Lewes moved up to fifth in the Ryman Premier table with a 1-0 win over Canvey Island at the Dripping Pan today (Saturday).
A fifth minute strike from midfielder Jack Dixon was enough to separate the teams.
Visitors Canvey had Rob Bartley sent off in the second half. But although the Gulls rallied well despite being a man short, Garry Wilson’s men held them at bay fairly comfortably and goalkeeper Rikki Banks was barely threatened.
Lewes took the lead in the fifth minute when Dixon fired a shot from the edge of the area that deviated in the air before flying through the despairing grasp of keeper Josh Vickers.
It should have been two for the Rooks on 12 minutes when Nicky Wheeler ghosted into the box past the Canvey defence but his pull-back was lifted over the bar by Fraser Logan.
Rooks striker Ade Olorunda was then just unable to poke the ball past Vickers from close range, following a delivery from the right by Sam Crabb.
A nice move on the half hour involving Olorunda and Nathan Crabb ended with Crabb firing just over from 20 yards out.
Vickers was forced into a save two minutes before the break when he tipped over a Nathan Crabb header eight yards out, following another good Wheeler cross.
For the most part, Canvey’s attempts at goal were reduced to long range efforts that generally flew wild, high and wide.
Indeed, Banks wasn’t called into serious action until the second minute of the second half. A Ty Smith shot from the edge of the area was spilled by the Rooks keeper but the visitors were unable to make the most of the loose ball, and Banks redeemed himself by collecting the recycled second ball crossed into the six-yard area.
The game took a dramatic turn on 56 minutes when Bartley was shown a straight red for apparent use of the head in an altercation with Jay Lovett. Canvey had just seen strong appeals for a penalty turned down and the vociferous Gulls directors in the stand were further outraged when Lovett only received a ticking off from referee Paul Johnson as their own man stalked unhappily off the pitch.
The Rooks nearly doubled their lead six minutes after the sending off a good stooping header from 10 yards out from Olurunda forced a good save from Vickers, following an accurate Matt Crabb free kick down the left.
For the remainder of the match Lewes threatened a second goal from a succession of corners and free kicks. But without that cushion of a second goal, the final stages of the game became a tense and scrappy affair.
However, the hosts were ultimately comfortable, and deserved, victors – and with seven points from three games, have moved up one place to fifth.
See here for the latest table http://www.isthmian.co.uk/tables.php
ROOKS: Banks, S Crabb, Gore, Lovett, M Crabb, Walder (c), Wheeler (Treleaven 64), Dixon, Olorunda (Brinkhurst 74), N Crabb, Logan.
SUBS NOT USED: Brown, Peake, Armstrong-Ford.
Booked: M Crabb (foul).
GULLS: Vickers, Sellears, Dumas, Game (c), Bartley, Humphreys, Currans, Smith (Alaile 76), Thomas, Bellotti (Emeke 83), Nash (Baucutt 45).
SUBS NOT USED: Hawes, Brightly.
Booked: Dumas (dissent), Game (foul). Sent off: Bartley (violent conduct).