Saturday 25th February 2023 3pm – The Isthmian Premier League – The Dripping Pan

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Welcome to The Dripping Pan for this afternoon’s Isthmian Premier League game against Billericay Town. Here is your complimentary e-programme.

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FOOTBALL v HOMOPHOBIA

We are pleased to announce that during LGBTQ+ history month our fixtures on the 25th and 26th February will be running in support of Football v Homophobia (FvH).

Football v Homophobia is an international campaign working throughout the football pyramid to challenge discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The campaign was founded 12 years ago by ‘The Justin Campaign’ which formed 10 years after the tragic suicide of gay footballer Justin Fashanu in 1998. 

At Lewes FC as part of our commitment to the beautiful game, we care about using football to drive positive change in society.

We have a wonderful and welcoming community at this club and we wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate our diversity, and raise awareness about homophobia in the game.

No one should feel excluded or discriminated against because of their identity and we can all work together to make football a more inclusive place.

Whilst attitudes vary across the industry, homophobic abuse remains a serious problem in football and wider society.

Just last month, Football v Homophobia penned a letter calling for urgent action after recent incidents of homophobic abuse in men’s football within stadiums and on social media2.

Campaigns like Football V Homophobia are crucial in challenging mindsets, educating people and enhancing LGBTQ visibility and opportunityin football.

There is no place for hate in our beautiful game and we are encouraging all our supporters to join us over the weekend to #KickItOut.

  1. Information and leaflets will be available at the Dripping Pan about the work that Football V Homophobia does and how you can support them. Football v Homophobia is an initiative of Pride Sports. To find out more visit: https://www.footballvhomophobia.com/
  2. If you ever witness any hateful or prejudiced behaviour / language during a game, we urge you to speak to a club official, report to Kick It Out (02039678989 / report@kickitout.org) or report the case to the FA.
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JOIN THE TEAM & BECOME AN OWNER TODAY!

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NOTES FROM THE CHAIR

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Good afternoon and welcome back to the Dripping Pan for this afternoon’s Isthmian Premier League tie against Billericay Town. I’d like to welcome the fans, players, management and officials from The Blues and hope their journey home is problem free.

Once again today is a six-pointer. It’s actually fair to say that our month ahead is full of such games and we face three of the current top five. Last Saturday was a disappointing result – make no mistake there are few better teams at the moment in this division than Aveley. They are big, strong and well organised. They were the better team on the day although those who were there will undoubtedly also raise questions about the standard of refereeing. A game of football should last ninety minutes – last Saturday anyone who attended can feel aggrieved that the ball was in play for 50 minutes 34 seconds. I read on a website that the average time the ball is in play in the Premier League is 55 minutes BUT that includes the stoppages for VAR decisions, and up to five substitutes per team (not to mention the ridiculous amounts of play acting). That was all down to one man and the way he handled the game.

We’ve regrouped as a squad this week and focused on today’s game against a Billericay side who aren’t too far off the play-offs themselves. It was a superb game at New Lodge earlier in the season and we will be looking to exact revenge on the Blues today.

Last week Lewes Clamour (Stan Lahood), one of the members of our Youth Wing support and myself sat down for a couple of hours to discuss the future of the match day programme and what we could do differently. It is a question of time and money – we stopped producing a printed programme 5 years ago because we were selling less than 40 per game and the rising costs to produce meant we were losing a couple of hundred pounds per game. But we’ve got some ideas and in the next few weeks you’ll see a couple of surveys both in this progcast, on the website and social media asking for opinions, ideas and voluntary help. We’ve not thrown out the idea of having something printed but it needs to a) at least break even, b) be worthwhile producing and c) be “staffed”. Of course, if anyone has any ideas in the meantime let Stan or myself know.

Tomorrow sees our Women’s team take on Cardiff City Ladies here, kick off 2pm, in the Fifth Round of the Vitality FA Cup. It’s the chance to take a step into the Sixth Round for the first time in the club’s history but first we need to be the best version of ourselves to beat a side who have done brilliantly to reach this stage of the competition. Tickets are still available and we hope to pack the Pan out and really get behind Scott and the team.

Get behind the team and Come On You Rooks!

Stuart

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TOMORROW AT THE PAN – WATCH HISTORY IN THE MAKING

Tomorrow we host Cardiff City Ladies in the 5th Round of the Vitality FA Cup, kick off 2pm. This will be the third time we’ve reached this stage of the competition, having previously played Everton here at The Pan, and an away trip against Arsenal. But a win tomorrow and we would enter the draw for the final 8 of the competition for the first time.

It promises to be a superb atmosphere at the Pan and a chance to see us go further in the cup than we ever have.

Tickets are available here.

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TONY’S THOUGHTS

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Good afternoon everyone. Going into the game last Saturday at Aveley I said that the team that could deal with each other’s style better would win the game. Unfortunately, that wasn’t us! We didn’t handle their approach in the first half – their first goal was very hard to take as we couldn’t defend a long, high ball into the box and almost gave their centre-forward the goal on a plate. It was disappointing how easy we gave them the goal.

We didn’t defend the ball into the box, we didn’t have any cover around when it was missed. There’s two ways to handle those types of situations – keep replaying it in our minds or learn from it and put steps in place to stop it happening. That’s what we’ve done this week in training – working on the “what if’s”. We can’t expect everyone to get it right so we need to have those contingency plans in place.

I thought we started the game well, got into some really good areas but Aveley grew into the half. Lew made an excellent save before the goal went in but we tried to put it right at the break. I thought we were better in the second half, made their keeper work – it says something that he was given Man of the Match despite them getting all three points. But it was a frustrating game. I know a few people have spoken about the performance of the referee but I don’t want it to come over as the reason why we lost, or give him any more air time. In my decades in the game I’ve rarely seen a performance like that and we will feedback through the appropriate channels. Aveley were better than us on the day – it was a missed opportunity and we are left to reflect on that.

Today we face Billericay Town and I genuinely think this is our hardest home game of the season so far. People may question that based on their league position but when I look at their side, player for player, they should be the best team in the league. There’s quality throughout the side – a full-back who has scored a hat trick for Charlton Athletic and one who has been in the Crystal Palace first team squad just a couple of months ago. Michael Chambers, superb centre-back, Bradley Stephenson a midfielder, former pro at Gillingham who has 17 goals. AJ out wide who has come through the Arsenal ranks, played at Wrexham and so on. They have threats all over the pitch. But for some reason inconsistency has crept in too often, especially away from home where they have been dominated by sides who don’t play the way they do.

But they come here today and know we play a similar style of football, and on one of the best pitches in Non-League football and that’s a massive danger for us because when they are at their best, they can and will beat anyone. So we’ve have prepared hard for what promises to be an unbelievably good game of football – I’m really looking forward to it, it has the makings of a real thriller.

Whilst we lost last week I thought Gondoh, JT and Deon had good games, and of course we got a brief glimpse of Razz near the end too, and got no reaction from his ankle injury, so he will be pushing me for a starting spot today.

Hopefully, we will have a new name on the squad list today. As I write these notes we are looking to tie up a loan deal with a Step 1 midfielder who has real quality about him and will be a massive addition to the team. We are also trying to complete a deal for one further signing who could join us next week. We are trying everything to bring success to the team, and the club, and it won’t be for the want of trying that we don’t succeed.

Keep up the noise and Come on you Rooks!

Tony

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LEWES 1 HORSHAM 1 – TUESDAY 14th FEBRUARY 2023

Lewes were forced to settle for a point against local rivals Horsham at the Pan, as a late equaliser from Lee Harding saw the visitors leave with a 1-1 draw, reports Tom Harper (Pictures: James Boyes).

Tony Russell once again named the same side as the Rooks looked to make it four consecutive wins, and was also able to include Razz Coleman De-Graft on the bench for the first time since the 2nd January as he continued his comeback from injury.

Lewes started the game brightly and came close to taking an early lead through Jamie Mascoll, whose cross-shot from the right was clawed away by former Rooks goalkeeper Taylor Seymour.

The play-off places were firmly in sight for both sides heading into the game and this lead to an open, entertaining encounter for much of the remainder of the half.

The better chances would fall to the visitors, who thought they had taken the lead when Lucas Rodrigues deflected a Doug Tuck half-volley last Lewis Carey, only for the linesman’s flag to cut short the celebrations with Rodrigues deemed to have been offside.

Rodrigues was at the heart of Horsham’s next opportunity, leading an incisive counter-attack that ended with Jack Mazzone steering Bobby Price’s cross from the right against the bar in front of an almost open goal.

The visitors were well on top at this stage, with the dangerous Rodrigues then seeing an effort from the edge of the area deflected just wide of the far post.

Despite finding chances hard to come by, Lewes very nearly took the lead themselves just before the half-hour mark, as Joe Taylor’s glancing header from a Mascoll free-kick drew a smart save from Seymour.

Horsham nearly made the most of this immediately, as Rodrigues forced a corner towards goal and the Lewes defence were only just able to scramble the ball off the line with players queueing up to apply the finishing touch.

Rodrigues was proving a constant threat for the visitors and went close twice in quick succession, seeing a goal-bound strike blocked before his effort on the rebound was superbly saved by Lewis Carey, with Lee Harding then only able to fire the loose ball into the side-netting from a tight angle.

It was therefore slightly against the run of play when Lewes took the lead three minutes before half-time, as Tyrique Hyde picked up the ball in midfield and played a superb slide-rule pass in behind the Horsham defence for Taylor to run onto before chipping it over the onrushing Seymour and into the back of the net.

The early stages of the second half saw Lewes enjoy arguably their most dominant spell of the game, a Taylor cross from the right picking out Deon Moore at the far post, who was denied by Seymour and then dragged a second attempt wide after the visitors had been unable to clear their lines.

The Rooks were dominating possession but finding it difficult to create clear-cut chances against a well-organised Horsham side, who seemed happy to slow the game down at times, knowing they had the attacking quality to cause problems themselves.

They soon came close to an equaliser, as Mazzone dispossessed Will Salmon before playing Daniel Ajakaiye through on goal, with his powerful attempt being saved by Carey, before Mazzone saw his strike on the rebound blocked by the recovering Salmon.

Ajakaiye should arguably have levelled the scores minutes later, but could only place his shot over the bar after a scuffed clearance from Tom Champion fell to him in space in the area.

Lewes felt they were denied a good chance to double their lead midway through the second half, as Taylor went down in the area under a strong challenge that didn’t appear to win the ball, only for the referee to book Taylor for simulation rather than point to the spot.

Horsham continued to push heading into the final 15 minutes, with Jack Strange heading a presentable chance at the far post over the bar.

They weren’t to be denied for much longer though, as good play down the left ended with Rodrigues crossing for Harding to finish at the far post and deservedly level the scores with ten minutes remaining.

There were no chances of note for either side in the closing stages, leaving both to settle for a point on a freezing cold night at the Pan.

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THE FUTURE OF THE MATCHDAY PROGRAMME

“I’m not coming to watch a game at Lewes until you start doing a printed programme again”. You may think that I’ve just made that statement up, but I can assure you it was part of a genuine email I received when we moved to an online progcast five years ago. We’ve had a few more since, and there is always debate on Social Media, predominantly from the “hopping” community who feel that getting a programme, irrespective of quality (but not price funnily enough), is far more essential than the game, the aesthetics of the ground, food, drink or even the weather.

This same group normally have absolutely no idea on the cost to produce one, or the need to have willing volunteers who will dedicate hours to putting something together, only for a referee to call the game off an hour before kick off.

We’ve explained the reasons why we stopped producing our printed programme. The sales per match attendee were around 1 in 4 when I started working on the programme, dropping to around 1 in 8 by the time we called it a day in 2017.

We are not alone. A number of professional clubs have ceased to print a progamme today. Reading, Bolton Wanderers and Millwall to name a few, but it hasn’t always been the case that the programme bought ratio to attendee has always been so low. While special editions such as Arsenal’s farewell to Arsene Wenger sold 100,000 copies, many fans are turning their backs on printed editions, with most clubs reporting that just 10-20% of their attendance now buy them on a matchday.

I stumbled across the above table from the 1972/73 season showing programme sales per game for Chelsea FC. The numbers are staggering – 610,593 sold, with an average of 99 out of 100 fans buying one. Back then their programme sold for 5p, which with inflation would be worth 40p today, meaning the club would have made almost £250k!

We can only dream that we could reclaim such glory again but we will try. Watch this space for me….

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THE PLAYERS

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LEWES VOX POP – MOMENTS OF THE SEASON

As we draw closer to the end of the season, there has been lots of exciting and nerve wracking games, but what has been your stand out moment of the season? Here, in this new segment in the Progcast, we asked Rooks fans via @LewesClamour on Instagram for their thoughts.

“The equaliser against Hornchurch

The first limbs of the season, from a late Taylor goal. A superb comeback against a quality side, along with arguably one of the best atmospheres at the Pan for a while.

“Has to be the 8-0 win over Sheppey, with Joe Taylor’s 5 goals”

After the 2-2 draw away, the Rooks earned a replay in the FA Cup against Sheppey at the Pan just a few days later, where Lewes ran riot, with one of our biggest wins to date.

“Joe Taylor jumping into the crowd against Bognor”

An iconic celebration even by Taylor’s standards to kick start the new year, with an emphatic win against Bognor.

“It’s close, but for me, probably our win against Bishops Stortford at home”

This, along with our away win at Bishops Stortford, were big results for us against top of the league.

“Getting on the bench for the first time vs Bognor! The game was amazing too!”

“He’s one of our own!” Youth team player Archie McGonigle expressed his delight at his involvement in our New Years day game against Bognor.

“When the boys get promoted!”

Former Rooks and now current York City player Ollie Tanner telling us his potential moment of the season. We hope so too!

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ON THIS DAY IN FOOTBALLING HISTORY – 25th FEBRUARY

Results

#1. On this day in 2010, Portsmouth became the first Premier League side to do what?

#2. On this day in 2016, Marcus Rashford made his scoring debut for Manchester United in the Europa League against which Danish club?

#3. On this day in 2004, Bournemouth's James Hayter broke a Football League record when he did what against Wrexham?

#4. On this day in 2001, Manchester United hosted Arsenal in the Premier League. What was the half-time score?

#5. On this day in 2017, The Rooks travelled to South West London to take on Molesey. What was so unusual about the Rooks scorers in the 4-0 win?

Finish
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GUESS THE FORMER ROOK

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INTRODUCING OUR VISITORS FROM BILLERICAY TOWN

THE HISTORY

Billericay Town Football Club was formed in 1880 making it the 11th oldest club in Essex.  It moved into the Romford & District League in 1890 competing in this league until 1914.

After the 1st World War, BTFC entered the Mid-Essex League where they remained until 1947. Between 1947 and 1966 they played in the Southern Essex Combination League.   In 1966 they became founder-members of the Essex Olympian League.

Five years later, in 1971, Billericay Town Football Club became founder-members of the Essex Senior League and the clubs six-year stay in that competition saw them win the Championship three times and be Runners-Up twice (and third the other season). The League Cup was won four times and they were Finalists once.  In addition they won the League Challenge Cup the only time that it was competed for.

Whilst members of the Essex Senior League, the club won the FA Vase in 1976 beating Stamford 1-0 after extra-time at Wembley Stadium. The following season, 1976/1977, the club again reached the FA Vase Final.  After a 1-1 draw at Wembley, the replay was played at Nottingham Forest F.C.  Billericay Town emerged victorious with a 2-1 victory over Sheffield. 

Billericay Town also became the first Non-League club to win the Rothmans Merit Award in 1978 for “having made a worth-while contribution to the wide spectrum of the game in 1977/78” – the only club previously to have won this Award was Liverpool, the previous season, when they were the European champions

Progressing to the Athenian League in 1977, Billericay won the Championship and the League Cup in their first season. They became Champions again in 1978/1979 and were promoted into the Isthmian League.

Billericay Town became the first club to win the F.A.Vase for a third time in 1979 when they defeated Almondsbury Greenway 4-1. This match was notable for a hat-trick by Doug Young – the first hat-trick in a Cup Final at Wembley Stadium since Geoff Hurst`s in the 1966 World Cup Final.

After their success in the Athenian League, Billericay`s league successes continued in the Isthmian League when in their first season they won the Division 2 title with a winning margin of 17 points, scoring 100 goals in their 36 league matches. The following season, in Division 1, they finished as runners-up to Bishops Stortford – the first time in the history of the Isthmian League that a club had won promotion in two successive seasons on entry into the League.

Billericay then had five seasons in the Premier Division before being relegated in 1986. They then spent two years in Division One before again being relegated – this time into Division Two North.

Following re-organisation of the League, Billericay finished in third place in the newly formed Division Two and so gained promotion to Division One. That season, 1991/1992, they finished the season winning the Essex Thames-Side Trophy.

Promotion back to the Premier Division was obtained in 1998. The club finished runner-up in 2004.2005 before losing in the playoffs, they again reached the play-offs in 2006/2007. In what probably ranks as the most remembered game in recent years, Billericay beat local rivals Chelmsford in the semi-finals on penalties in front of a crowd of over 2,000. The final however ended with a less successful penalty shoot out and defeat to Bromley.

In November 2007, the club staged its biggest ever competitive game at New Lodge – reaching the First Round Proper of the FA Cup for the third time, Billericay finally drew league opposition for the first time in the form of Swansea City. The Blues took a first half lead before going down to two late goals.

The 2010/11 season saw much local success. The first team lifted the Essex Senior Cup for the first time in 35 years and the club were in fact triple County winners as the youth development programme was rewarded with the Under 18 and Under 16 sides also winning their respective County Cup competitions. This success was built on in 2011/12 as the club finally secured promotion to the Blue Square Bet South as Ryman League Champions.

However, it proved to be a one season stay, despite a good start, the second half of the season was blighted by poor weather and despite hanging on until the penultimate game, a return to the Ryman league beckoned.

Subsequent seasons have seen the club steadily rebuild itself.  A mid-table finish in 2013/14 was followed in 2014/15 by a respectable 8th place finish in the league.and appearances in the final of the Essex Senior Cup and the semi final of the League Cup. The 2015/16 campaign saw the club enter April in the play-off places, eventually finishing 9th.   .

The club’s profile changed in 2016 with new owners leading a push for the play-offs that just fell just short but Town lifted the League Cup with a record 8-3 victory in the Final. This however provided a springboard to the clubs most successful season ever – runs to the first round proper of the FA Cup and to the last 8 of the FA Trophy were followed by a treble – retaining the Isthmian League, Essex Senior Cup, and finally in the 74th of 75 competitive game, the Isthmian league title to secure promotion.

2018/19 saw the club lead the National League South Division early on in the season and remain in the play-off places all season until the final day where they eventually finished 8th. The club also reached the 1st Round of the F.A.Cup earning a 1-1 draw at Chesterfield before losing the replay 3-1 at New Lodge.

2019/20 saw the club taken over by a consortium of local businessmen. Once again the club reached the first round of the F.A.Cup where they were beaten by League Two side Forest Green at The New Lawn Stadium.

Last season saw the club win the Essex Senior Cup for a fourth time when they beat Bowers & Pitsea 1-0 in the final at Colchester United. However the clubs five year spell in the Vanarama National League South came to an end as they finished bottom of the table and were relegated back into the Isthmian League.

THE SQUAD

MANAGEMENT

DAN BROWN – Appointed manager in May 2022 having previously been caretaker manager on three different occasions. Managed the successful Billericay Town under 23 for two seasons winning the league and two cups during the 2021/22 season. As a player Brown came through the youth ranks at Watford before moving onto Leyton Orient. He was transferred to Barnet spending four seasons there before moving onto Oxford United for two seasons. This was followed by spells at Crawley Town, and Cambridge United. A two year spell at Eastbourne Borough followed where he was club captain before ending his playing days at Harlow Town

ASH GOSS – Ash has been Dan Browns right hand man for the previous two season with the U23 squad. Prior to that he was involved with Old Chelmsfordians in the Essex Olympian League. He has also worked at the West Ham United academy.

PLAYER PROFILES

MONTEL AGYEMANG26 year-old midfielder who signed from Margate in the summer. Started his footballing career at Leyton Orient and was then loaned out to Royston town and Grays Athletic. Other clubs played for include Maldon & Tiptree, East Thurrock United, Wealdstone and Welling United.  

HENRY BURNETT – 24 year old who started his career at Dagenham & Redbridge before moving onto Southend United. The midfielder has also played for Tonbridge Angels, Welling United and Crawley Town

ALFIE CERULLI – 2022 summer signing Alfie joins the club having been at Hemel Hempstead Town last season. As a youngster the striker was with Colchester United before moving on to Braintree Town. He has also played out on loan at Witham Town…

MICHAEL CHAMBERS28 year old 6ft 5 centre half who signed for Billericay Town from National League Bromley in February 2020. Previous clubs include Wrexham, Welling United, Dulwich Hamlet and Crystal Palace. Voted player of the season by the supporters for the 2021/22 season.

MARVEL EKPITETA2021 summer signing from Dover Athletic. The 27 year old centre half has previously played for Macclesfield, Newport County, Ebbsfleet United, Hungerford Town, Chelmsford City, Bishops Stortford and North Greenford United. He has also been capped at under 20’s level by Nigeria.

EZE EBUZOEME – 23 year old midfielder who spent last season at Kingstonian. Began his footballing career at Millwall and then moved on to Hastings United. A move to Spain followed playing for Getafe B but he returned to England playing for Hayes & Yeading, Whitehawk, Eastbourne Borough, Carshalton athletic and Ramsgate.

KAREEM ISIAKA – 21-year-old striker who came through the youth levels at Charlton Athletic before signing for Welling United in October 2020. From there played out in Iceland for UMF Vikingur Olafsvik. Most recently played in the Championship in Scotland for Arbroath.

ANTHONY JEFFREY – 28-year-old pacey winger whose previous clubs include Wrexham, Dover Athletic, Sutton United, Boreham Wood and Wycombe Wanderers. Represented Guyana 5 times during 2019.

HENRY LUKOMBO – 19 year old defender who made his first team debut in the 2-2 draw with St Albans City back in February 2021. Spent some time out on loan last season at Hullbridge Sports and Basildon United

ANDERSON PINTO – 28-year-old attacking midfielder recently signed from Welsh Cymru Premier League side Connah Quay Nomads returns for his second spell at the club having been part of the 2021/22 squad. Previous other clubs include Braintree Town, Europa FC in Gibraltar, Wingate & Finchley, Carshalton Athletic, Hendon & Cheshunt.

DANIEL QUICK –  21-year-old defender who has signed on loan until the end of the season from Premier League Crystal Palace. A regular in the U18’s during the 2020/21 season where Palace missed out on winning the Premier League South on goal difference. Progressed into the U23 side during the 2021/22 season and also made an appearance in the Papa John’s Trophy. In pre-season he featured in the squad that went on tour to Australia and Singapore. In August went out on loan at Dorking Wanderers and made 4 appearances.

HARRY SEADEN – 21 year old goalkeeper who is another summer signing and came through the ranks at Southend United as a youngster. Whilst at Southend he had loan spells at Colchester United, Cambridge City, Great Wakering and Dagenham & Redbridge. Most recently was at Derby County. Has also represented England at under 16 & U17 level, making a total of nine appearances.

BRADLEY STEVENSON – 24 year old midfielder who is another player to have joined the club in the summer. Began his footballing career at Gillingham before going out on loan at Hastings United, Cray Wanderers, Tonbridge Angels and Margate. Has also played for Herne Bay, Chelmsford City and last season was at Welling United.

TOBY STEVENSON – 23 year old defender who signed in the summer having been at the club on loan from National League side Bromley for most of last season. Previous clubs include Leyton Orient, Heybridge Swifts, Dagenham & Redbridge, Charlton Athletic and Watford.

IMRAN UCHE – 23 year old defender / midfielder who signed in October from Harrow Borrow. Previous other clubs include Hampton & Richmond Borough, Egham Town, Farnborough, Northwood and Bedfont Sports.

JOHN UFUAH – 24 year old speedy winger who is another player to have joined the club in the summer. Previously John was with the welsh side Connah Quay Nomads. Other clubs include Merstham, Carshalton Athletic, Leatherhead, Whitstable Town and Margate.

LAWRIE WILSON2020summer signing from Ebbsfleet United. The defender made over 250 appearances in the Football League for Stevenage, Charlton Athletic, Bolton Wanderers and Port Vale scoring 16 goals along the way. This season he is also part of the back room team for the U23 side that play in the Essex Senior League.

GEORGE WIND20 yearold defender who was signed from Bowers United and made his debut for the club back in February 2021. Scored his first goal for the club in last season’s F.A.Cup tie at Braintree Town. Returned to Bowers and Pitsea on loan for a large part of last season but returned for the last few games of the season.   

THE CURRENT FORM

OUR PREVIOUS MEETINGS

24th Sept 2022Isthmian Premier LeagueBillericay Town2Lewes1
8th Mar 2016Isthmian Premier LeagueBillericay Town1Lewes1
25th Sept 2015Isthmian Premier LeagueLewes2Billericay Town3
13th Dec 2014Isthmian Premier LeagueBillericay Town2Lewes2
16th Aug 2014Isthmian Premier LeagueLewes0Billericay Town2
5th Apr 2014Isthmian Premier LeagueLewes1Billericay Town1

OUR LAST MEETING HERE – 25th SEPTEMBER 2015

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THE FIFA RANKINGS UPSIDE DOWN – No. 199 TONGA

Tonga are just a couple of wins away from breaking into the Top 10 ranked sides in the world. Oh, sorry, I was reading the wrong table. If we were talking about Rugby Union then not only could we class the Tongans as a side on the verge of being one of the top ten sides in the world, but also looking forward to a World Cup appearance in six months. But we aren’t. Rugby is the number one sport on the 171 islands that make up Tonga, with football a very poor second spot in popularity.

I know what you are asking…If I moved to Tonga tomorrow, what would the odds be of becoming an international footballer, or a timi soka fakafonua ʻa Tonga, as they say in these parts? Read on before you pack your bags and prepare to make the 33 hour journey to Nuku’Alofa (via Sydney).

Approximately 100,000 people live on the Tongan islands. Based on my recent population stats, 50.1% are male (50,000), 14% are aged between 16 and 34 (7,000), assume 11% of these play football as per UK average (770) and that the national team select from a pool of 30 players means that you have a 1 in 25 chance of making the squad.

In their 24 year history of playing international football, Tonga have only played 13 different countries, beating five of them, including American Samoa 7 times in 9 games, the highlight being in April 2001 when they travelled to Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, for the 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifying tournament. A 1-0 win over Samoa gave the team hope but 2 days later they went heroes to zeros, losing 22-0 to Australia. Not to let one result dampen their trip, they beat American Samoa 5-0 a few days later before they bowed out of the competition with an 8-1 defeat to Fiji.

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AVELEY 2 LEWES 0 – SATURDAY 18th FEBRUARY 2023

A below-par performance saw Lewes fall to a 2-0 defeat at Aveley, reports Tom Harper (Pictures James Boyes and Stuart Fuller).

Tony Russell named an unchanged side, with the Rooks knowing that a win may be enough to take them into the play-off places.

Lewes dominated possession early on, moving the ball quickly as they looked to stretch the Aveley back four, but were unable to call Jonathan North into any meaningful action.

The hosts were seeing less of the ball but always looked dangerous in the final third and created the first clear-cut chance of the game, the ball running through to Manny Ogunrinde in behind, who saw his effort well saved by Lewis Carey.

Ogunrinde went close again later in the half, dragging another presentable chance wide of the far post after being teed up by Garrett Kelly.

Aveley took the lead on 33 minutes, as a free-kick taken from inside their own half evaded everyone before falling to the unmarked George Sykes to finish past Carey and into the bottom corner.

Lewes had their first attempt on goal just before half-time, a Jamie Mascoll free-kick being comfortably helped over the bar by North.

The hosts made a bright start to the second half and were handed a good chance to double their lead within minutes of the restart, as Kenny Aileru was tripped in the penalty area.

Aileru took the spot-kick himself, but saw his effort well saved by Carey low down to his right.

Aveley didn’t have to wait much longer to double their lead though, as Oli Coker fired past Carey from the edge of the area after 55 minutes, with the goal allowed to stand despite what appeared to be a foul on Alfie Young in the build-up.

The hosts then set about managing the remainder of the game, slowing the play down at every opportunity and ensuring Lewes were unable to build up any real spell of pressure as the half progressed.

The Rooks did call North into action heading into the final 20 minutes, with the goalkeeper making smart saves to keep out a Mascoll free-kick and then turn a curling Ryan Gondoh effort round the post.

Lewes were also boosted by the introduction of Razz Coleman De-Graft from the bench late on, but were unable to pull a goal back and set up a tense finale, with Aveley holding on relatively comfortably to record an impressive three points.

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A FRIULI GREAT WAY TO SPEND A MONDAY NIGHT – THE FOOTBALL TOURIST HEADS TO UDINE

Such is the often fragile nature of football finances and associated scandals in Italy, there are few teams that can claim to have had a place in Serie A for more than twenty years. Juventus, Fiorentina, AC Milan and Lazio have all suffered enforce relegations in the last few decades. But one club that has been a constant in the table throughout all of the turmoil is Udinese.

Udinese you say? If we were now playing pointless, I reckon the club would be the best (worst?) answer for that question posed. And how about as a follow-up, where do they actually come from? I’ve seen some shocking videos (ahem) in my time where people have been asked to pin point various famous countries, cities or landmarks. Even some of my work colleges struggle to reference exactly where London is on a map – surely this has the perfect makings of a prime-time TV show? My guess was that from a random sample of 100 people in London, only 5 would be able to successfully locate Udinese on a map – Danny, slightly less forgiving than me, suggested just two.

Of course, Udinese is not a place, it is a football team who play in the city of Udine, the historical capital of the Friuli region, which gives its name to the stadium where the team play. If you were looking at a map of Italy right now, find Venice in the top right corner, trace your finger along the coast to the east, towards the Slovenian border and go north at Palmanova, which is essentially what we had done on Monday.

A beautiful, crisp Monday morning awaited us as we took the short train ride from Mestre into Venice. We hopped on the Water Bus number 1 and sailed down the Grand Canal. It appeared we had stumbled upon “off season” in Venice – a city that welcomes, in varying ways, over 5.5m visitors a year. A chilly Monday in January was as far from peak season as you can get I’d imagine.

Our first stop was naturally the Stadio Pier Luigi Penzo, almost on the furthest tip of Venice and the penultimate stop of the water bus. We skirted the stadium, hoping for a magic door so we could peer inside. The club are famed for their innovative kit designs, and a previous away top had proved the inspiration for Lewes’ current away shirt, a fact I was prepared to use to gain entry into the ground if we had to resort to platitudes. But that wasn’t necessary as Danny found an unlocked portal and we sneaked in and got our fill of pictures, before quietly leaving before we were spotted.

We headed east after a superb lunch among the locals in a tiny side street trattoria, where the two option menu was chalked on the board and there wasn’t a whiff of a tourist (we weren’t classing ourselves as tourists at this point – after all, tourists don’t get to see inside the Stadio Pier Luigi Penzo, do they?), arriving as the sun was setting and the ne’er do gooders, as my Nan would have said, came out to congregate around the railway station. TripAdvisor had suggested, dare I say even advised, not to hang around these parts as, according to SoloTraveller23 “you cannot walk down the street opposite the station without being offered drugs, women or kebabs”. Five minutes after arriving at our hotel, we were on our way.

Wade through the less salubrious streets, past the Irish Bar and you find the heart of Udine, a city of fine architecture, pavement cafes and stylish locals. It’s certainly worth the walk to see that inner beauty. We had no time to sip on espressos, nibble on focaccia or indulge in gelato as we had Monday Night Football, Italian style to enjoy. The only challenge was how to get to the stadium right on the edge of town.

Stadio Friuli, named after the region, opened in 1976 as a typical Italian municipal stadium. The advantage of that was the stadium was built by the local government, the disadvantage was it was 3/4th open to the elements and had a running track. Oh, and it was plonked right on the edge of town, about a 2 1/2 mile walk from anything resembling civilisation.

The stadium hosted three group games in the 1990 World Cup but in these parts, where the winter’s can be bitterly cold – the city is the most northerly in Italy, not too far from the borders with Austria and Slovenia – so having an open air stadium wasn’t exactly fan friendly. In 2013 the stadium underwent a huge redevelopment that saw the three open air stands demolished, the famous curved main stand upgraded and the dreaded athletics track removed. In January 2016 work was complete and the ground was renamed as the Dacia Arena.

Having taken more than a reasonable amount of wrong terms on our walk, we finally arrived and did the customary “window shopping” of the merchandise stands outside the ground. Either the Udinese fans were fickle or it was the trend in these parts to buy merchandise for a host of other clubs when you came to a game. Inter, Milan, Juve, Roma and Lazio scarves were on sale, but not quite as bizarre as in the official club shop where they had Bolton Wanderers, Welsh Rugby and Hellas Verona, tonight’s opposition, shirts on sale.

The stadium is certainly impressive, using the different coloured, random seat formation, which apparently makes the crowds look bigger on TV. The home fans had taken up their position in the Curva Nord and were already firing up the tunes when we got into the ground. Panini had once again gone large, with people giving out thousands of albums for their new Calciatori collection, which you would imagine would end up on the pitch at some point if the performance was not to the satisfaction of the fans.

Despite their position towards the bottom of the table, it was the visitors who started off on the front foot. Within 5 minutes Danny and I had used up all of the Kevin Lasagna, Verona’s striker, jokes and the away side had taken the lead, through an own goal. But that was as good as it got for them. Udinese, sitting in that no man’s land of 7th place in Serie A, leading a pack of six teams who will ultimately fall just short of a European place, dominated the remaining 86 minutes, peppering the Verona goal and finally got their equaliser in the 21st minute through Lazar Samardžić. But they simply couldn’t find a way through the stoic Verona defence to find the winner.

With the temperatures dropping below zero, the 1,000 or so Hellas fans fired up some flares near the end to warm themselves up, celebrating a good point for the team in their fight against relegation. We headed outside to the bus stop which depending on which website you believed may have had a bus running back to the station at 11pm or one at 7am the following morning. A small group of fans were already there, which was a good sign, but then a people carrier arrived and 6 of them piled in it. We nervously checked our watches, scanning the road and just as we were at the point of resigning ourselves to another long, error-strewn walk back to our hotel a bus arrived. Job done, we had conquered football tourism in another city.

How to get to Udine: Fly to Venice from the UK from multiple airports. Most budget airlines now serve Marco Polo airport, whilst Ryanair also offer routes to Treviso. From Venice airport get one of the two local buses that depart from outside departures to Mestre (about 20 mins) then a train (there’s ones every 30 minutes) to Udine which takes around 90 minutes. Alternatively, you can fly to Trieste with Ryanair, although this isn’t a daily service) and get the train direct from the airport to Udine – a journey of around 30 minutes.

How to get to the Dacia Arena: The ground is a long walk out of town – allow yourself at least an hour from the historic centre of Udine. Alternatively, bus number 9 runs irregularly from the train station to the ground in around 15 minutes. You can buy tickets from vending machines at the station or onboard. On your way back wait at the bus stop outside Curva Nord.

How to get a ticket for the Dacia Arena: Bar the games against AC, Inter and Juventus, buying a ticket for a game isn’t problematic. With a capacity of over 25,000 and average attendances around 20,000 tickets can be bought in advanced from the club website, with prices starting from €15 in the Curve Nord. There’s a walkway across the top of the seats in this area meaning you can get a great feel for being in the Ultras without actually being in among the chaos and mayhem. You need to bring ID with you (passport, driving licence, UK Parachuting club pass) and they are checked on entry.

Where to stay: Udine has some nice parts and some that you don’t really want to explore. The price of hotels reflects this split. If you simply need a room for the night for the football then the Hotel Principe opposite the station is cheap (£50 for a night) and ticks the basic boxes. If you want a little more luxury then the Astoria Hotel in Piazza XX Septembre will be a vote winner at £120 a night.

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PLAYER SPONSORSHIP

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 Shrey@lewesfc.com.

PLAYERSPONSORPLAYERSPONSOR
Lewis CareySusie ArlettTyrique Hyde
Jamie MascollMichael KennardRyan GondohDave Lamb
Alfie YoungRhys Murrell-WilliamsonTrevor Norwood
Ryley ScottHarvey Walker
Tom ChampionTom, Alice & Russ MouldRazz Coleman De-GraftThe Ouze
Will SalmonMichael McDowellDeon Moore
Johnville ReneeDave LambJoe TaylorStuart Fuller
Ayo OlukogaRyan BusbyFraser Middleton-Tozer
Bradley PritchardThe English Soap CompanyFinley Jenkins
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IAN TOWNSEND’S ISTHMIAN LEAGUE ROUND-UP

Our leaders, Bishop’s Stortford, travelled to Essex to take on a shellshocked Bowers & Pitsea. Bowers were three-nil up at Wingate & Finchley in midweek with eight minutes to go, and somehow contrived to lose four-three- a result which left them only a point above the bottom four having played more matches than the two sides directly below them. Stortford had a two point lead at the top, and had won six of their last seven- and the Blues went ahead six minutes before the break, an own goal doing the damage for the hosts. That turned out to be the only goal of the game, and it ensured that Stortford held onto that two point lead- and made it three wins in a row against Bowers- whilst their hosts fall into the relegation places.

Enfield Town had the difficult task of travelling to sixth place Canvey Island. The Towners, despite having the best away record in the Division, were hammered five-one on the Island in the FA Cup, and fell behind on fifty seven minutes, Joe Paxman opening the scoring after a pass from Evans Kouassi- who has tormented the Towners this season, scoring a hat trick in that cup win. The Gulls were two up within four minutes, Bradley Sach with his seventeenth of the campaign after another Kouassi assist, and when Rob Girdlestone made it three seven minutes from time it was game over for the visitors. Canvey are up to fifth, a point behind their now fourth place opponents.

Hornchurch, six points behind the leaders with two games in hand, saw Herne Bay arrive Bridge Avenue. The Urchins were three unbeaten, although surprisingly could manage only a draw at relegation-fighters Corinthian-Casuals in midweek- but they were quickly ahead in this one, Ellis Brown getting the breakthrough on thirteen minutes. They were two up just before the half hour, Sam Higgins with that one- his twenty fifth of the season- but the visitors halved the arrears soon afterwards through Marcel Barrington. The two goal advantage was restored for the hosts just before the break, Ade Yusuff with his second goal for his new club, and Higgins added a fourth just after the hour mark before claiming his hat trick three minutes from time. Five-one was the final score, Hornchurch up to third.

Cray Wanderers, in fifth as we kicked off, were on the road to the side three places and three points behind them, Hastings United. The hosts had won their previous three matches and defeated Cray with a Ben Pope goal back in September, and the same player put them ahead on eighteen minutes. We ended with the same outcome as the September encounter, Hastings up to seventh, Wands ahead of them only on goal difference.

Carshalton Athletic started the day only three points away from a play off spot, and ended with the same margin despite victory. The Robins were on the road to Margate, and went ahead midway through the first half, Tommy Bradford with his third of the campaign. That turned out to be that, Carshalton eighth, Margate sixteenth.

Horsham welcomed miraculous Wingate & Finchley to the Camping World Community Stadium. The Blues knew they would need to be at their best to defeat a Hornets side who had lost only one of their last ten, but two minutes from time, with the game goalless, they were awarded a penalty. Sadly for the away fans Taylor Seymour saved it, and then the ball was sent to the other end, Shamir Fenelon opening the scoring for the Hornets. There was also time for Tom Richards to convert a penalty and somehow make it two-nil, his side ending the day in tenth place.

Billericay Town had slipped to eleventh place after four defeats from their last five, and hoped to begin climbing back up the table as they welcome Haringey Borough. The Blues went ahead with the first Premier goal of the afternoon, Michael Chambers scoring it after eight minutes, and they doubled their advantage when Kareem Isiaka got the second of the afternoon seven minutes before the break. Bradley Stevenson delighted most of the eight hundred and seventy one watching on with a third soon after the restart, although Ben Allen gave the visitors something to cling on to, getting a goal back from the spot with thirty two minutes remaining, but that was that. Billericay eleventh, Borough fifteenth, and a third win for the Blues between the two this season.

Folkestone Invicta welcomed Corinthian-Casuals to the Kent coast. Casuals had failed to defeat Invicta in their previous SIXTEEN attempts, a run going right back to December 2011, and they fell behind eight minutes before half time, Ian Gayle with the opener. Ibrahim Olutade added another twenty minutes from time, and when he added a third a minute from time it seemed that was that- only for Casuals to immediately pull two goals back, Finlay Lovatt and Nathaniel Pinney making the last seconds interesting. Invicta are twelfth, whilst Casuals sink to the bottom despite their efforts.

Bognor Regis Town welcome a Kingstonian side desperate for a win. The K’s had lost their previous last five, and had only one win from ten, but they went ahead at Nyewood Lane, Imran Kayani with his first K’s goal in his second match. Bognor hit back through Dan Gifford just after half an hour, but almost immediately Alex MacAllister, on his debut, restored away advantage. Kayani added a third from the spot twenty minutes from time, and right at the end Ibrahim Jalloh made it four, which meant that Nathan Odokonyero’s late goal for Bognor had made no difference to the outcome. K’s leap out of the bottom four as a consequence.

Bottom side Brightlingsea Regent welcomed Potters Bar Town, and neither side could manage a goal.

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ON THE ROAD TO….HORNCHURCH – SAT 4th MARCH

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 £12 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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THE 2022/23 ISTHMIAN PREMIER LEAGUE SEASON

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THE ONLY WAY IS ESSEX FOR THE STODGEBUSTERS

Another Saturday and another expedition for the Stodgebuster boys. This time it would be the trip to sample the culinary delights of a gastronomic establishment in Bowers and Pitsea, and then watch Lewes (hopefully) win. Public transport to this game was possible by train and tube to Upminster, another train to Basildon and then a bus to the ground. This would be approaching thirty quid each, slightly less for the old codgers with bus passes, and take so long we would probably need another shave by the time we got there. We debated this option for about two seconds before Steve offered to drive us to the game. It would have been tempting fate to try the train option with Treasurer Al in the party considering the detrimental effect he tends to have on train punctuality. We also had to consider those of us in the group who had a hot date that evening. Hats off though to the Rooks fans who did go entirely by public transport whose journey was at least twice as long each way as ours.

We all met up at Roly’s Park and Ride in Polegate at 11.30 and got comfortable in Steve’s Chelsea Tractor for the impending journey. And it is comfortable. Three Stodgebusters fit quite easily across the back seats with plenty of elbow room even with Roly taking up a lot of the room. It’s also very good at dealing with one of our pet hates. Potholes. Honestly, some of the roads en-route were akin to driving on the moon.

The original plan was to stop in Uckfield for an early stodge break at either the excellent Café 212 or the equally excellent Courtyard as there looked like slim pickings at Bowers. However, “RobM” had posted on the forum about a couple of cafes in Pitsea. They looked promising and would be somewhere new for us to try. After a quick straw poll, we decided to give that a punt.

Gary had supplied Fox’s Glacier Fruits for the journey, and we were all feeling pretty confident about getting a result. Lewes were on a roll and scoring for fun. Bower’s position in the league would suggest Lewes would have too much for them. Mind you, we said the same about Herne Bay and that didn’t go very well.

The journey was a doddle. Even the infamous Dartford tunnel couldn’t hold us up.

With a bit of help from Google maps we rolled into a big car park in Pitsea barely 90 minutes plus injury time later. This looked good. From across the car park we could see the Rose Café and those three smashing little words we all love: All Day Breakfast. If the Rose Cafe proved fruitless there was the Market Café and Station Café all within a stone’s throw of each other. Stodgebuster heaven! There was even a busy market on which we could have a stroll around afterwards. Apart from having that awful seating where the seats and tables are all in one the Rose Café looked ideal, so we looked no further and piled in. The menu was probably the most extensive we have ever seen. OK, it wasn’t recommended by that Gordon Blue geezer but there was everything we liked on it. Breakfasts, Grills, Lunches, Dinners, Burgers, Desserts. If they didn’t have it you probably wouldn’t want it. So much choice almost made it difficult. It was also very reasonably priced too. Cheaper than what we usually pay, which isn’t necessarily a good thing, but we figured they did a lot of trade with the market outside to help keep prices down. Five cups of tea turned up while we tried to decide what we were having.

PJ went for a plateful of double egg, chips and beans at £4.50. What a bargain. It was a plateful too. Roly and Steve went for omelettes, with varying contents, and chips. The omelettes were a very impressive size. Gary plumped for a full English, complete with bubble and squeak, for a tenner. Alan chose a liver and onion dinner. One has to say it was all pretty good and there was nothing left over apart from an odd crispy chip or two. We gave it an eight-point-five on the Stodge-o-meter.

Substantially heavier, with belts let out a notch, and still with an hour until kick off, we thought we would have a walk around the market stalls and sniff out a bargain. What an astonishing array of goods on sale. There were dozens of Rolex watches for sale. Now call us cynical if you like, but at only £25 each we were slightly suspicious of whether they were genuine Rolex or not as that’s quite a mark down from what they usually fetch. At least £30k down we reckon. There was a myriad of other items too. UGG boots, Dolce and Gabbana this, Chanel that. Premiership football shirts for a tenner that were fully guaranteed until washed. There was every designer label you could think of. They even had some Kalvin Clein (?) underwear. All that was missing was Arthur Daley and Terry unloading boxes of Korean Scotch Whisky, water damaged umbrellas or fire damaged woks from a rusty old Transit van. Or Del Boy with his suitcase. Seriously though, Essex Trading Standards would have had to set up camp for the whole day to deal with it all. They would have had a field day. So, what did we buy you ask? Well, not a lot. One has to get up early to catch us out. We saw through the Rolex ruse so steered clear. Roly bought some Double Deckers and Yorkie bars for half time munchies that had zero chance of remaining unopened until half time, while Al purchased three bags of mealworms from a pet food stall. Yes, seriously. Who would have though he was a twitcher?

It was only a five minute drive to the ground. We were in with half an hour to spare to spend having some banter with all the usual suspects. Once again there was a very good turnout of Rooks supporters for an away game. Some estimates put it at about ninety. We can remember the days when we didn’t get that many at The Pan. Even with that number of Rooks fans the total attendance still only turned out to be a paltry 160 and it beggars the question again about how clubs survive on gates that low. No wonder the Golden Goal prize was only £12.50 which, incidentally, was won by a Lewes lad.

Still no Razz. Not even on the bench. So, Tony named an unchanged team from the Kingstonian game. Recent Rook TQ Addy was in the Bowers line up. We liked him and it was shame he left. Lewes started like a house on fire and were handed a great chance to take the lead when Deon Moore was fouled in the area. Now we are obviously a bit biased but even though we were inordinately happy about the decision we still thought it was rather soft. The Bowers defenders certainly thought so and hotly disputed it. Why bother? The referee isn’t going to change his mind. Anyway, up stepped Joe and……..…saved. It wasn’t a great penalty. Sidefooted along the ground and too far inside the post. He relied on sending the keeper the wrong way, but the keeper read it and dived right for a comfortable save. “Oh, deary me” and similar utterances could be heard amongst the Lewes contingent. But maybe justice was done. It wasn’t long before Lewes took the lead though. Some lovely passing and a low cross found Deon Moore at the far post after a quarter of an hour, and he made no mistake. It had been coming. Lewes were all over Bowers. The gulf in quality was apparent. However, for all their dominance Lewes couldn’t really test the keeper again. The final pass wasn’t there, or a reluctance to have a shot, or a defender annoyingly getting in the way when they did have a pop. Lewes got a warning when Addy hit the bar with a header. One up at half time but it should have been more. We hoped we wouldn’t pay for it.

Five minutes into the second half a Bowers cross from their left somehow found its way to the far post where the recipient gleefully accepted an easy finish. How did that happen? It’s never easy to see from the other end but it looked like there might have been some indecision between defence and keeper. One all when we had been so much in the ascendency. We didn’t fret too long though. A brilliant passage of passing out from the back culminated with Hyde doing a perfect one-two with Joe in the area and passing the ball into the net. The game continued with Lewes having the vast majority of possession without making much in the way of chances. But with about 15 minutes to go a very dangerous cross into the six-yard area from Deon Moore was lashed into his own net by a defender facing the wrong way. Nice finish, but with Joe lurking just behind him he had to try and clear it. Three-one. That’s it. Game over. But this is Lewes we are talking about. We don’t seem to do things easy. With about eight minutes left Bowers had possession uncomfortably close to our goal. All we saw was a shot which seemed to go under a diving Carey. The last few minutes were a bit nervy, but we never looked in danger of conceding another. But stranger things have happened, and someone just had to mention Potters Bar didn’t they?

But Lewes saw out the game for a 3-2 victory. It looks close on paper, but it should never have been that close. Lewes were far and away the better team and the result should have been more emphatic. We are not complaining though. The points are all that count, and it put us into sixth position. Well done lads.

It was a happy car on the way home. What a splendid day out it had been. Roll on Tuesday when we face Horsham at the Pan. That would surely be a sterner test.

The Stodgebusters will return at Aveley.

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TODAY’S TEAMS

Will appear here around 2:15pm

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THE ISTHMIAN LEAGUE COMMERCIAL PARTNERS

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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 Willa Bailey, Tim Bradshaw, Ed Briggs, Scott Currie, Stuart Fuller, Andy Gowland, Lucy Mills, John Peel, Trevor Wells
Chief Executive Officer Maggie Murphy
Club Secretary John Peel
Fan Engagement Manager Shrey Nilvarna
Youth Secretary Ryan Sullivan
Operations Manager James Barker
Communication Manager Jack Towers
Commercial Manager Steph McLaughlin

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

Golden Rook Rob Read
Web Editor Stuart Fuller
Progcast Editor Stuart Fuller and Stan Lahood
Club Photographer James Boyes

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NEXT UP AT THE PAN

SATURDAY 11th MARCH 2023 3PM KICK OFF

ENFIELD TOWN

THE ISTHMIAN PREMIER LEAGUE

TICKETS ON SALE NOW

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TODAY’S QUIZ ANSWERS

  1. With debts of around £70m Portsmouth became the first Premier League club to enter administration and so later suffered a 9 point deduction. Pompey played in the 2010 FA Cup final as a Premier League club but after a succession of owners and two more points deductions because of financial problems by 2013 they were in League 2.
  2. Rashford made his first-team debut for the Reds against FC Midtjylland in the Europa League. He only got into the side because team-mate Anthony Martial injured himself in the pre-match warm-up but proceeded to score 2 goals in United’s 5-1 victory.
  3. Bournemouth’s James Hayter scored the quickest hat-trick in Football League in a 6-0 Division 2 victory over Wrexham at Dean Court. Brought on as a substitute with only six minutes remaining he scored a hat-trick in just 2 minutes 20 seconds. His parents and brother were at the match but 10 minutes before the final whistle and with no sign that James would make an appearance they left early to catch a ferry back to their home in the Isle of Wight and so missed the history-making achievement.
  4. Man Utd were 5-1 up at half-time thanks to goals from Dwight Yorke (a hat trick within the first 22 minutes), Roy Keane and Ole Gunner Solskjaer. United went on to win 6-1.
  5. The Rooks won 4-0 thanks to goals from Jonte Smith, James Hammond (x2) and Jamie Brotherton – all of whom have christian names starting with the letter J.
  6. Guess the Former Rook answer – Danny Cullip