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

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Credit: Doyle


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notes from the chair

Welcome back.  Missed us?  Of course you have. So let’s get going on season 2023/24.

Firstly, a big welcome to our friends from Cray Wanderers and we hope they enjoy our hospitality.  The club, London’s oldest in case you didn’t go, are on my doorstep in South-East London and have some very exciting plans on the horizon with their Flamingo Park development.  They came close to promotion last season, edging us out on the final day of the season by two goals, then taking play-off favourites Hornchurch to extra-time in an enthralling semi-final before losing by the odd goal in five.

The summer months are the busiest for the club, especially the last couple of weeks in the run up to the start of the season.  I know from the outside it may seem like nothing is going on, but I can assure you that it has been one of the most hectic, but productive, pre-seasons we have been through.

On the playing side, we have effectively rebuilt our first team squad.  We knew we would lose some players, and we wish all of those who have departed all the best for the future.  We had prepared for some of those gaps in the squad and had already done our research, with the core of the new squad identified and signed before we started pre-season training in June.  I’d like to welcome our new players and hope they enjoy their time with us here at Lewes.

We always have to expect the unexpected in football.  As part of our commitment to bringing our Men’s and U18s teams closer together, and now that the new pitch has bedded in, we decided to train back at The Pan once a week with our pathway team.  Unfortunately, this additional travel commitment for Joe Taylor was too much based on his personal and work circumstances and he made a request to move last week. We received an approach from Ramsgate, and coinciding with identifying that Tommy Wood was available, we moved quickly to complete the deal.  I appreciate that some fans may be unhappy with this, but first and foremost, we look after the interests of the player and the squad – that’s the type of club we are.

On the commercial side, we’ve had a couple of really positive developments.  First and foremost, we welcome Nike and Kitlocker as our new technical equipment providers.  We had a great relationship with Kappa, and some memorable kits, but our Nike deal will give us greater visibility, and with Kitlocker we have already launched our online shop.  The two brands join Lyle & Scott, Curve and SumUp in our strong commercial partnership line up.  Huge kudos and thanks to Stef, our Commercial Manager, and Maggie, for masterminding these deals.

I hope the news of our forthcoming foray into Europe will have come as a pleasant surprise to many.  I’ve been working with the competition organisers since the end of last season’s tournament and was very pleased to be able to put Lewes forward.  We will face FC Oslo and KSK Beveren.  Whilst firm dates have not yet been agreed for the fixture, it is likely we will kick off the competition in October against the Norwegians.  Keep an eye out for the exact dates and our travel guide.

One thing you won’t fail to notice coming into the ground today are the new seats in the Main Stand.  Well, not quite new as they were previously found in Club Wembley.  Ed Briggs answered a call from the FA as to whether any club would be interested in them as they replace them and he mobilised a team, led by Terry Morton and a band of heavy lifters to go to Wembley a few times and pick the seats up and bring them back.  That was the easy part – the last two months has seen a team of volunteers and Damian, our new Facilities Manager, remove the old ones and bolt the new one down. A herculean job and our huge thanks go to everyone who has helped on this project so far.

Finally, a big thank you to Stan Lahood, aka Lewes Clamour, who has agreed to take over this progcast this season. Please give it and him your support through the season.

Come on you Rooks!


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tony’s thoughts

What a summer that was!

We planned to keep 70/80% of the squad and build on our great form after Christmas. However, that plan quickly came apart as player after player left the club. For all different reasons, but the fallout left us with a lot of hard work to do over the summer. So we are back to one in terms of them understanding how we want the team to play. It has been a tough pre-season where we used the games to look at lots of players. We signed the last player 2 hours before Thursday’s session, which tells you how close it came down to. I first sat with this player in May, so I was delighted our patience paid off, and we got the player we wanted. So the team is now in place, but we haven’t done much work with them, so it will be a testing first 4-5 weeks, that’s for sure. All we can do is work as hard as we can to speed the process up.

Last night we trained for nearly 3 hours working on shape and patterns. Now, I know maybe only half will land with the group at this stage, but after the first few games, I will be able to identify what areas need the most work on. So it might not flow how it did last season for a few weeks, but I really like this group, and I think we can do some good things in time with them. We are blessed with a great fan base who have always been so supportive of the players, but this first month or so, I’m going to need you more than ever. The likelihood is we will only have one max two players starting who were with us last season & with three unavailable through suspensions and injuries, it makes the game even harder. We have some really exciting players and, as always, 2-3 excellent young lads who I can’t wait to work with and develop. It makes the game harder because we are playing a top side with a top manager. Cray did really well last season and have added even better players to their team, so I’m sure they will be up there come the end of the season. We are going to have to play really well to get something, but it’s a challenge I’m looking forward to, and so should the players. I enjoy coming up against good managers, and players and Cray have both, so let’s get behind the players and show the new players our club’s greatest asset you the fans.

Come on you Rooks!

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Chris Whelpdale

CAM – Eastbourne Borough

Arthur Penney

CB – Millwall

Ronnie Vint

CB – Dulwich Hamlet

Keiran Murtagh

CM – Dartford

Jake Elliot

RB – Hastings

Deshane Dalling

LW – Free Agent

Tommy Wood

ST – Tonbridge Angels

Alfie Egan

CM – Dorking

Kalvin Lumbombo-Kalala

LW – Dartford

Harvey Hughes

LB – Blackpool

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Introducing Our Visitors


Chair: Gary Hillman

Manager: Neil Smith

Assistant Manager: Tim O’Shea

Goalkeeping Coach: Alfie George

Kit Man: Paddy Gray


  • Cray play their home games at Bromley’s ground, Hayes Lane
  • A new ground was approved by Bromley Council in 2018 at Flamingo Park, in Sidcup
  • Cray were founded in 1860. The first origins of Cray Wanderers are linked to the construction of the London, Chatham & Dover railway line during 1858 to 1860. During their leisure time, migrant workers kicked a ball around, and that is how the club originated in the St Mary Cray village.
  • In 08/09, Cray’s promotion to the Ryman Premier League was the highest level of football the club has played at since the war.
  • Cray won the Isthmian South-East after a 15 game unbeaten run at the start of the season, managed by our current manager, Tony Russell, along with former Rooks players, such as Joe Taylor and Tom Carlse.
  • The move to the new ground is taking shape and grass pitches were laid for Cray Wanderers youth sides to play on while the main stadium is being built and the club are playing football at what will be their new home, and with 30+ youth teams including for the first time, girls football, and the launch of a new academy side the future is bright for Cray.
  • Record attendance: 2160 vs Leytonstone (FA Amateur Cup, 1969)
  • Biggest Win: 15–0 vs Sevenoaks, 1894–95
  • Biggest Defeat: 1–11 vs Bromley, 1920–21
  • Biggest Isthmian League Win: 9–1 vs, Ashford United 2017–18
  • Biggest Isthmian League Defeat: 3–9 vs Kingstonian, 2012–13


Archy Taylor 
Cameron Black 
Jack Holland 
Jamie Mascoll
Tom Penfold

Yahya Bamba 
Rio Campbell 
Mitch Chapman
Nyren Clunis
Anthony Cook
David Ijaha
Frankie Raymond
Reggie Rye
Mason Saunders-Henry
Sam Wood

Tom Derry
George Porter
Cameron Thompson


Nyren came through the Dulwich Hamlet youth system and made his league debut in 2009 and went on to make an impressive 486 appearances for Hamlet scoring 117 goals and was part of two promotion winning sides and a former player of the year. Nyren made 38 appearances last season for Cray, and finished the season in top form and scored 8 goals.


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Credit: Doyle
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A European football tournament for ‘cult’ non-professional teams sounds right up Lewes’s street, and thanks to the initiative of Chairman Stuart Fuller, the Rooks will be one of 12 men’s teams competing for the Fenix Trophy this season.

The competition is an invitation only event for European non-professional teams with a community purpose, and Lewes will be joining Enfield Town and FC United of Manchester as England’s representatives, along with teams from Romania, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Wales, the Czech Republic, Poland and France.

Lewes have been drawn in a 3 team group with FC Oslo and KSK Beveren, so supporters can look forward to some exciting away days in Norway and Belgium, as well as hosting these teams and their supporters for the return fixtures. Group winners will compete the semi-finals and final, which last year took place on the same day at the legendary San Siro stadium in Milan. We might not quite manage to fill the San Siro if we get to the finals, but the experience promises to be a memorable one for players, staff and fans.

Details of Lewes’s fixtures will be announced in due course.

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Credit: Doyle
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vox pop

where will we finish

and why?

“I don’t think there a question more difficult to answer than this!! It could be anything.. Not expecting a really fast start but fluidity will come week on week as players spend more time with the manager. Stronger 2nd half of season than first half I’d say” – Sam Luis

“Mid table, budget has been spoken about a lot and lost a lot of players, hope I’m wrong though!” – Ollie Audis

“Top 5 as a minimum, losing JT might not be as big a hit as we think” – Harvey Lock

“1st because we’re the Rooks” – Tom

“I’d love to say top 6 but I am a little worried with the incomings and outgoings, but I’ll be there!! – Kelvin

“5th. Losing JT is a huge blow but will allow the team to play to different strengths and I think that will benefit in the long term. May be a slow start though!” – Fergus

“I think/hope we’ll finally make the playoffs this season! – Mike

“I think we are due a playoff finish. 3rd time’s a charm after all. I think despite losing JT, we’ve made some smart signings. Have got total faith in Tony Russell to get us there, despite the financial competition.” – Joe

“Tough call. Looking at how some of the clubs in our division have spent money, you’d expect this to be as tough a season as any in recent times. I do think Tony and Joe have a plan. It may take a few games to shake that down. Top 5 for me.” – Ash Head

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It was a mixed night for our clubs in the Extra Preliminary Round of the FA Cup. Here’s what happened- with wins for Ashford Town, Ipswich Wanderers, Ascot Utd, Burgess Hill Town, Westfield and Witham Town

A few of our clubs saw their matches on Saturday postponed, so kicked off their campaigns last night. Amongst them were Ashford Town, who saw a Nathan Rogers goal give them victory over AFC Uckfield despite a late red card for Ross McKernan; whilst Ipswich Wanderers fared even better as Histon finally came to call, goals from Teon Leggett and Jamie Eton-College Eaton-Collins (2) earning them a fine three-nil win.

Onto the replays.

Ascot United fell behind against Ardley United five minutes after half time, but quickly hit back, Harvey Killeen and Brendan Matthews delivering a two-one win within the next ten minutes; whilst Burgess Hill Town defeated Sutton Common Rovers by the same scoreline. Kieron Pamment opened the scoring midway through the first half, Aaron Jenkins levelled nine minutes after the break, and Rob O’Toole did what he does best, delivering a winner for the hosts sixteen minutes from time. Image courtesy of Chris Neal.

Three Bridges sadly departed two-nil at Crawley Down Gatwick, whilst Westfield went two down in the first ten minutes at Fisher, picked themselves up, and hit five in reply. Jake Baxter scored the first and the last, Didi Ndombe the second and fourth, and Mayowa Adaje the one in the middle.

Jersey Bulls defeated Sittingbourne two-nil at Woodstock Park, and Chipstead fell four-one at Peacehaven & Telscombe, Bradley Wilson with the one.

Jeffrey Cobblah got the only goal of the game as Witham Town defeated St Panteleimon.

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With our Isthmian League campaign done and dusted, our intrepid Chair headed north of the border for another Football Tourist adventure.

Bonnyrigg Rose 3 Elgin City 0 – Saturday 6th May 2023 3pm – Scottish League Two – New Dundas Park, Bonnyrigg

Whilst the calls for the National League in England to become League Three, and an additional promotion and relegation spot awarded, it is still easier for a team at Step 5 to be promoted to Step 4.

The National League has a dearth of former Football League sides in, some on their way down (Scunthorpe United and Torquay United for instance will be playing at step 6 next season), whilst others are very much on the up – Wrexham and Notts County’s titantic battle for promotion this season showing the rude health and benefit of a spell outside the Football League. But in Scotland it is still very much a closed shop.

Currently, only one side is potentially relegated from the SPFL structure come the end of the season. Potentially, because whoever finished bottom of League Two has a second (and third) chance with a two-legged play-off against the side that emerges victorious from the Champions play-off between the Highland and Lowland Leagues.

In recent years there has been some notable successes of teams coming up and carrying on the momentum. FC Edinburgh, Cove Rangers and Kelty Hearts have all won subsequent promotions, having replaced sides like East Stirlingshire, Brechin City and Berwick Rangers. But this season has been slightly more challenging for Bonnyrigg Rose who replaced Cowdenbeath a year ago.

With just two games to go, Bonnyrigg were one of three sides that could still finish bottom. Having been bottom of the league for 10 games in the early part of 2023, the climbed off the foot of the table, only to return to it in the second to last game after bottom side Albion Rovers took an unlikely lead at East Fife. Fortunately, the home side turned it around in the second half but it still meant that they had to beat Elgin City, themselves one of three sides that could have been relegated, on the final day of the season to be sure of safety.

Whilst there would be some eyes and ears on Albion Rovers home game against Champions Stirling Albion, the maths were simple enough. Three points and it didn’t matter what happened elsewhere.

Despite a challenging first season in the SPFL, the fans had flocked to New Dundas Park, with an average attendance of over 900 during the season. Over 2,000 arrived for the visit of Elgin City, more than at any game in League’s One and Two.

The first half was tense. The home side couldn’t afford to make a mistake, so were relatively cautious in their approach. A goal-less first 45 minutes in both their game and the one at Albion Rovers didn’t help settle any nerves in the crowd. One goal in either game could decide the fate of the season and fortunately that goal came in the 49th minute, when striker Keiran McGachie hooked in a loose ball from a corner to give Rose the lead. Three minutes later Albion Rovers took the lead.

On the hour mark the game, and Bonnyrigg’s fate was sealed. McGachie was on had to turn the ball home from 12 yards and celebrated as if he had won the cup final, ripping off his shirt and parading in front of the covered terrace. Rose were staying up. Albion scored a second but it was irrelevant. Gray added a third for Rose and they would be dancing in the streets of Bonnyrigg for days to come.

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You can sponsor the player of your choice, subject to availability, for the 2023/24 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

Chris Whelpdale
Jake ElliotAlfie Egan
Ronnie VintDeon Moore
Will SalmonDeshane Dalling
Arthur PenneyRyan Gondoh
Harvey HughesKeiran Murtagh
Archie TamplinKalvin Kalala
Ayo OlukogaArchie McGonigle
Bradley PritchardTommy Wood
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#1. On this day in 1996, which current Premier League club sacked that manager after just 47 matches in charge?

#2. On this day in 1995, Swansea City's keeper Roger Freestone became the first goalie to do what in the season?

#3. On this day in 1976, Fulham signed which legendary player?

#4. On this day in 1991, the League Cup tie between Torquay United and Portsmouth was postponed on police advice. Why?

#5. On this day in 2015, the Rooks hosted Metropolitan Police in our first home game of the season. Who scored our goal in the 2-1 defeat?

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Lewes narrowly missed out on the play-offs by just two goals, despite a Razz Coleman De-Graft hat-trick helping the Rooks to a superb 3-1 win at Canvey Island on the final day of the season, reports Tom Harper.

Tony Russell made two changes to the side that beat Haringey Borough 4-0 in their previous game, with Rhys Murrell-Williamson replacing the suspended Deon Moore and Archie Tamplin coming into the side in place of Alfie Young, who picked up an injury in the warm-up.

The Rooks knew coming into the game that they needed to win and hope for a Cray Wanderers defeat at Haringey in order to make the play-offs, and they made a bright start, with both De-Graft and Murrell-Williamson going close with efforts from distance early on.

The first clear-cut opportunity of the game fell to the hosts though, who saw Evans Kouassi narrowly miss the target with only Lewis Carey to beat.

Lewes nearly made the most of this let-off immediately, as Carey’s goal-kick found Joe Taylor in behind the Canvey defence, but his attempted lob landed on the roof of the net.

The Rooks took the lead on 24 minutes through De-Graft, who danced into the penalty area before shooting past Bobby Mason and into the bottom corner.

Canvey’s only chances were coming on the break and they came close to an equaliser through Kouassi, who ran in behind and drew a smart save from Carey with his strike from a tight angle.

Lewes lost Will Salmon to injury during the closing stages of the half but were able to get through to half-time at 1-0 up, with Cray leading 2-1 at Haringey at the break.

The hosts levelled five minutes after the restart, as Rob Girdlestone finished from close range after Lewes had been unable to clear a corner from the right.

The Rooks responded well though, and regained their lead on 56 minutes through De-Graft, who collected a pass from Tyrique Hyde down the left before finishing past Mason at his near post.

Lewes received a further boost with news of a Haringey equaliser against Cray, meaning that a third goal for the North London side would lift the Rooks into fifth place if they could stay in front in Essex.

The Rooks could only take care of their own result though, and did so by scoring a third goal on the hour, De-Graft completing his hat-trick with a superb curling strike after cutting inside from the right.

Lewes’ task was made more difficult five minutes later, as Ayo Olukoga was shown a straight red card for what the referee deemed a deliberate handball as he attempted to beat Kouassi to a long ball forward.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, Lewes were keeping their hosts at bay relatively comfortably, with a smart Carey save from a Connor Hubble header being the closest Canvey came to mounting a comeback.

The better chances continued to fall to the Rooks, who saw Taylor draw a fine save from Mason at his near post with an effort from a tight angle.

Lewes continued to push for further goals but were unable to find them and with Haringey not scoring a third goal against Cray, the Rooks were left to reflect on an impressive season, but one that has seen them just miss out on the play-offs on goal difference.

Canvey Island: Mason, Sorondo, Mvemba, J. Salmon (Albon 65), Girdlestone, M. Hall, Edwards, Hubble, Sachs, Paxman (Ronto 65), Kouassi.

Unused Subs: Tinubu, Ashman, Jackson.

Booked: Mvemba.

Lewes: Carey, Olukoga, Champion, W. Salmon (Huckle 34), Mundle-Smith, Tamplin, Pritchard, Hyde, Murrell-Williamson, De-Graft, Taylor.

Unused Subs: Young, R. Hall, McGonigle, Middleton-Tozer.

Booked: Carey, Mundle-Smith, Murrell-Williamson.

Sent off: Olukoga.

Attendance: 1,120 (approximately 100 Rooks fans)

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About Imperial Fields
The stadium itself is a recent development, the club having moved in 2002 from a decrepit all-wooden facility at Sandy Lane in Tooting, which had been declared a fire hazard but is now looking very tired.

The ground is certainly unique.  One large main stand that straddles the centre of the pitch and two raised terraces behind the goal with a little roof on top.  Views are excellent from most parts of the ground.  On the far side of the ground there is a two-step terrace that sits in the shade.  Picnic benches next to the main stand complete the unique look and feel of the ground.  The clubhouse is accessible through the main stand as well as from the car park.  Often there are private events going on in the function room adjacent to the pitch when games are going on, which is a little bizarre.

How to get to Imperial Fields
Most of us will come via the M25 junction 8, heading north on the A217 Brighton Road.  Follow this north around the edge of Sutton town centre until you reach the Rose Hill roundabout.  Take the third exist, still on the A217 and the ground is around a mile up this road on the right hand side opposite the BP garage.  There is a decent size car park at the ground, alternatively it is street parking which may incur a parking ticket.  Total journey time for the 53 mile journey from Lewes is around 1 hour 15 minutes.

The nearest station is actually the tram stop, Mitcham Station which links to the rail network at Wimbledon (6 stops), Mitcham (1 Stop), Croydon West and East (20-25 mins), plus others further east. Imperial Fields is 5 mins walk. Turn left on the road bridge station exit and keep walking.  Morden Tube Station isn’t too far away either – Morden station, on the Northern Line, is the nearest (about 20-25 mins) or buses 201, 118.  The stations are in Zone 4.  .

Admission at Imperial Fields
Admission this season is £12 for adults, £8 for concessions (senior citizens and carers), £6 for students and Under18s free of charge.

Fancy a beer?
The nearest pub to the ground is the Crown Inn which is on London Road just fifty yards up from the Tram stop.  Further up London Road is the White Hart (conflicting reports whether this is still open) but apart from that, pubs are actually quite thin on the ground close to the stadium.  If you are coming on the tram from East Croydon you may want to have a beer around there or even head south towards Sutton which isn’t that far away.

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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 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
Operations Manager Damian Watts

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 Charlie Himbury
Match logistics Vikram Dogra
First Team Performance Analyst Henderson Russell
Under-18s Manager Jon Miller

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

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  1. After the shortest reign of any Highbury boss – just 47 matches – Arsenal sacked manager Bruce Rioch. Johan Cruyff was the favourite to replace him but instead in September Arsenal would appoint an unknown Frenchman, Arsène Wenger.
  2. Roger Freestone scored a penalty for Swansea City against Shrewsbury Town
  3. Fulham announced that they had signed George Best (and Rodney Marsh). With Bobby Moore already at Craven Cottage the dream was surely one of promotion. The reality – they were almost relegated, finishing just one point outside the Second Division relegation zone.
  4. The Worthington Cup (League Cup) tie between Torquay and Portsmouth was called off because of…a total eclipse of the sun! No the problem wasn’t that everything was going to go dark but the police deciding that they didn’t have the manpower to police both the match and the influx of visitors expected in the area to witness the eclipse. The eclipse couldn’t be put off – so the match was!
  5. Centre-back Steve Sutherland scored his first, and only goal, for the Rooks in the 2-1 defeat to Metropolitan Police