King laments poor first half as Rooks go down to tough to beat Wealdstone

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Lewes boss Steve King lamented a poor first half performance after seeing his side go down 1-0 away at a tough-to-beat Wealdstone on Saturday.

King’s men were ultimately undone by a seventh-minute strike by Scott Fitzgerald, the Stones player doing well to take his shot early and wrong-footing Rikki Banks in the Rooks goal.

The Lewes stopper otherwise had a superb game, denying the hosts on a number of occcasions with some superb saves. Banks was called into action to keep out efforts from Kurtney Brooks and Britt Assombalonga, twice.

Lewes weren’t “at the races” in the first half, as King put it, but they improved significantly after the break, particularly after the Rooks boss made a double change, taking wingers Albert Jarrett and Christian Nanetti and throwing on strikers Paul Booth and Ian Draycott, therefore changing the formation to a very attacking 4-3-3. However, the best chances still fell to the hosts, with Banks making those saves, while the talented Richard Jolly also hit the post for Wealdstone in second half injury time. Lewes’ best moments in front of goal were an off target header from Draycott and a flamboyant first half effort at a waist-high volley from Nanetti that went high over the bar. Other than that, the best threat Lewes had were the surging runs into the Wealstone danger area from the excellent Nic Ciardini.

The win stretched Wealdstone’s unbeaten run to 11 games since their 2-1 reversal to Canvey Island in November and, as King said: “It’s a tough place to come, they’ve lost one in 20.

“I thought we were good second half, not good first half.

“They took their chance in the first half, it was a good finish to be fair. He took it early and Rikki had a good game today, he pulled off three or four fantastic saves.

“But I felt we deserved to get something out of the second half. I thought we put them under a lot of pressure second half and played some good football, but we weren’t at the races first half. They kind of hit us a little bit on the counter attack second half because we were over-stretching the game – Ciardini came to life, started going past a few people, Booth, Malvin, Draycott came to life, so we looked better second half.”

See this Friday’s Sussex Express for more comment and a full match report.