Rooks come back down to earth with bump after Thurrock defeat

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Lewes came down to earth with a disappointing home defeat to struggling Thurrock today (Saturday).

Recent good results, including a 1-0 Boxing Day win over high-flying Sussex rivals Bognor Regis Town, counted for nothing in a flat second half display against the second-bottom team in the Ryman Premier division.

A good first half display from the Rooks, when they led through a headed goal from debutant Callum Donaghey, was more than countered after the break by the visitors as Mark Stimson’s men showed much the more energy and urgency than their hosts.

But Lewes had good early pressure in this early 2pm kick off and created some half chances, most notably when a neat ball played into Callum Dunne by Karl Beckford was not quite controlled by the former Horsham player.

The visitors chose to play with the considerable wind behind them in the first half and created Lewes a few problems of their own.

Harry Honesty should have scored on the break for Thurrock on 23 minutes but although his pace took him past the Lewes defence, they and keeper Kieron Thorp were still able to put enough pressure on his shot, which dribbled wide.

On 32 minutes, Nathan Crabb did well to beat his man in the box and get to the byline, but his ball across the face of goal - with Thurrock’s defence beaten - found no team-mates backing up.

Two minutes later, Honesty’s pace saw him in behind the Rooks defence again but his shot was tipped away into the centre of the penalty area.. where again, an attacking team-mate would have had an easy tap-in had one been backing up.

On 38 minutes Steve Brinkhurst got the Philcox Stand excited when he lined up a speculative shot from 30 yards, which was tipped away for a corner by Thurrock keeper David Hughes.

Lewes took the lead in the 42nd minute from a second Beckford corner in as many games, after Nathan Crabb had headed in the winner from a Beckford flag kick on Boxing Day. This time is was debutant Donaghey - signed from Crawley Down Gatwick last night - who rose highest to power in a header from a Beckford corner.

But the Rooks didn’t hold the lead for very long, in playing time at least. Just four minutes after the break it was all-square when - from a Jack Paxman cross from the left - Danny Green was allowed all the time in the world to turn and curl in a left-footed shot from just inside the area.

And the visitors got their winner on 68 minutes when Lewes right back Jon Dollery turned into his own net after getting the last touch on a 25-yard Green shot.

Substitute James Fergany skewed one half chance into the air late on but overall Lewes barely threatened in a second half where Thurrock showed all the desire to win.

Perhaps the hosts were leggy from playing a difficult local derby in extremely trying conditions three days before - while Thurrock’s game with near neighbours East Thurrock was postponed, giving them a day off on Boxing Day.

But either way, the visitors deserved all three points for their second half performance alone, even if Lewes were the better side before the interval.

ROOKS: Thorp, Dollery, Kay, Walder, Donaghey, Breach (c), Godfrey (J Fergany 78), Dunne (Strong 60), Crabb, Beckford (Wormull 60), Brinkhurst.

SUB: J Fergany, Strong, Stubbings, Wormull, Schaaf.

BOOKED: Jack Walder, 64

ROCKS: David Hughes, Ritchie Jones, Darren Ebbsworth, John Guest, Matt Turpin (Jack Jeffries 45), Stuart Thurgood (c), Danny Green, Ben Smith, Jack Paxman (Luke Wanadio 78), Charlie Stimson (Ryan Imbert 66), Harry Honesty.

SUBS: Jack Jeffries, Ryan Imbert, Luke Wanadio, Robbie Norris, Will Viner.

Booked: Ben Smith 78.