Danny Bloor praised the ‘exceptional’ display of the young Rooks who played in Lewes’ midweek victory over Corinthian Casuals,
Lewes moved into the third round of the Robert Dyas League Cup with a 2-1 home win over the Ryman South outfit on Wednesday night.
The Rooks went in at the break 2-0 up thanks to goals from Jacob Peake and Sam Beale.
Ellis Wilson-Joseph pulled one back for the visitors late on, ensuring a nervous last few seconds for the impressive crowd of 232 at the Dripping Pan.
But despite a last-gasp missed header from by Casuals goalkeeper Danny Bracken, who had come up for a corner deep into injury time, the Rooks held out for a deserved win.
The fringe players and youth teamers who played complemented their more senior colleagues well, and Will Hendon was voted man of the match for an assured display in the Rooks defence.
“It was fantastic to keep the unbeaten run going, 14 games now,” said Rooks assistant manager Bloor.
“We did obviously change the side dramatically. There were players we wanted to look at, we wanted to give one or two of the younger boys an opportunity, so all in all it was a really worthwhile evening.
“It was important that what I would call our senior players: Rikki Banks, Tom Vickers, Jon Dollery and Dan Smith performed and I think they did – and the younger players all did exceptionally well.”
Asked if it was important to give the younger players some match experience and game time on the pitch, he said: “Absolutely, it was really important.
“It was nice at the end to be able to get Steven James on from the academy. I would suggest that it’s probably the first academy player from Lewes who’s actually played in the first team – I’m not 100 per cent sure that that’s correct [the club later tweeted confirmation that this is indeed correct] but it shows that we’re trying to do things in the right manner.
“You know, obviously, we haven’t given the young players perhaps the chances they had last season at Lewes Football Club, but that isn’t something Garry and I don’t want to do, and it was really pleasing tonight to play the younger players.
“Will Hendon, he had a good game at right back and got voted man of the match; Tyrone Madhani had a very good game at left back, so these are boys who have come through the youth system at Lewes Football Club, and that can only be good.
“The first goal was Jacob Peake, the second was Sam Beale, so it was nice to go in with a two-nil cushion. But as we’ve seen on more than one occasion this season – both for the good and for the bad – 2-0’s a very funny scoreline. We said that to the boys at half time: we were 2-0 up here against the Met Police and ended up drawing 2-2 and then, conversely, we were at Wealdstone 10 days ago, we were 2-0 down and we ended up drawing 2-2.
“It is a cliché but it is one of my worst scores in football, because if the side who are 2-0 down score that third goal the impetus is with them. So it’s not good but it was a good night’s work at the office.
“We had a lot of players at the end who haven’t had much football so it was obvious they were going to be tired,” Bloor added.
“I just think we just tired a little and they threw all caution to the wind, Corinthian Casuals, so it was likely to happen but fortunately we ran out winners.”
Lewes manager Garry Wilson hinted after Saturday’s FA Cup win over Chalfont St Peter that he and Bloor may look to add to the squad.
“We’re keeping all our options open,” said Bloor. “We’ve got a fantastic squad, we’ve worked extremely hard, both on and off the pitch, since we’ve been at Lewes Football Club.
“So we’re looking at all options and if we can improve in tiny areas obviously it’s our job to make sure we can.”
However, he said that no one new would be coming into the squad for tomorrow’s (Saturday) game at Dulwich Hamlet (3pm KO).
Lewes: Banks, Hendon, Madhani, Vickers, Olley, Dollery (Crone 55), Fergany, Peake, Smith (Treleaven 46), Hall, Beale (James 77). Unused Subs: Dove, Marwick.