Nathan Crabb was the hero as Lewes came from 2-0 down with 10 minutes to go to claim a potentially crucial point at Cray Wanderers last night.
Lewes seemed consigned to defeat with just minutes to go, following goals from Leigh Bremner, on 35 minutes, and Danny Young, just before the break.
But Crabb pounced on a defensive mistake to pull one back on 80 minutes, before the same player earned the Rooks a highly dramatic draw when he forced home an equaliser in the fourth minute of injury time.
Bremner had chipped Lewes keeper Kieron Thorp to put the hosts in the lead before Young drove home a loose ball three minutes into first half stoppage time to seemingly give Cray the three points that would have sealed beyond question their own safety.
It didn’t look like the Rooks would be able to get back into it – until Crabb exploited a mix-up at the back for Cray to put the visitors back in the game.
The goal inspired the large away support to cheer on the Rooks for the remainder of the match, although with time rapidly running out, it looked to be in vain.
Defender-turned-forward Chris Breach saw a header cleared off the Cray line, while the visitors were becoming increasingly frustrated by the hosts’ attempts to run the clock down.
However, with the last attack of the game, a clearance fell to Harry Harding who delivered a ball in for Crabb to steer home. His goal sparked off remarkable scenes of celebration amongst Lewes players and supporters alike.
The result means Lewes supporters will be looking closely at tomorrow (Thursday) night’s fixtures when the last remaining games in hand are played before the final round of fixtures on Saturday.
They will be particularly keen to see how Hastings United get on against play-off chasing East Thurrock United as a defeat for the Pilot Field outfit there would mean they can no longer match the Rooks’ points total. A draw for the U’s would mean both Hastings and second bottom Carshalton could only draw level with Lewes after Saturday’s games – with the Rooks having a significantly better goal difference than both those sides.
Fellow relegation battlers Wingate & Finchley are also playing tomorrow night, as are Harrow Borough.
Lewes are at home to Bury Town on Saturday in a 3pm kick off.