LEWES are all set for a clash with Brighton & Hove Albion after Seagulls’ reserves beat Sidley United to set up a Sussex Senior Cup quarter final meeting with the Rooks.
Albion’s overdue match with Sidley finally went ahead on Wednesday night, with the Withdean outfit going through comfortably 3-0 with goals from Torbjorn Agdestein, Agustin Battipiedi and Chris Holroyd. Albion’s side featured names familiar to Lewes fans, with recent loan players Grant Hall and George Barker turning out.
Brighton have been drawn at home in the tie, with further details still to be announced. Lewes boss Tim O’Shea said: “Brighton have traditionally given the home advantage to the other team so if that is the case we will be really looking forward to a bumper crowd at the Dripping Pan. And I’m sure Albion will bring along a strong team with some good names in it what with the final being played at their brand new Amex stadium. So it should be a great night for the fans.”
Meanwhile, O’Shea hailed his side’s never-say-die attitude after David Wheeler’s injury time strike earned Lewes a 1-1 draw at Basingstoke Town on Saturday. The Rooks had gone behind just minutes before when the Stoke looked like they grabbed all three points with an 81st minute goal from David Pratt.
“A point was no less than we deserved for our effort on the day,” said O’Shea. “The fact that we conceded quite late meant we could have let our heads drop but we didn’t, and we got our just rewards. In fact we can feel entitled to be disappointed that we didn’t come away with the three points.”
Winger Wheeler’s last-gasp strike was no more than the Rooks deserved after a performance full of grit and fortitude from Tim O’Shea’s men.
Ben Hunt was handed his first start and the Rooks welcomed back Nathan Green at left back slot with Lewis Hamilton out injured. Lewes were using their long ball game but Hunt and Gary Noel up front were unable to get the better of the big central defensive partnerhip of the home team.
The best chance of the half fell to Delano Sam-Yorke when he rounded Chris Breach, but a superb block from Gillingham youngster Jack Evans saw the Stoke player denied.
With nine minutes of the 90 to go, a great strike from Pratt flew into the top corner of the net, giving Winterton no chance.
But if the travelling band amongst the 401 at the Camrose thought that was that, then O’Shea’s battling band of men were to delight them as they responded with bags of heart – and as the clock ticked into overtime, a ball over the top saw Wheeler nip in and bundle the ball home – to the utter delight of those Rooks fans behind the goal.
Lewes travel to high-flying Chelmsford City on Saturday.