Lewes Ladies put in a sterling performance yesterday and should have come away with maximum points.
A 93rd minute equaliser from a corner dealt a bitter sweet blow to the Rookettes but they can take some satisfaction that this is another team in which they have taken points from . Coventry City LFC made the long journey to Lewes LFC on the back of a 2-1 win victory at home to Keynsham in the previous outing. City were looking for 3 points to add strength to their title charge, but Lewes showed they weren’t to be taken lightly.
The Sky Blues created the first chance of the match after an even opening spell in which neither team could really gain control of the game. 7 minutes had been played when Hayley Ladd received the ball from an Annabel Johnson throw in, before bursting past her marker and drilling a shot which Lewes Keeper Michelle Beazley stopped with her feet.
Lewes were given a golden opportunity just 9 minutes later after a long ball was flicked on by Charlotte Bennett, there was then a bit of indecisiveness between Sue Wood and Beth Poppleton which allowed Kelly McCullock to get a toe to the ball, but luckily for city the ball rolled narrowly wide of the post.
City then endured a shaky patch and Lewes made them pay with 22 minutes on the clock. Katie McIntire played a ball down the right wing, with striker Clare Trafford using pace and strength to shrug off Kim Walton , the defence then failed to clear and Trafford nipped the ball off Walton’s toes and curled the ball in to the left hand corner past Sue Wood. Lewes LFC 1-0 Coventry City.
Just 4 minutes later and Coventry nearly fell further behind after giving the ball away in their own area, Kirstie Spice intercepting the ball before dragging her effort wide of the target with City living dangerously at this point.
The away side did however gain impetus soon after and created a decent chance with 31 minutes on the clock. A brilliant piece of skill by Ashleigh Neville allowed her to beat the defender before floating a brilliant cross which Lewes failed to deal with, the ball found Helen Dermody at the edge of the area whose half-volley travelled wide via a deflection.
City began to push and carved out another opportunity 5 minutes later, a short free kick taken by Natasha Lynch found Helen Dermody who picked out Ashleigh Neville, she then cut inside and got a shot away from 18 yards, the keeper palming it away.
The final chance of the half came just before the break, with Natalie Brace showing great speed and ball control, beating 2 players before crossing to Helen Dermody who drilled the ball towards goal, Kelly Newton putting a leg out to block the effort which was heading in.
At the start of the second half it was Lewes who looked the better side, but the first opportunity fell to The Sky Blues on 57 minutes as Helen Dermody launched a long free kick towards the penalty spot, Destiney Toussaint then rose above Rachel Palmer but headed wide under pressure.
Lewes began to have the lion’s share of the ball as City looked tired and unable to gain control, but it was the away side that had the next sniff of goal on 69 minutes. A corner from Maz Gauntlett was cleared to edge of the box, where Helen Dermody picked the ball up and then attempted to lob the home keeper who was off her line after coming to punch the initial delivery, the effort was easily saved though.
Lewes continued to dominate proceedings for the next 20 minutes, but couldn’t fashion a clear cut for themselves despite controlling possession and winning most of the challenges, with a real tenacity being evident. Lewes should have cleared the ball long but instead conceded a corner and to their cost City got a much needed equaliser 5 minutes in to stoppage time.
The first chance came to Nikki Miles whose header forced an excellent save from Michelle Beazley who tipped the header over the bar. The equaliser came from the resulting corner with a brilliant delivery by Helen Dermody, the ball then wasn’t cleared by the Lewes defence and bounced around awkwardly in the box before finally being scrambled in by Kim Walton.
Manager Jacquie Agnew commented ‘it was a real shame we couldn’t hold on for the 3 points but I thought the players put in a great performance today , they worked together and once again played well against a seasoned side. Our fitness is really good given that we are nearly at the end of the season’.
MVP: Kelly Newton as chosen by The Elephant & Castle in Lewes
Next Sunday Lewes v Brighton & Hove Albion KO 2pm at Worthing FC
Squad: Beazley, Wells, McIntyre, Elcome, Palmer, Newton, Bennett, Payne, McCullock, Spice, Traff subs: Heather, Smith, Noakes, Baker