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Welcome to The Dripping Pan for this afternoon’s Emirates FA Cup tie against Three Bridges. Here is your complimentary e-programme.

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Good afternoon and welcome to this afternoon’s Emirates FA Cup tie against Three Bridges. I’d like to welcome the fans, players, management and officials here today for what is only our forth competitive meeting. Based on the 21 goals scored in our previous three matches, we can be assured of a high-scoring game today, although perhaps not quite in a similar vein to our 8-0 over Sheppey United here in the last round.

Naturally, as a club we have expressed our condolences to the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and will again today mark the occasion with a period of reflective silence but there was significant debate as to whether matches at all levels of the game should have been postponed. The Queen was the patron of the Football Association, and the decision to postpone all games was made by them, taking the matter out of our hands and that of the Isthmian League. Other sports, notably cricket and rugby went ahead with impeccably delivered tributes to The Queen’s memory.

The free Saturday was used wisely by the squad who trained in the morning on the pitch then took part in a “competitive” quiz in the bar, won by the management team. It was another good opportunity for the squad to build team spirit and they went into the game against Horsham confident and motivated.

Sometimes in football things don’t work out and I don’t need to say how disappointing the result was. That was our ninth game of the season and our first defeat. Only Folkestone Invicta, who also surprisingly lost on Tuesday, had unbeaten records, again proving how competitive and open this season is going to be. Seven days is a long time in football but even so it is worth remembering that one defeat doesn’t define a season. The squad were back in on Wednesday night putting right some of the wrongs from Tuesday. That’s the nature of the management team we have and the squad they’ve assembled.

We know that despite being plying their trade at Step 4, Three Bridges will be coming here today looking to win. They’ve got a number of former Rooks in their ranks, from manager Jamie Crellin, defenders Dan Ferreria and Callum Donaghey to dangerous midfielder Kieron Pammont, who will be looking to get one over on us so we can’t be complacent. Our home form has been excellent this season so far, scoring thirteen and conceding just one in four games and that’s in part down to the role you, the fans, play. Let’s keep that support us today and hopefully come 5pm we will be in Monday’s draw, one step closer to Wembley…or at least to a first round tie for the first time in nearly 20 years.

Our Under18s continued their great start to the season with a thumping 6-0 on Thursday night here against Bognor Regis Town in the FA Youth Cup, with their reward being another home tie against a local club, taking on Peacehaven & Telscombe in two weeks time.

Tomorrow, our Women’s team return to action as they host London City Lionesses here. Scott’s side have drawn their opening two games, and with an international break then last weekend’s game at Blackburn Rovers cancelled, it is a welcome return to action for the side. Kick off is 2pm and it would be great to see as many of you come to cheer on our Women’s side tomorrow.

After my call for help a few weeks ago I’m glad to say that a number of volunteers have come forward to help continue to pull together the match day progcasts, hopefully bringing in some new ideas and content in the coming months.

Don’t forget we are back here on Tuesday (unless today’s game ends all square) when we host surprise early league leaders Aveley, kick off 7:45pm.

Get behind the team and Come On You Rooks!


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It’s been an interesting week. We played on Tuesday back to back. The first game we won 8-0 and we’re the best thing since sliced bread and everyone is really positive about us. And then we lose our first league game of the season in mid-September the following Tuesday and we get stick for our defence. But that’s a week in football. What I’ve learned is you can’t get too high when you win, and you can’t get too down when you lose.

We’re playing a lot of games; we’ve got Aveley next Tuesday too. Marcel [Elva-Fountaine] is cup-tied so that’s an enforced change. But I don’t see wholesale changes. To be honest if we’d have won against Horsham, I would have made more changes for Saturday, but I still feel looking at that game we’re still a little bit undercooked, still working on stuff and playing around with the combinations.

What I’ll probably do is try a different combination in midfield, we’ve worked on a few bits where we think might help players. But realistically it won’t be a big overhaul from the side that lost to Horsham. I deliberately don’t want to make those big changes because it screams panic. It’s better to stay consistent, after all we’ve only lost one game this season.

At the moment. We’re lacking that one guy who has that creative mind. We’re actively looking and are in for one, it might take a few weeks to get done because we’re monitoring the situation. We understand that and we had a really good session on Wednesday. We feel confident coming into the game.

We’ve watched the video on Three Bridges and had the match reports on them. They’re cup specialists. A good, enthusiastic team and I know the boy up front Noel Leighton from Margate. They’re a good side and they have no pressure. They can come here and have a free hit at it.

I was impressed by a good few of their young players on our video footage. Watching how they play, they’re decent. But so are we and we’ve got to concentrate on ourselves. We’re planning for this, have done our work and if we play well I think we’ll win, regardless of what they do. But if we’re slightly off it on Saturday they can beat us.

They’ve got good threats – quality out wide, a centre-forward who is experienced and energy in midfield. If we don’t play well, it’s a potential banana skin but if we do play well they’ll find it hard to contain us.

We won’t really know the reaction from Tuesday until we get it out there. Training was really good, everyone left in high spirits, and we did some great work on the training pitch. We’re as prepared as we can be, so I’m confident.

I love our fans and I will always tell them how good they are. There was a game last year in mid-December when we lost 5-1 at home to Potters Bar. We had a man sent off and it was a horrible, miserable, wet night.

But they stayed behind and clapped us. And I’ll never forget that. You find out about people not when you’re flying, but when you’re not doing well. And the fans were, and have always been, amazing.

The players talk about our fans and the atmosphere a lot, especially when we’re kicking towards our home end in the second half. There’s no better feeling when the roar goes up.

But we can’t just turn up with an expectation to win – neither us nor the fans. I’ve seen it before where fans turn up expecting to win and are almost waiting for something to happen before they get going. And the players have turned up and have waited for the fans to get going before we do.

We need our supporters to be vocal from the get-go, and as a team we need to be on it straightaway.

The boys talk about how loud it is when we get a corner or a shot away. We’re very lucky to have such wonderful fans. As I said with the Potters’ Bar game, I will never forget that. I’ve never seen anything like it. I couldn’t believe it.

I was expected to get booed and jeered, and they stood there clapping. It was a horrible, cold, wet day and they were there for us. If ever there’s a group of people who deserve success it’s our supporters – and I’m determined to give them it.

Come on you Rooks!


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A disappointing performance saw Lewes suffer their first defeat of the season in a 2-0 loss at local rivals Horsham, reports Tom Harper.

Tony Russell made three changes to the side that had beaten Sheppey United in the FA Cup a week earlier, with Marcel Elva-Fountaine, Ayo Olukoga and Bradley Pritchard replacing Kenneth Yao, Tom Phipp and Jack Skinner in the starting line-up.

Before the game, everyone in the ground paused to remember the Queen with an impeccably-observed minutes silence following her passing last week. Lewes were slow out of the blocks and found themselves behind after just nine minutes, Mitchell Nelson mis-timing an attempted header back to Lewis Carey, which allowed Jack Mazzone to nip in and square the ball for Daniel Ajakaiye to finish.

The Rooks were finding it difficult to get into the game, with passes going astray and their defence always looking vulnerable against the pace and movement of the Horsham front line. Ajakaiye was proving particularly difficult to handle, dragging a presentable chance wide of the far post and then being denied by Carey at his near post from a similar position minutes later.

Horsham had been the better side throughout the first half and deservedly doubled their lead five minutes before the break, as Tom Kavanagh sent a superb 25-yard free-kick round the wall and in off the inside of the post. Lewes made a better start to the second half, enjoying more possession without really testing Mitchell Beeney in the Horsham goal.

The Rooks could have pulled a goal back within minutes of the restart, an off balance Deon Moore heading a Marcel Elva-Fountaine cross over at the far post. Lewes nearly halved the deficit again just before the hour, as former Rook Tom Day deflected a Razz Coleman De-Graft cross just past his own near post.

Horsham were making it difficult for Lewes to build any spell of consistent pressure though, winning the ball back high up the pitch on a number of occasions and always looking capable of adding to their lead.

Despite this, Lewes soon had arguably their best chance to set up a nervy final 25 minutes, as Nelson saw an effort blocked on the line after a corner hadn’t been cleared, before Bradley Pritchard blasted the rebound wide from the edge of the area. The game began to peter out at this point, as Lewes continued to commit players forward but just weren’t able to show the cutting edge they had demonstrated a week earlier in their FA Cup victory over Sheppey United.

Horsham came close to adding a third late on, as Harvey Sparks saw his mis-hit cross from the left come back off the bar. This was the final action of note on a disappointing night for Lewes, who never really recovered from conceding an early goal against a very impressive Horsham side.

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A superb team performance saw Lewes progress to the second qualifying round of the FA Cup with an emphatic 8-0 win over Sheppey United at the Pan, writes Tom Harper.

Tony Russell made three changes to the side that drew the first game 2-2 in Kent on Saturday, with Kenny Yao, Tom Phipp and Jack Skinner replacing Tom Champion, Ayo Olukoga and Bradley Pritchard in the starting line-up.

Lewes had fought back from two goals down on Saturday to set up this replay and made a bright start, Kenny Yao forcing a smart save from Aiden Prall early on at the end of an incisive passing move down the right.

The Rooks were then handed an excellent chance to go in front, as they were awarded a penalty after Tom Carlse was tripped by a covering defender who was attempting to shepherd the ball behind for a goal-kick.

Joe Taylor stepped up and sent Prall the wrong way from the spot to make it 1-0 on 15 minutes.

Lewes doubled their lead just four minutes later, a spell of patient possession ending with Jack Skinner finding Ronan Silva, who finished powerfully into the bottom corner from inside the area.

The Rooks were playing some exceptional football, moving the ball quickly and looking capable of scoring every time they found themselves in the final third.

They were awarded their second penalty of the evening on 25 minutes, Taylor being bought down by Prall as he attempted to round him after being played through on goal by Razz Coleman De-Graft.

Taylor put this penalty to Prall’s right but the outcome was the same, with the goalkeeper diving to his left, leaving Lewes 3-0 up after a dominant start.

The visitors were nearly handed an unlikely route back into the game almost immediately, as Mitchell Nelson sliced a clearance back towards his own goal, the ball dropping just wide of the near post.

Lewes made the most of this by increasing their lead further ten minutes before the break, Will Salmon volleying into the roof of the net from close range after Prall had made an excellent initial save to keep out Nelson’s header from a Skinner corner.

Skinner had been at the heart of all of Lewes’ best play during the first half and he was involved again five minutes into the second, finding a pocket of space just outside the box and playing a perfectly-weighted ball through for Taylor to finish past the onrushing Prall and complete his hat-trick.

Despite being in such a commanding position with so much of the game still remaining, the Rooks continued to look to add to their lead, Prall making a fine save to deny Silva at the end of another excellent passing move.

To their credit, Sheppey continued to work hard and saw Lewis Carey react quickly to keep out a Warren Mfula strike before Salmon cleared Jacob Lambert’s effort on the rebound off the line.

Lewes made it 6-0 on 72 minutes, Taylor scoring his fourth of the game with a deflected strike into the bottom corner after being found in space by Rhys Murrell-Williamson.

The Rooks were awarded their third penalty of the game with ten minutes remaining when Salmon was caught late after getting on the end of a Skinner corner and helping it back towards goal

Taylor stepped up for the third time and confidently found the bottom corner, making it 7-0 and taking his personal tally for the night to five goals.

Lewes completed the scoring and capped an outstanding team performance by scoring their eighth and final goal on 89 minutes, Deshane Dalling finishing emphatically from the edge of the area after being teed up by Murrell-Williamson.

This was a great night at the Pan, with those supporters who braved the pre-match downpour and ignored the Champions League football on the TV being treated to Lewes’ biggest ever FA Cup win.

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Founded in 1901, Three Bridges Football Club joined the newly formed Second Division of the Sussex County League in 1952, gaining promotion as champions to Division One in 1954, but only lasting one season before dropping back down to Division Two.

Known as Three Bridges United since 1953, they reverted to Three Bridges again in 1964. Promotion and relegation followed in succession, as they enjoyed spells in Division One between 1969 and 1973, 1974 and 1977, 1980 and 1997, before a further promotion in 1999.

Three Bridges finished runners-up in the County League in 1986, 1988 and 1989. They won the County League for the first time in 2012, thereby securing promotion to the Isthmian League. They achieved a highest-ever league placing of seventh in Division One South in 2015.

Relegated in 2017 to the re-named Southern Combination League, they bounced back at the first attempt, finishing one point behind champions Haywards Heath, but securing promotion as runners-up.

After a 14th place finish in the Isthiam South East division last season, the Bridges have started their 2022/23 campaign with two wins from their first four league games.

Click here to see their current league table.


1. Mitch Bromage  (GK)

2. Dan Ferreria

3. Giani Ashley

4. Michael Wilson

5. Tad Bromage

6. Bryan Villavicencio

7. Curtis Gayler

8. Brannon O’Neill  ©

9. Kieron Pamment

10. Noel Leighton

11. Alex Barbary

12. Joe Stone

13. Leo Anderson  (GK)_

14. Kevin Rivera

15. Callum Donaghey

16. Camron Lawson

17. Tresor Difika

18. Billy Irving

19. Conner Collcutt

20. Harvey Wooolard

Manager: Jamie Crellin

Assistant Manager: Danny Lee

Physio Team: Tracey Weller

Kit Man: Richard Munn

Colours: Grey Shirt, Grey Shorts, Sky Blue Socks.  GK: Purple Kit



06/11/2019Sussex Senior CupLewes5Three Bridges2
31/12/2016Isthmian League SouthLewes4Three Bridges2
25/10/2016Isthmian League SouthThree Bridges3Lewes5


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Aveley went top of the table on Monday night with victory over Potters Bar Town, and we new they would stay there despite last night’s results, so our focus was the battle for second place.

Folkestone Invicta were the favourites to climb to second- but Cray Wanderers had other ideas. Invicta were unbeaten, and had won their last four matches in all competitions, so it was no surprise when Adam Yusuff put them ahead twice during the first half, but on both occasions the Wands quickly hit back, Tom Derry and then Sinn’kaye Christie- the latter just before the break- drawing them level despite the home side applying most of the pressure. After the break, the visitors took control, Sam Wood finding the bottom corner to make it three-two on sixty four minutes and Dan Bassett rounding things off with a fourth just before the end. Wands leap above their hosts, into fifth.

Hornchurch welcomed Corinthian-Casuals and made it a miserable experience for the Tolworth side. A Sam Higgins header and David Smith effort made it two-nil at the break; Higgins, Charlie Stimson and Remi Sutton added three more in the second half, and away fans were given nothing at all to cheer. The Urchins are up to third, three points behind the leaders and ahead of Potters Bar Town on goal difference.

Canvey Island had scored eight goals in their previous three matches but only managed one more last night, as Haringey Borough arrived and took a share of the spoils. Borough actually got both of them- Georgios Aresti gave them an early lead only for an own goal to quickly draw the hosts level, and that’s how it ended. There were chances at both ends, Evans Kouassi seeing a shot cleared off the line for the Gulls, Borough hitting the post, but none that could be taken.

Bognor Regis Town welcomed Carshalton Athletic to the seaside, and the two shared a six goal thriller as the Rocks came back from two-nil and three-one down to draw. Calvin Ekpiteta put the visitors ahead after just four minutes, and it was two-nil before a quarter of an hour had been played, Femi Akinwande with the second for the Robins. Only then did the hosts get going, and Tom Bragg got one back before half time- but again the Robins were sharpest, Walter Figueira restoring the two goal cushion from the spot on fifty minutes after he was fouled.

That perhaps should have been that, but Nathan Odokonyero has been brilliant for Bognor this season, and the number nine got one back with twelve minutes to go to give his side hope. Two minutes from time the same player got the equaliser- his eighth of the campaign- and earned his side a point.

Hastings United welcomed Kingstonian to Pilot Field. United had struggled for goals so far this season, failing to score in four of their six matches, and they added only one more- but it was enough to give them all three points. Gillingham loanee Joe Gbode got it from the spot just before the break- converting after he was fouled- and the majority of the seven hundred and eighty six watching on would have been delighted, as their side climbed to fourteenth.

It was the story of the Blues at New Lodge, as Billericay Town welcomed Bishop’s Stortford- and it was the visiting Blues who were most blue, as Town grabbed a late, late equaliser. David Olufemi gave Stortford the lead from the spot six minutes before the break, and when Chris Harris made it two-nil it looked as if the points were about to hit the road, but finally Town got going, and Bradley Stevenson quickly got one back. Right at the end Toby Stevenson popped up to earn a point for the hosts, to the relief of most of the four hundred and eighty in attendance.

Brightlingsea Regent played host to Enfield Town, and the Towners finally began to look like their old selves, slamming home four goals without reply. Adam Cunnington opened the scoring on twenty seven minutes, and after the break Andre Coker added two before Lyle Della Verde signed off with a curling fourth- and he really did sign off as he was red carded two minutes later.

We had a seaside derby as Margate hosted Herne Bay. The visitors will be glad that they had only a short journey home, and perhaps wish they had left before the game kicked off- as within half an hour they were four goals down. Cameron Brodie got the first two, on three and eleven minutes, with Ben Greenhalgh scoring two more on twenty two and twenty eight minutes. That turned out to be that, but if you were a Bay fan amongst the five hundred and eighty six watching on then you had a rather miserable ninety minutes. Home fans, understandably, had rather different emotions!

Finally, two sides in the bottom four met as Bowers & Pitsea welcomed Wingate & Finchley. The visiting Blues are the only side in the Pitching In Isthmian Premier not to have picked up a league win this season- but they had drawn three of their five games so we should have known what would happen. The North Londoners struck first, going ahead on fifteen minutes through Elliot Long who scored from distance, and although Emmanuel Oluwasemo struck back thirteen minutes later- another long range goal- Dernell Wynter restored the lead after just two more minutes, making it three long range finishes out of three. Sonny Fish got the equaliser nine minutes before the break, and that turned out to be that.

Tap here for the current league table.

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Naturally, it was a complete coincidence that there was a game on relatively* close by when we were holidaying on the Amalfi Peninsula. Whilst I have been guilty on many occasions of combining work/family trips, on this occasion it was down to the luck of the TV scheduling.

Our trip had been booked long before the 2021/22 season had finished, and with Serie A games spread across four days in each round, there was a 50/50 chance on either Napoli or Salernitana being scheduled after our arrival on Saturday night. Luck prevailed and we would have a game to go to, relatively* close by.

For those who have ever experienced the roads on the Amalfi coast will know that whilst distances may be short, the quality of the roads and the driving means durations are long. So a relatively* short 30 mile drive from our base on the Western tip of the peninsula to Salerno was actually a 90 minute drive, akin to riding a 50 year old rollercoaster, with no safety harness and with a blindfold on.

It doesn’t matter what car you drive, the narrow, cliff-edge roads, with frequent hairpin bends and cars/buses/lorries trying to overtake on blind corners will age any non-Italians by a good 10 years. But with the opportunity to visit Campania’s second city, Salerno, it was worth the ride. Ok, so I wouldn’t exactly be visiting the city itself, with the Stadio Arechi, home of US Salernitana 1919 being some 5 miles south of the centre, but it counts.

It doesn’t take a genius to realise that the club were formed in 1919, but as we’ve learnt from the parable of Trigger’s broom, the current incarnation exists from the ashes of two previous clubs. The current club, formed 11 years ago, then called Salerno Calcio, have risen from Serie D to the top division in ten years, gaining promotion to Serie A at the start of last season, using a total of 19 (Nineteen) managers along the way. The hot seat in the Italian sunshine is true to its word.

Just like in England, the lower tiers of Italian football are littered with huge clubs, with rich histories and grand stadiums, such as Livorno, Bari and Palermo, who have fallen on hard times, trying to climb out of the dark. US Salernitana’s redemption came in 2020/21, finishing as runners-up in Serie B, and then they defied the odds of survival finishing with just 31 points last season, the lowest ever points total in Serie A history not to have resulted in relegation.

This season a resounding 4-0 victory last weekend over Sampdoria eased the concerns that there could be a repeat of last season after two points from the opening three games. The visit of winless Empoli gave the fans hope of back to back wins for only the second time in the top level since reforming.

Unfortunately, Serie A wasn’t high up on the agenda for the rest of the Fuller’s so I dropped them into the centre of the city for dinner and headed along the coast towards Stadio Arechi. A simple plan, let down in the execution by not failing to heed the most important rules of watching football in Italy.

Rule number one. If you are a nervous driver, don’t drive towards a stadium in Italy on a match day. The vast majority of fans head to the Stadio Arechi on scooters and they come at you from all directions, like a swarm of locusts. Going in any direction apart from forwards is impossible. All rules of the road disappear the closer to the stadium you get.

Rule number two. Never, ever think that there will be any parking spaces close to the ground in Italy. The signs are there a mile away, cars squeezed into the narrowest of gaps, parked on roundabouts, two a breast. But I carried on stoically, using the tried and tested English principle that the closer you got, the more likely there was to be a space because everyone thought the opposite. Of course there wasn’t any and so I had to turn around and navigate through the now onrushing swarm of mopeds until I found a parking space a mile away, on a roundabout.

Rule number three. Italian grounds are huge. Make sure you know which stand you are in. Whilst it was printed clearly in my ticket I simply followed the crowd and got to the front of the queue, presented my ticket and was told I was in the wrong stand. I asked where I needed to go, and through a sign language understood I needed to go back the way I came. So I did, but my way was blocked by an armed policeman, who in perfect English told me unless I was an Empoli fan, my way was blocked, despite the entrance I needed being 20 yards away. 15 minutes later I was at the right gate.

A word of warning, despite what you may hear or read about, every ticket is checked against ID at the outer gates. No ID or the wrong names, no entry.

Rule number four. Just because your ticket has a row and seat number on don’t expect to sit in it. I climbed to the top of the stadium and found my seat. Someone was sitting there. In fact the whole row was taken by a group that seemed far more invested (read bare chested, plenty of USS ink) than I was. So I moved to an empty section at the back of the stand, only to be asked to move as I was in someone else’s seat (painted patch on a concrete terrace).

Rule number five. Just because others are standing up doesn’t mean you can too. I moved down the front, wanting to get a better view of the action in and off the pitch. Groups were standing in the front row of the 2nd and 3rd tiers so I thought I’d join them. I was quickly told, in words it doesn’t take an Italian scholar to understand, that I couldn’t stand there and had to move.

Rule number six. Watch the Tifosi, not the game. I found a spot where I could stand and not be sworn at, with a perfect view of the Curva Sud, the packed stand where the Ultras were. Their noise and colour was a joy to behold. When Empoli took the lead in the 31st minute, a fine headed effort by Martin Satriano, the ultras did not miss a beat, chanting and flag waving as if their lives depended on it. When the equaliser came, a Mazzocchi effort eight minutes later the flares came out and the choruses of the midfielder’s name reverberated around the Arechi.

Rule number seven. It’s tough being an away fan in Italy. You are assumed to be the most heinous of criminals, and treated as if you are in the FBI’s most wanted list. The 25 or so fans from Empoli had been given their own stand, both upper and lower tier, a police presence on a ratio of 1:2 and little else. But fair play to them – it’s a 350 mile trip down from Tuscany to Salerno on a school night.

Rule number eight. Just because your ticket was expensive, don’t expect much in the way of food and drink. Whilst football in Italy is very social, the concept of anything more than simple coffee or a beer if you are lucky is rare. You are a spectator in the gladiatorial arena. You’ve come to see the battle not indulge in the nectar and honey (unless you’ve got a hospitality ticket then fill your boots).

Rule number nine. Blend in with the locals. Wave your hands around, treat every decision against the home side as a mortal wound, cuss at every loose pass, look your fellow fans in the eye and share the disbelief until the team scores then it’s fair game to hug strangers around you,

Rule number ten. Leave at full time at your peril. I loathe leaving a game before the end. You don’t leave the cinema or the theatre early, or skip out of a restaurant before you’ve finished your meal, so why leave a game early? But faced with the prospect of being caught up in the shoal of mopeds, and even crazier than normal driving, I skipped out with 2 minutes to play, found the car (thankfully not blocked in) and located the rest of the family, who had eaten in a bar and watched the whole game on TV.

For the record it ended 2-2, a fair result based on the away team’s first half dominance and the home side’s second half showing. But this wasn’t about the result for me, it was rekindling a love of football in a raw and unfiltered way. There’s a lot to consider when deciding whether to watch a game in Italy, but you’ll always come away wanting more.

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You can sponsor the player of your choice, subject to availability, for the 2022/23 season and get your name in lights, plus a home or away shirt signed by your player and presented to you at a home game. Contact Shrey for more details at

Lewis CareySusie ArlettJack Skinner
Tom CarlseMichael McDowellRonan Silva
Marcel Elva-FountaineRhys Murrell-WilliamsonTrevor Norwood
Kenny YaoDeshane Dalling
Tom ChampionTom, Alice & Russ MouldRazz Coleman De-GraftThe Ouse
Will SalmonDeon Moore
Mitchell NelsonBilly BeauzileJoe TaylorStuart Fuller
Ayo OlukogaFraser Middleton-Tozer
Bradley PritchardFinley Jenkins
Alfie Young
Tom Phipp
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#1. On this day in 2007, Derby County recorded their first Premier League win of the season, beating Newcastle United 1-0. How many more games did they win in that season?

#2. On this day in 2016, the game between Bradford City and Bristol Rovers was halted, and the referee took the teams off for what reason?

#3. On this day in 1974, Liverpool beat Stromsgodset 11-0 in the European Cup Winners Cup. How many different players scored for the Reds?

#4. On this day in 1997, Newcastle United beat which team in the Champions League 3-2?

#5. On this day in 2016, The Rooks lost 2-1 at home to Carshalton Athletic. Who scored the Rooks goal?

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The demise of Thurrock FC is one of the saddest stories in recent times in Non-League football. For those who will drive to Aveley this season, you will undoubtedly pass Ship Lane, the home of Thurrock FC, abandoned to nature.

Originally being founded as Essex Sports in 1984, the club was renamed to Purfleet in April 1985, in order to play senior football, and entered the Essex Senior League. After finishing third and winning the league cup in their first season, they won the league and cup double in 1987–88, earning promotion to Division Two North of the Isthmian League. They finished as runners-up in their first season and were promoted to Division One. However, the following season they were relegated back to Division Two North after finishing second from bottom.

In 1991–92 the club won the division, and were promoted to Division One. Two seasons later they finished second, and were promoted to the Premier Division. In 2003 the club changed its name to Thurrock, and after finishing third in the league at the end of the 2003–04, becoming founder members of the Conference South. The following season they qualified for the play-offs for a spot in Step1, eventually losing to Eastbourne Borough. 

In 2012–13, they initially finished 19th in the Isthmian Premier, two spots above relegation, but then had three points controversially deducted for fielding an ineligible player, dropping them to last place and thus relegating them to Division One North of the Isthmian League. The three points were deducted after the season ended despite the offence taking place in August leading to a protracted legal dispute.

The club went on a run of play-off appearances whilst they were in the Isthmian North, finally gaining promotion in 2017, beating Maldon & Tiptree. However, that summer, chairman Tommy South announced that due to health reasons he would be selling Thurrock and stepping down at the end of the 2017/18 season. With no buyer forthcoming Thurrock formally resigned from the Isthmian League on 31 March 2018. Thurrock won their last home game at Ship Lane on 21 April 2018 against Kingstonian, then lost their final competitive fixture away to Stained Town a week later, finishing in 15th position in the league.

There was hope that a buyer could be found, especially as Ship Lane held a C-grade certificate. Despite interest from nomads Grays Athletic (still sharing 2 miles up the road at Aveley) and others, the ground today remains empty and the club are no more.

Lewes first locked horns with Thurrock in September 2005 in the Conference South at Ship Lane, winning 3-2, and went on to play them 12 times in league and cup competitions, winning 5, drawing 3 and losing 5. Our last game against Thurrock was in December 2012, whilst we were in the Conference South, with the visitors to the Pan winning 2-1.

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I’m sure we will have a number of Three Bridges fans in attendance today, making the relatively short trip across Sussex. The benefits of a regionalised draw in the early rounds of the FA Cup is clubs don’t have to travel too far and thus expenses are manageable although the downside may be a lack of new opponents until you negotiate the first few games.

With trips of Jersey Bulls and Guernsey not possible, we can longingly look to Newport or Cowes on the Isle of Wight for some overseas action when the draw is made for the Preliminary Rounds in August, although of course we did venture off the mainland in the last round for the tie at Sheppey United. The FA Cup is only open to teams, playing at Step 5 or above, who playing in the National Game System. But what if we took a leaf out of some of the domestic cup tournaments played by our European brothers.

I’m writing this sitting by the pool in Funchal, Madeira. The Portuguese island, sits closer to Morocco than Portugal, and is home to two sides who play in the Portuguese Cup. Games against top flight Maritimo and second division CD Nacional require a ninety minute flight to the island, whilst just to the south CD Tenerife and Las Palmas play in the Spanish equivalent, the Copa Del Rey. A return trip from the Canaries to North Spain, such as Bilbao is 2,500 miles. But these pale into insignificance when it comes to the Coup de France.

Last weekend, in the opening round of the competition, L’Asia travelled to the Loire Valley to play FC Luynes. The visitors are based on the island of St Pierre and Miquelon, off the coat of Canada’s Newfoundland. Their 5,000 mile round trip saw them exit the cup after a 6-0 defeat at the French six tier side. In the grand scheme of things, their trip was considerably shorter than those made by other entrants into the competition.

The French Cup is open to any club who play at a certain level or above, which includes the top tier of teams in any of the overseas “departments” that are governed by France. This includes various islands in the Caribbean (such as Guadalupe and Martinique), off the coast of South America (French Guyana), off the coast of East Africa (including Réunion and Mayotte) and the Pacific (Tahiti and Nee Caledonia).

These overseas leagues were able to take part, on an invitational basis (limited to one overseas team each season initially), from 1961. CS Moulien, from Guadalupe, were the first side to take part, losing 3-2 to Dieppe. Since then there only been a small handful of victories for the visitors.

Last season seven sides took part, including FC Vénus from Tahiti, who travelled nearly 10,000 miles to take on Trélissac, from the Dordogne region, as well as clubs from Réunion, Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guyana and St Pierre and Miquelon. But the big story was that of Association Sportive des Jumeaux de M’zouazia, from Mayotte, who beat two lower league French sides before drawing Bordeaux in the Round of 64. They became the first ever overseas side to win two ties and whilst the 10-0 defeat in the Stade Matmut Atlantique may have been painful, the experience for the players and everyone associated with the club will always be remembered.

Could we one day look forward to our FA Cup featuring similar teams? Bermuda, Turks & Caicos Islands, St Helena or even one of the four sides that make up the Falkland Islands league? I doubt it, so for now we just have to hope for a trip to the Isle of Wight for an overseas adventure.

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About New Lodge
A lot has changed since our last competitive visit to New Lodge which was in March 2016. The problematic pitch has been replaced by a decent 3G surface, with the slope from corner to corner removed. Both ends had very similar looking covered terraces installed, whilst a new all seated stand called the Harry Parker Stand was erected on the clubhouse side of the stadium. This smart looking covered stand is around half the length of the pitch in size and runs from the halfway line down towards the Blunts Wall Road End.

Opposite is the Family Stand. Although only four rows high, this all seated stand is covered and runs the full length of the pitch. The stand has a slightly unusual look in that across the roof is a large metal frame that has a number of adverts displayed upon it.

Another unusual feature is that within the perimeter of the ground, in one corner, near the stadium entrance is a large tree which overlooks the stadium. Outside the ground, the rear of the Harry Parker Stand is covered with an impressive row of large murals, one of the reminders of the Glenn Tamplin ownership era.

Our record at New Lodge
It’s been six years since we last visited for the 1-1 draw in the Isthmian Premier League. Prior to that we won 1-0 back in 2013, whilst the Blues beat us by the same score the season before. We visited New Lodge in a pre-season game last year, recording a 2-2 draw.

How to get to New Lodge
From Lewes – A27/A23/M23 and then head anti-clockwise on M25 through the Dartford Tunnel. Leave the M25 at the junction with the A12 (J28) and take the A1023 through Brentwood. When you get to Shenfield take the A129 towards Billericay. Alternatively on leaving the M25 continue down the A12 towards Chelmsford until you reach the next exit (Mountnessing). At the roundabout take the first exit (turn left) then take the first right (just after the scrap yard). Continue along this route until you reach a mini-roundabout. Turn left, then you are on the road into Billericay. Note there is a height restriction of 13’3″ on this route. Both of these routes will bring you into Billericay on the same route. On entering Billericay turn right at the first set of traffic lights (near the Texaco Garage). Blunts Wall Lane is a little way along on the right. Parking is down this road and into the cricket club which is the next entrance passed the ground.

By Rail – Billericay is located on the Liverpool Street – Southend Victoria line; trains run approximately every 20 minutes on most days. Billericay Town Football Club is approximately 25 minutes walk from the station. On leaving the station turn right into Radford Way. At the top of the road turn right, crossing the railway line by the footbridge. Then turn right again at the bottom of the High Street into Western Road. Walk the full length of Western Road, then cross over at the traffic lights into Tye Common Road. Blunts Wall Lane is a little way along on the right. Note Mayflower taxis are located just outside the station and will transport you to the ground for a modest fee.

Admission at New Lodge
Admission this season is £12 for adults, £7 for concessions (senior citizens and students), Under17s £5 and accompanied under 11s are £1.  

Tickets can be purchased in advance here.

Fancy a beer?
There’s a decent sized bar at New Lodge but if you fancy a beer on the way to the ground then check out the Billericay Brewing Company in Chapel Street which offers a range of their beers brewed on site plus guest beers. The Red Lion on the High Street is on the walk from the station to the ground and has a range of cask ales.

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So it was the first step in our latest mission to get to Wembley in May. Well, we can all dream can’t we? We would probably be very happy just to get through a few rounds and get some winnings into the clubs coffers for a change after several seasons of seriously under performing in the Football Association Challenge Cup. Obviously the further we could progress the better and another appearance in the first round proper would be splendid. But then we would want the third round, and a premiership club at the Pan would be something wouldn’t it?

Back to reality, though, and a trip off of the mainland to the Isle of Sheppey to play Sheppey United. This would be a new ground for all of us, and for most of us a first visit to the island. PJ, way back in the early 80’s, passed through once on his way to Sheerness docks to catch an Olau Line ferry for a long weekend in Amsterdam with a group of friends. Details of that weekend, however, are somewhat sketchy.

The train journey to get to Queenborough would have been a bit of a nightmare. Four changes en-route and over four hours each way. £16-odd return sounded reasonable though. After much debating, democracy prevailed and we decided to join Treasurer Alan in his car. He would be leaving from Mark Cross at high noon and the others would park up in a convenient car park and meet him there. PJ with Gary on board was first to arrive with Steve and Roly soon after. Alan rocked up to find us all sitting round a picnic table taking in the rays. We should have packed a hamper of cucumber sandwiches, cream cakes, scones and pork pies but we had to make do with a packet of Opal Fruits from Poundland.

Alan has a knowledge of roads in Sussex and Kent like a London cabbie has of London, but even with shortcuts galore we couldn’t avoid the congestion and it was 1.30 before we even got onto the island. Alan said he knew a cafe in Leysdown that was pretty good so we headed for that. Now, it’s a dangerous thing to recommend anywhere because if it turned out to be sub-par he would certainly be reminded about it for a while. But only for a couple of years or so. Our destination was the Coastal Park Garden Cafe which seemed to be there to cater for the occupiers of the hundreds of mobile homes in that area.

It was pretty basic, a typical holiday park cafe, but looked nice and clean and had the ideal Stodgebuster menu. Alan knew the owner (he knows everybody!) but denied he was on commission. We had a mixture of a couple of all day breakfasts, a ham omelette and chips, a roast beef dinner and a Steak and kidney pud. It was all very good and we were well satisfied. Very rarely have we ever had a duff lunch. We scored it a nine on the Stodge-o-Meter.  It was a shame but we couldn’t hang about to sample the desserts as kick off would be in forty minutes and we had a 20 minute journey ahead of us.

Five minutes into the journey we have a crisis when Roly pipes up with: 

“Sorry boys, I’ve left my phone in the cafe”. 

A sharp U turn and back we go. This would be tight for kick off now. Luckily his phone was exactly where he had left it and off we went again with PJ reading out the fastest route like a rally co-driver.

No problem. We were in the ground at five to three in time for a quick bit of travel swapping stories with the faithful while the teams trooped out. It’s not a bad ground to watch football. It looks quite smart, has cover at each end and has a newish feel about it. Apparently the ground was upgraded for Sheppey to move into in 2013. It also has a 3G pitch so should suit the Lewes passing game. 

We would be favourites of course, but this is the FA Cup and as previously mentioned our record against lower league clubs in the cup isn’t great. So there was an inevitable air of trepidation as battle commenced. 

We were still walking to our viewing point behind the goal when some dodgy defending left Joe Taylor with only the keeper to beat but he put it wide. We were all over them early on and had a Deon Moore goal ruled out for offside. It looked only a matter of time until we scored. Sheppey grew into the game though and had chances of their own by getting the ball behind the defence to their pacy striker Mfula too often for comfort. Lewes were still on top though and it was against the run of play when on thirty nine minutes another ball in behind the defence was slotted past Carey by Mfula. We all exchanged knowing glances. We’d been here before. It was almost a carbon copy of the Casuals game. Lewes well on top but the opposition score.

One down at half time but there was no panic. We could pull this around. One thing for sure from the first half was that Lewes had far more quality out there than Sheppey. We just had to find the net. We would surely come out firing second half after a bit of Cool Box Tony wisdom.

Sheppey were obviously buoyed to be one up and started brightly. So brightly that they had the audacity to double their lead on fifty four minutes when Mfula again found himself in possession in space and struck the ball very nicely into the corner giving Carey no chance. “Goodness Gracious Me” someone said (or words along those lines). 

Here we go again! It looked like another blank Saturday was looming in a couple of weeks. We were immediately thinking of excuses to swerve the horrors of Dunelm Mill, IKEA and endless shoe shops. Pretend we had a minor dose of plague maybe? But hang on a minute, before anyone could say Sack The Board or Bleedin’ Beach Huts we pulled one back when Moore crossed from the by line and Joe stabbed it in at the far post. Hope! Three minutes later we were level when Razz got his foot around a bouncing ball in the area and steered it into the corner. There were huge celebrations behind the goal coupled with relief. Now it was all Lewes but some fine saves and wayward finishing denied us going ahead. Skinner found himself clean through at one point but his finish hit the post and spun away out of the danger zone. That was the moment we should have won it. The Sheppey right back that Alan had enjoyed so much verbal fun with during the game saw red for a ridiculous challenge as we entered injury time, but it was too late to make much difference.

A 2-2 draw and a replay back at the pan on Tuesday night. We should have won it without a doubt but at least we would still be in the draw on the following Monday. Another positive is that it would be another game for us to enjoy (we hoped) and a few more quid in gate money.  

We were back in Lewes by 7pm and PJ was straight onto knocking up a set of Golden Goal tickets for the replay. Come On You Rooks!

The Stodgebusters will return at Herne Bay. Although it will probably be at Ramsgate due to pitch issues.

STOP PRESS l. The winners of Lewes/Sheppey United will be at home to Three Bridges.

STOP PRESS ll. Lewes edged the replay 8-0. Stodgebuster shopping expeditions with the WAG’s on the 17th of September are cancelled. YESSSSSSS!

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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 Sue Anstiss MBE (co-opted), Ed Briggs, Scott Currie, Karen Dobres, Stuart Fuller, Lucy Mills, John Peel, Sally Taplin, Trevor Wells
Chief Executive Officer Maggie Murphy
Club Secretary John Peel
Fan Engagement Manager Shrey Nilvarna
Youth Secretary Ryan Sullivan
Operations Manager James Barker

Equality FC Campaign Manager Karen Dobres

Life Members
Peter Brook, Dorothy Brook RIP, Vic Blunt, Pat Dartnell, Gary Elphick, Gordon Fowlie, Peter Hiscox RIP, Billy Nixon, Derrick Parris RIP, 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
First team coach Nathan White
First team physio Toni Miller
Goalkeeping coach Grant Hall
Match logistics Clive Burgess & Vikram Dogra
First Team Performance Analyst Henderson Russell
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 Editor Stuart Fuller
Club Photographer James Boyes

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TUESDAY 20th SEPTEMBER 2022 – 7:45pm



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  1. None
  2. A drone was flying over the pitch
  3. Nine
  4. Barcelona
  5. Jamie Brotherton