of the other management team and squad came to Lewes from Cray Wanderers at the end of last season. But I don’t see it that way. Because of the ground share with Bromley, Cray often play on a Sunday or a Wednesday and I have been a regular visitor to Hayes Lane this season and always received a warm welcome from Sam Wright, their CEO. I have a good relationship with Gary Hillman, Cray’s Chairman and we’ve often enjoyed a beer away from a match day, and their new ground at Flamingo Park will be less than a mile from where I live. We’ve enjoyed some real humdingers of games in the last few years and that competitive rivalry will be good natured tonight I am sure. They had a fantastic 5-4 win on Saturday against Carshalton Athletic, which after a 0-0 draw with Leatherhead last Wednesday was a real surprise. Make no mistake, tonight will be a challenge for us across the pitch.

On Saturday we were all disappointed to have only gained a point against Brightlingsea Regent. We coasted into a 2-0 lead after just 13 minutes and should have doubled that before 30 minutes were played. Even at 2-1 as the game entered the final quarter I felt we would go on and score more, something that has been a trait of how we play this season. But we conceded a penalty and the visitors held on, working their socks off as teams at the bottom of the table often do.

Enfield’s impressive win at Kingstonian saw them go back into second place, closing the gap on Worthing who also drew. But we’ve taken 16 points in our last seven games – only Hornchurch have taken more than us (19 points) in that period. I’ve seen and heard some criticism about our style of play and being too negative with our passing across the back. No team in the whole of the Isthmian Leagues (82 clubs) has scored more than us, whilst at the whole of Step 3, only 1 side (Peterborough Sports) has scored more. There will be games where we drop below our own high standards, but they will be few and far between with this current management team and squad. Two years ago today we lost 3-0 at home to East Thurrock in front of 506 fans, rounding off a month where we had taken three points, scored three goals and dropped to 16th in the league. I’d say that’s progress, wouldn’t you?

Our style of play isn’t for everyone – we want to retain the ball rather than launch it forward. If we have control of the ball, the opposition don’t and that makes it harder for them to attack. We also try to tire teams out, through pressing which is why we score quite a few late goals. On Saturday, with Taylor Maloney and Brad Pritchard both missing due to injury we had to adapt our style slightly but our principles remained the same. That approach may not be for everyone and I have always answered questions on any aspect of the on the field performance to any fan who wants to chat about it, whether online or in person.

Our Women’s team returned to winning ways on Sunday with a 2-0 victory over Sunderland, an excellent result which still keeps them in the hunt for that best ever finish in the top four. The game also marked a long overdue debut for Ellie Mason having recovered from a bad knee injury.

Finally, I want to say a massive happy birthday to Brian “The Badge” Ashdown, who is 70ish, in his own words, today. He will lead the teams out today and pick the man of the match. Brian is a great supporter of the club not just through the badges he has sold through the years but also by awarding the away Man of the Match award, funded out of his own pocket, at the end of every home game. Happy Birthday Brian.

Let’s get behind the team tonight and Come On You Rooks!

Stuart

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TONY’S THOUGHTS

Good evening everyone. Saturday was a hard one to take given we were two goals up within fifteen minutes and then seeing Raz hit the post only for them to make it 2-1 almost straight after and really out of nothing. At 2-1 Iffy had a one v one with the keeper just before halftime but couldn’t take it. At half-time we felt we could go on and put the game to bed and early in the second period both JT & Raz have got in twice with only the keeper to beat and not scored. If you dangle carrots, teams will take it and credit to Brightlingsea. They grew into the game. After some indifferent defending, they got a penalty, and the game finishes 2-2. It’s 2 points dropped, but we have to clear our heads and move forward.

Tonight, my old team Cray are in town, and one of my former players is the new manager, so it will be great to see some old friends. Cray have had a good team on paper all season, so I’m not sure why they are down near the bottom if I’m honest. Grant is a top man who knows football so I know it will be a challenging game, I’m sure of it. Cray’s record versus the top teams is excellent; they seem to get right up for the boys at the top, so we will need to be at our best tonight to take the 3 points.

Come on you Rooks!

Tony

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BECOME AN OWNER…WEAR THE HAT…BE PART OF THE EVOLUTION

#FANSOFCHANGE

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THE MAGIC OF THE FA VASE

The FA Vase is the best domestic tournament we have. Perhaps a slightly controversial statement but there’s few other tournaments where there is such an open field of teams that are competing at similar levels both in terms of the resources and finances.

The incentive of a day out at Wembley is a great incentive to all sides and in recent years, with a decline in the domination of the teams from the Northern League, it has provided us with a hatful of new names of clubs hoping to use the competition as a stepping stone to greater things.

In the last six competitions, eleven of the twelve finalists have since been promoted to Step 4 or above, including last season’s finalists Warrington Rylands and Binfield. Despite the pressure of fixture pile ups, it seems that building a winning momentum on the way to Wembley aids rather than abets league form for clubs.

The Northern League sides have dominated the competition for many years, primarily due to the strength of the sides in that league who for many years rejected the chance to move up the pyramid. From 2009 to 2017, the competition was won by a Northern League side, with the only exception being in 2014 when West Auckland Town lost to Sholing.

However, it was the southern-based sides who had initial success after the tournament was launched back in 1974. The first winners were Hoddesdon Town, currently playing in the Essex Senior League before Billericay Town won three out of the next four tournaments. There’s even been two current league sides who have played in the final at Wembley Stadium – Forest Green Rovers in 1982 and Fleetwood Town in 1985. In the near 50 year history of the competition, no side from Sussex has ever reached the final – Whitehawk came close back in 2010, losing to Wroxham in a two-legged semi-final.

Since 2017, with promotion mandatory from the Northern League to Step 4, three of the four winners have come from areas outside of the North East. This season only one side remains from what was the strongest league at Step 5 and 6 in the last 16 clubs underlining how times have changed.

So who is the favourite to win this season’s trophy? We are now down to the last 32 sides sides although Sussex’ last remaining club, the highly-fancied and goal-scoring Littlehampton Town were well beaten by Essex Senior League Athletic Newham last week 5-0. Stansfeld, based near Bromley are one of only two Step 6 sides left in the competition but it is the Northern League’s last side, North Shields winners back in 2015 who are the bookies favourites although Harborough Town took them all the way to penalties in the last round.

Stansfeld on the attack in their Third Round win against Frimley Green

In financial terms, past performance is no guarantee to future success, but there’s certainly one or two clubs that are still in the competition that could make an appearance at Steps 3 and 4 in the coming years although the last round saw some of the bigger teams make surprise exists including Saffron Walden Town, AFC Liverpool, Consett and Littlehampton Town. Our nearest side still in the competition is Tunbridge Wells, finalists back in 2013 when they lost to Spennymoor Town (who now play in the National League North), who beat Bridgewater Town on penalties.

The next round sees clubs just three wins from Wembley and will take place on Saturday 12th February, with Stansfeld heading to Southall and Tunbridge Wells facing Hamworthy United.

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INTRODUCING OUR VISITORS….CRAY WANDERERS

THE HISTORY

Cray Wanderers stake a claim to being one of the oldest football clubs in the world, tracing their origins to 1860. They currently ground-share at Bromley FC while awaiting the development of a new ground at the Flamingo Sports Centre in St. Paul’s Cray.

Much of their history has been spent in the Kent and various London leagues, and includes winning the London League in 1957 and 1958; the Aetolian League in 1963; the Greater London League in 1966, the Metropolitan-London League in 1975; and the Spartan League in 1977 and 1978.

Cray won the Kent League in 1981, and again in both 2003 and 2004. The latter success, which included an appearance in the FA Vase quarter-final, secured promotion to the Isthmian League. In 2009 Cray won promotion to the Premier Division, achieving their highest ever league placing of ninth in both 2011 and 2012, before being relegated to Division One North in 2014.

In 2016 Cray were beaten in the play-offs and then transferred to Division One South. In 2018 they finished third (the year we finished second behind Carshalton to gain automatic promotion), but once again suffered defeat in the play-offs.

In 2019 Cray won the re-organised South-East Division to gain promotion to the Premier Division after a five year absence under the management of Tony Russell. At the time of writing Cray currently in 19th in the league, on 23 points after 25 games, after a win against Carshalton Athletic on Saturday, coming out on top 5-4.

THE SQUAD

Grant Basey – Interim Manager

Cray Wanderers appointed Grant as their interim manager at the end of December. He had a memorable spell as a Wands player between 2015-17, where he played 61 games, scored 13 goals, and was supporter’s Player of the Year in 2015-16 as Cray reached the Isthmian North playoffs. Since then Grant has been involved with Charlton Athletic as First Team Development Coach. Grant will be assisted by Gary Alexander, who was a player at Leyton Orient, Millwall, and Brentford, and later managed at Greenwich Borough and Ashford United.

Bailey Vose – Goalkeeper

Bailey is considered a fine goalkeeper who joined the Wands in December from Billericay Town in the National South League. He came through the Academy system at Brighton & Hove Albion, a member of their U23s squad from 2016. In 2018 he signed for Colchester United, moving to Margate at the start of the 2020-21 season. He has also had loan spells at Concord Rangers, Eastbourne Borough and Welling United.

Kasim Aidoo – Defender

Kasim came though the Charlton Athletic youth system and made one first team appearance for the Addicks last season in an EFL Trophy game. Kasim was released by Charlton in the summer and signed for Cray in September 2021.

Freddy Barton – Defender

Freddy came through the Charlton Athletic Academy but was released in the summer. Freddy joined Bowers & Pitsea, but with Cray having injury problems at full back he moved to the Wands to gain experience and is considered a terrific prospect.

Richie Danquah – Defender

Richie is a centre-half who has most recently played for Welling United. He progressed through the Millwall youth system and was an U18s player before being released. He has played in Norwegian, and Swedish football, and also played for Kettering.

Tom Hanfrey – Defender

Tom signed for Cray from Tonbridge Angels and made his Wands debut at the end of September. Tom came through the youth system at AFC Bournemouth and played for the Cherries U18s and U21s sides. He can play at left-back or centre-half.

Ethan Kaiser – Defender

Ethan signed for Cray in December. He was previously with Tooting & Mitcham United, and Tonbridge Angels.

Marvin McCoy – Defender

Marvin made his debut at Carshalton Athletic on 2nd October and marked the occasion with a headed goal. He is an Antigua and Barbuda International full-back with 8 caps who was most recently at Romford FC. Having come through the youth systems at Leyton, Arsenal and Watford, Walthamstow-born Marvin also played for Wealdstone.

Luca Albon – Midfielder
Luca was the first signing under Grant Basey when he arrived in January from Bowers & Pitsea. Luca came through the Charlton Athletic Academy and was part of their U18s side from the 2019-20 season and is well known to Grant Basey from his former role at Charlton Athletic.

Jai Reason – Midfielder

Jai signed for Cray from Billericay Town in October. He came through the ranks at Ipswich Town and also had spells at Cambridge United, Crawley Town, and Maidstone United amongst others.

Kyel Reid – Midfielder

Kyel joined Cray from Walton Casuals and celebrated his debut with a goal against Horsham on 8th December. Kyel came through the West Ham United Academy in 2004 and made 9 first team appearances making his debut in May 2006; he went on loan to Barnsley, Crystal Palace, Blackpool and Wolves. He signed for Sheffield United in July 2009, then on to Charlton Athletic, initially on loan and signing for the 2010-11 season helping the Addicks to reach the League One playoffs. He has been capped by England at U17, U18 & U19s level.

Cameron Brodie – Midfielder
Cameron is a young prospect who has signed for Cray on a season long loan from Dartford FC. He operates in midfield and is a product of the successful Dartford Academy.

Jacob Munting – Midfielder

Jacob spent his early years in the Chelsea Youth set-up. He went on to the Millwall Academy and was a member of the Lions U18s side before being released in 2020. He joined Cray last week as an attacking midfielder from Walton & Hersham.

Anthony Cook – Midfielder

Anthony is described by the Wands as a hugely gifted midfielder, and is the club’s Vice-Captain for the 2021-22 season. After making his league debut for Dagenham & Redbridge in December 2007 he had a spell at Cardiff City as a youth team player. Amongst his former clubs are Concord Rangers, Carshalton, Braintree Town, Chelmsford City, Ebbsfleet United, Bromley, and Welling United.

Stefan Wright – Midfielder

Stefan arrived from Sevenoaks this season to add energy and a combative touch in midfield. He came through the Bromley Academy and has also played for Staines Town, Sittingbourne, and Greenwich Borough.

Daniel Uchechi – Midfielder/Forward

Daniel re-signed for Cray from Burgess Hill Town, following a short stay with the Wands in 2018-19. Daniel started out as a youth player at Charlton Athletic and signed for West Ham United in 2009, spending loan spells at Leicester City and Sheffield Wednesday. He was also on the books at Aberdeen and spent some time playing in Sweden and Germany. He has also represented Nigeria at U20 & U23 level; amongst other previous clubs are Hampton & Richmond, Burgess Hill Town, Hornchurch, and East Grinstead Town.

Jamie Yila – Forward

Jamie impressed Cray in a couple of trial games as a quick winger with a powerful shot. He scored twice in the early weeks of the season, against Lewes and Hornchurch, and currently has nine goals in all competitions.

Erald Desa – Forward

Erald made his debut for Cray as a substitute against Horsham on 8th December.He has played for Welwyn Garden City, Cheshunt, and Enfield Town, and has represented Albania at youth level.

Chris Dickson – Forward

Chris has had a very interesting career, an experienced striker who joined the Wands from Erith & Belvedere following a successful spell at Hornchurch where he was a member of their FA Trophy winning team last season. Chris played for Charlton Athletic where he spent three seasons making 28 league appearances; he enjoyed loan spells at Crewe, Bristol Rovers and Gillingham. He was capped twice by Ghana, and had a successful spell in Cypriot football with AEL Limassol where he played in Champions League and Europa League football; he also had a spell in Chinese league football. When he returned to England he played with Sutton United, Chelmsford City, Hampton & Richmond, and Hornchurch.

HEAD TO HEAD

18 Aug 2021 – Cray Wanderers 3 Lewes 1
18 Jan 2020 – Cray Wanderers 2 Lewes 1
19 Oct 2019 – Lewes 2 Cray Wanderers 3
20 Jan 2018 – Cray Wanderers 1 Lewes 2
16 Sep 2017 – Lewes 2 Cray Wanderers 1
11 Feb 2016 – Cray Wanderers 1 Lewes 3

RECENT FORM

OUR LAST MEETING HERE – 19th OCTOBER 2019

Tony Russell’s (then) side came and spoilt the party in what was Darren Freeman’s last game in charge of the Rooks. Despite Dayshonne Golding giving Lewes a 23rd minute lead, Cray went in at half-time 2-1 to the good thanks to goals from Joe Taylor and Mitchell Nelson. They added in a third in the 50th minute from Andre Cocker before substitute Stefan Ilic reduced the arrears in the 80th minute on a sunny afternoon in front of 648 fans. Fun fact – six of the Cray squad on that afternoon are now at the Dripping Pan, whilst eight of the Rooks squad have played at Whitehawk this season (and two at Bognor Regis Town).

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COMMUNITY SPIRIT – A VISIT TO FAN-OWNED DUNSTABLE TOWN

“Football is nothing without fans” is often used in the press to make a point about fans being forgotten or ignored when it comes to decisions about ridiculous kick-off times and dates or the restrictions on capacities. The quote, attributed to the late, great Jock Stein is actually quoted incorrectly. What he said when asked about “Without fans who pay at the turnstile, football is nothing. Sometimes we are inclined to forget that. The only chance of bringing them into stadiums is if they are entertained by what happens on the football field.”

But for clubs in the Non-League game it isn’t just the fans who make the game special, but those who put in long hours, life savings and physical hard work. Those who frequently operate behind the scenes, without fuss, acclaim or praise, working tirelessly for their clubs, improving facilities and trying to stand out in the cut-throat world of football.

A couple of years ago I was approached by a group of fans from Dunstable Town, concerned at the state of their club, at the time facing a second successive relegation from the Southern Premier League Central Division and having issues on and off the pitch. Lewes had played them at Creasey Park in the FA Trophy and the group of fans were interested in our community model and the approach we had taken.

Fast forward four years and the club may be now playing at Step 5 but they are as a community-owned club, having taken control of the club last summer and planning for a brighter future for the club. A free week of Lewes activity saw me head north to visit Creasey Park for the first time since they became fan-owned and also since our 4-1 victory here in the FA Trophy back in 2017. It was our visit on that day and talking to some of their frustrated fans that provided a compelling moment for the club to want to become a community club.

For nearly three years I had been talking with Andrew Madaras about the mechanism, the strategy and the pitfalls of taking over the club he loved. In May 2021 Dunstable Town became fan-owned.

In true community club style, Andrew wears multiple hats including Chairman and Club Secretary and as I enter the ground on a chilly Tuesday night, he’s there to welcome fans, wearing a badge that says proudly he is a volunteer first, a fan second and a Chairman (and secretary) third.

Whilst some teams will have wanted to avoid a game against The Hatters, for the clubs who enter the Beds Senior Cup it is the plum draw. Luton Town are the only professional side in the competition and whilst they only field their Under21s, they are the plump draw in the competition as it almost guarantees a bumper crowd. And so it is that on a chilly Tuesday night nearly 350 are in attendance as the Blues look to banish their league woes and pull off a cup shock.

Madaras is highly apologetic that their popular Caribbean food hut is out of action, due to the owner having COVID. Creating something different is one of the pillars of success for any community club because you aren’t just competing with other clubs, but also with cinemas, bars, restaurants and other leisure activities come 3pm on a Saturday. You got the feeling of belonging when you walked into Creasey Park and that is so important.

Whilst the home side had a couple of early chances it was no surprise when Luton took the lead half way through the half. Two nil at half time and a chance to talk football with Luton’s CEO Gary Sweet over a sausage roll and cup of tea and the potential of one or two players perhaps heading down to the South Coast.

Luton ran out 5-0 winners in the end, their fitness shining through in the last twenty minutes but Dunstable Town were also the winners here with a decent crowd, bar and food sales. Hopefully, a few fans also liked what they saw and will come back and even join the cause by signing up to be an owner themselves (here).

The Premier League may have grabbed the headlines on Tuesday night with Brighton’s draw with Chelsea, and Burnley’s inability to find 13 fit players from their squad of 51 players (Under23s and above) but Dunstable Town were the real winners in my eyes.

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THE 2021/22 ISTHMIAN PREMIER LEAGUE IN NUMBERS

Highest attendances Highest Average Attendance
1. Bognor Regis Town v Worthing – 2,239 (28/12/21) 1. Worthing – 1,303
2. Worthing v Horsham – 2,143 (1/1/22) 2. Bognor Regis Town – 867
3. Worthing v Bognor Regis Town – 2,101 (31/8/21) 3. Lewes – 777
4. Worthing v Lewes – 1,619 (23/10/21) 4. Folkestone Invicta – 774
5. Lewes v Bognor Regis Town – 1,416 (1/1/22) 5. Horsham – 644

Highest Scorers Meanest Defence
1. Lewes – 64 1. Hornchurch – 24
2. Worthing – 61 2. Cheshunt – 25
3. Enfield Town – 61 3. Bishop’s Stortford – 27
4. Folkestone Invicta – 51 4. Folkestone Invicta – 27
5. Bishop’s Stortford – 49 5. Carshalton Athletic – 29

Best Home Record Best Away Record
1. Worthing – 31pts 1. Lewes – 23pts
2. Folkestone Invicta – 28pts 2. Worthing – 23pts
3. Bishop’s Stortford – 28pts 3. Enfield Town – 22pts
4. Kingstonian – 28pts 4. Cheshunt – 21pts
5. Enfield Town – 28pts 5. Bognor Regis Town – 20pts

Race for the Golden Boot Most Clean Sheets
1. Ollie Pearce (Worthing) – 26 goals 1. Jack Giddens (B Stortford) – 8
2. Muhammadu Faal (Enfield Town) – 25 goals 2. Tim Roberts (Folkestone Inv) – 8
3. Joe Taylor (Lewes) – 24 goals 3. Lewis Carey (Lewes) – 7
4. David Smith (Folkestone Invicta) – 16 goals 4. Joe Wright (Hornchurch) – 7
5. Ben Greenhalgh (Margate) – 13 goals 5. Harrison Male (Worthing) – 6

Least Players Used Most Players Used
1. Folkestone Invicta – 23 players 1. Leatherhead – 70 players
2. Bognor Regis Town – 24 players 2. Brightlingsea Regent – 53 players
3. Lewes – 25 players 3. Cray Wanderers – 47 players
4. Bishop’s Stortford – 26 players 4. East Thurrock Utd – 44 players
5. Corinthian-Casuals – 26 players 5. Wingate & Finchley – 43 players

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ON THIS DAY IN ROOKS HISTORY – 25th JANUARY 2020

On a chilly, winter’s day, Lewes faced East Thurrock United at the Dripping Pan. The hosts piled more misery on the home side with a three-nil win thanks to an early goal from Frankie Merrifield then two goals in the final ten minutes by Mitchell Gilbey and Danny Harris. But what else can you remember about that game?

Results

#1. How many players from the Rooks side on that day have played for Whitehawk this season?

#2. Which East Thurrock United player has since pulled on the Red and Black of Lewes?

#3. Rooks attacking midfielder Stefan Ilic is now playing for which Step 2 side?

#4. The attendance for the game was 506. How many less fans attended the next game against Cheshunt?

#5. The Rooks had a poor start to 2020 and had only scored twice when East Thurrock came to visit. Who had scored both of those goals?

Finish
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LEWES 2 BRIGHTLINGSEA REGENT 2 – SAT 22nd JAN 2022

Lewes were forced to settle for a point, as Brightlingsea Regent recovered from 2-0 down to earn a hard-fought draw at the Pan, reports Tom Harper.

Tony Russell made one change to the side from last weekend’s 3-0 win over Merstham, with Iffy Allen replacing the injured Bradley Pritchard in the starting line-up.

Recent arrivals Casey Pettit and Reece Gillies were named on the bench for the first time, with Taylor Maloney also ruled out through injury.

The Rooks started well and were ahead after just three minutes, Joe Taylor finishing well from close range after the ball eventually dropped to him in the area following good play down the left by Ollie Tanner.

Brightlingsea nearly equalised immediately though, with Aaron Blair seeing an effort deflected wide after capitalising on a loose pass at the back.

Lewes doubled their lead on 12 minutes, as the ball was worked to Razz Coleman De-Graft on the right, and he cut inside before unleashing a powerful strike which hit the underside of the bar and bounced almost on the line before being tapped in by Taylor.

Despite being two goals behind, the visitors were looking dangerous going forward, with Lewis Carey forced into a smart save to deny Dom Locke as they looked for a route back into the game.

Lewes continued to look like adding to their lead whenever they were in the final third though, and saw De-Graft cut inside from the right before hitting the post from the edge of the area at the end of a sweeping move through midfield.

Brightlingsea pulled a goal back on the half-hour mark through Locke, who latched onto a Blair through-ball before steering his strike past Carey and into the bottom corner.

The Rooks started the second half on the front foot, with Taylor latching onto a long ball forward from Mitchell Nelson before shooting over the crossbar.

Taylor went close again minutes later, rolling the defender and forcing a save from Charlie Turner in the visitor’s goal. Michael Klass picked up the loose ball and teed up Tom Carlse, but he could only shoot into the side-netting from just inside the area.

Lewes continued to push for a third goal and saw De-Graft go close twice in quick succession, first being denied by Turner after latching onto a Klass through-ball, then missing the target after being teed up by Taylor shortly after.

Having weathered a storm during the early stages of the second half, the visitors began to see more of the ball, with Valter Cachicote de Rocha shooting over from close range after impressive build-up play.

Blair went even closer with Brightlingsea’s next opportunity, seeing his deflected effort from 25 yards hit the outside of the post.

The visitors were handed an excellent opportunity to level the scores with nine minutes remaining, as Tanner tripped Locke in the area as he looked to clear a corner.

Blair took the penalty and sent Carey the wrong way from the spot to make it 2-2 and send the visiting supporters behind the goal into raptures.

Lewes dominated possession during the closing stages but were unable to turn this into clear-cut opportunities against their hardworking opponents.

Brightlingsea were reduced to ten men in the final minute of stoppage time as Connor Barnby was shown a second yellow card, but there was barely time for Lewes to take the resulting free-kick, and the Rooks were left to reflect on a disappointing result in front of over 1,000 fans at the Pan.

Lewes: Carey, Spencer, Carlse, Salmon, Nelson, Klass, Phipp, Allen, Tanner (Dalling 81), De-Graft, Taylor.
Unused Subs: Yao, Hall, Pettit, Gillies.
Booked: Nelson.

Brightlingsea Regent: Turner, Bennett, Gregan, Bell (C. Rocha 63), Ribchester, Littlejohn, Locke, Durling (Skinner 46), Blair, Barmby, V. Rocha (Osinfolarin 85).
Unused Sub: Gilbert.
Booked: Littlejohn, Barmby.
Sent off: Barmby.

Attendance: 1,019

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A LONG, LONG TIME AGO….

How the other half used to spend their afternoon’s in Lewes some 140 years ago.

Thanks to Trevor Wells for finding this picture
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THE 2021/22 ISTHMIAN LEAGUE PARTNERS

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THE 2021/22 ISTHMIAN PREMIER LEAGUE

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PRICE IS NOT AN ISSUE IN THE ABSENCE OF FANS

A favourite saying of mine is ‘Price is only an issue in the absence of value’.  In economic terms this refers to the concept that unless a consumer gets utility from a product or service, price is irrelevant.  This is why for some plays, such as Hamilton or Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, tickets are highly priced.  Not only is there a very high demand for a very limited supply (this setting the market price) but people see a value (enjoyment in this case) of the play.

Think back to a time when a company has been giving our free samples of their products at a train station.  We will all rush to take one but if instead of being free they were discounted by 80 or even 90%, would we still be as keen?  Possibly, but only if we saw a value on the product at that price.

Last week tickets went on sale for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, which starts in ten months time. The tournament, which has been dogged by controversy ever since the tiny country was announced as the host back in 2010, will see 31 countries and their fans arrive to watch 64 games in less than a month. The country has built eight new stadiums, seven of which are within twenty miles of the centre of Doha.

Imagine a World Cup being played in Greater Manchester and you may get the idea of the logistical problems that fans could face. Hotel rooms, which technically went on sale last year are already at a premium to say the least. A search on Hotels.com for a room for two for one of the early weekend’s in the tournament returns zero availability. Not one hotel has a spare bed.

There’s talk of camping, cruise ships and all sorts of inventive ideas to accommodate fans but it is unlikely that there will be anywhere near the supply for the demand. Which is why when the first application phase for tickets opened last week, the organisers used a pricing strategy that looks to mitigate the problem of having empty stadiums.

Ticket prices for some games start from just £8 each, the cheapest tickets for the show piece event have been for over 30 years. Alas, those tickets are for locals in the hope that the migrant workers who have effectively built the infrastructure will attend. For anyone coming from further afield, tickets prices are far less generous. The cheapest tickets in the group stages will be £50, which isn’t bad considering the prices in the Premier League, rising to £180. For a quarter final then basically treble those prices and for a spot in the 80,000 capacity Lusail Stadium for the final, the cheapest tickets are £440.

Quite how many fans will decide to travel is unknown. The England Supporters Travel Club, the only way England fans can get official tickets as part of the national team’s allocation, numbers around 4,300 which means based on the smallest capacity stadiums being used, with 40,000 seats, all who want a ticket are likely to get one. FIFA will take around 33% of the capacity for the ‘Football Family’, with 25% each given to each nation. The rest will be sold via the ticket ballots. However, plenty have already said they will not travel due to the issues behind the tournament and the logistical issues with travel and accommodation.

Time will tell as and when these issues are sorted as to whether the demand for tickets will be there. For now, anyone can go onto the FIFA website and apply for tickets.

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ON THE ROAD WITH THE ROOKS TO…HORNCHURCH

About Hornchurch Stadium
It’s still an athletics stadium I’m afraid.  Since our last visit they haven’t moved any of the stands closer to the pitch so bring your glasses for this one.  Hornchurch have called “The Stadium” home since 1953 when they moved from Upminster Park.   As the club made a rapid rise through the leagues in the early 2000’s bits were added to comply with various league gradings.  The Riverside side of the ground is so called as the River Ingrebourne runs behind it. 

On this side of the ground there are three separate stands offer shelter from the elements although as they are not very steep the view isn’t the best.  On the East side of the ground is the Main stand, flanked by covered terracing.  It is almost impossible to watch at the north end of the ground but at the other end you can watch the game from an elevated position in the bar or the terrace next door.

How to get to Hornchurch Stadium
AFC Hornchurch is one of the few games we will travel to next season where you can take the tube to.  We missed that last season.  So, for the non-drivers, head to London Victoria, grab some reading material and catch the District Line east.  Upminster Bridge underground station is a few minutes away from the ground. Turn right out of the station, walk under the railway bridge and take the second right turning into Bridge Avenue. The station is in zone 6. Upminster British Rail station is the nearest mainline to the ground and a 10-minute walk. Come out of station, turn left into St Mary’s Lane and then left again for Bridge Avenue. The station is also in zone 6.  Remember DO NOT ALIGHT AT HORNCHURCH…it is miles away from the ground.

If you are driving then head north up the A23/M23 and then anti-clockwise on the M25, under the Thames (don’t forget to pay the toll charge online!) and then exit the motorway at junction M29 and take the left-hand slip-road off the roundabout towards London (E & C).  After approx. one mile take the left-hand slip road and then at end turn left into Hall Lane.

Follow Hall Lane south, hopping over a couple of mini-roundabouts, crossing the railway line before you need to turn right into St Mary’s Lane (A124).  Follow this road downhill and then after 600 metres, do a left into Bridge Avenue.  The entrance to the ground is about 200m down this road on your left.  Take your pick from the space available on the streets around here.  Total distance from Lewes FC is 75 miles and it should take between 90 minutes and 2 hours each way depending on the traffic.

Admission at Hornchurch Stadium
Admission this season is £11 for adults, £7 for concessions (senior citizens and students), Under16s £3 and accompanied under 12s are admitted free of charge.  

Fancy a beer?
The nearest pub to the ground is The Windmill which is almost opposite Bridge Avenue as you walk along the main road.  It is a Greene King “family” pub so don’t expect much in way of sophisticated eating and fine craft ales, but it is pleasant (and cheap enough).

The Upminster Taproom on Sunnyside Gardens is a great micro-pub and only a five-minute walk from Upminster station. The Optimist Tavern on Hacton Lane is also recommended for a craft ale or two.

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MEANWHILE, THE COMMERCIAL PARTNER OF THE WEEK IS

The Rwandan Tourist Board have not only invested big money with Arsenal but also with PSG, one of the richest clubs in the world. Rwanda were rumoured to have paid Arsenal $39m for their 3 year deal and whilst the commercial details of the PSG agreement are confidential, you can assume it is at least the same. One of the aims is to increase tourism to the African nation, which would require a significant increase in visitors to get a return on investment. The official line is aspirational to say the least:

“Rwanda’s long-term vision aligns with Paris Saint-Germain’s commitment to the younger generation, reflected in their massive global appeal as the youngest major European club, home to many of today and tomorrow’s greatest footballing talents, a pioneer for fashion and lifestyle in football, and a hotbed for ground-breaking experiences.

“First team players and legends will travel to Rwanda for remarkable experiences that will be shared through digital platforms across the globe with more than 70 million Paris Saint-Germain fans”

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AND FINALLY…..

We’ve all had bad days in the office where we make mistakes that not only impact our own performance in the job but potentially others. But would you ever consider writing an open letter to apologise? Yes, if you are an Arsenal player it seems.

In an unprecedented situation, Arsenal’s Thomas Partey felt it necessary to write a letter of apology to the world and his wife after being sent off for two late yellow cards in the Gunners 2-0 defeat in the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg. Neither were bad fouls, nor in the grand scheme of things, pivotal in the game, with Arsenal trailing at the time and posing little threat up front.

Partey had flown back tout de suite after Ghana’s shock exit from the African Cup of Nations thanks to defeat by the Comoros. He took his place on the bench of the finely poised cup tie and was introduced by Arteta in the 74th minute with Liverpool leading 1-0.

The letter itself was bad enough….but the personalised notepaper it was written on? That’s the real crime against humanity here surely?

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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 AT THE DRIPPING PAN

SATURDAY 5th FEBRUARY 2022 – 3PM KICK OFF

THE ISTHMIAN PREMIER LEAGUE – TICKETS ON SALE NOW

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TODAY’S QUIZ ANSWERS

  1. C – 5 players – Nathan Stroomberg-Clarke, Harry Reed, Stacey Freeman, Michael Dome-Bemwin and Ronnie Conlon
  2. A – Ayo Olukoga
  3. B – Braintree Town
  4. C – 1 (505)
  5. A – Charlie Coppola