Lewes win nervy affair by single Harding goal over lowly Leatherhead

Lewes won a nervy and scrappy affair over a struggling Leatherhead side at the Dripping Pan tonight (Wednesday).

A 23rd minute deflected free kick from Harry Harding proved the difference between the sides on a night when the result was far more important than the performance.

Simon Wormull’s men had played well on Saturday against high-flying Lowestoft Town but were sickened by a fourth-minute equaliser from their Suffolk visitors.

So it was vital for the Rooks’ slowly-increasing confidence to bounce back against fourth-from-bottom Leatherhead.

Lewes had precious few real chances on goal aside from Harding’s goal, which – from the press bench – seemed to take a wicked deflection off a Tanners defender before making its way past Chico Ramos in the Leathehead goal. Indeed, the hosts failed to get a single shot on target in the second half.

But the visitors themselves had few real chances to trouble Matt Ingram in the Lewes goal – other than a crazy couple of minutes midway through the second period when the visitors suddenly laid seige on the Rooks goal. First a Harry Ottaway shot flashed across the face of goal, then substitute Elliott Thompson smacked an effort against the Lewes bar from six yards, And seconds after that Jamie Coyle forced a fine save from Ingram from seven yards, before sub Thompson squandered the rebound.

But other than that the Lewes defence held firm and secured the Rooks’ third win in four games – and their first home clean sheet since a goalless draw with Wingate & Finchley on November 19.

Boss Wormull said: “It wasn’t a great game, to be honest with you. There wasn’t a lot of football – the conditions kind of dictated what would happen tonight.

“But we’re on a great run and again it’s another great three points picked up. After Saturday’s disappointment in not picking up the three points, it was imperative we did get that tonight – whichever way it came.

“Obviously we had a fortunate goal with the free kick and what have you, but we defended resolutely again, which is great because it’s us learning from Saturday.”

See Friday’s Sussex Express for a report and more post-match reaction.

ROOKS: Ingram, Kamara, Hamilton, Somner, Robinson ©, Hustwick, Walder (Howell 78), Harding, Crabb, Booth (Draycott 67), Gregory.

Subs: Ian Draycott, Leach, Schaaf, Howell, Wormull.

TANNERS: Ramos, Coyle, Gross, Nnamani, Dean, Simmons ©, Francis (Hudson 76), Holness, Ottaway, Hutchings (Terry 76), Manners (Thompson 59).

Subs: Thompson, Richmond, Hill, Terry, Hudson.

REF: David Spain. ATT: 347.