Simon Wormull said he was ‘disappointed with the result but pleased with the performance’ after his Rooks outfit came from behind three times to earn a thoroughly deserved draw at Hastings United,
Goals from Jack Walder, Wormull himself and Karl Beckford (penalty) saw Lewes fight back to pick up a point at the Pilot Field.
But it could have been even better after an excellent display against the team that takes on Middlesbrough in the FA Cup on Saturday... and after two highly debatable penalty decisions: first when referee David Spain gave United a penalty for a harsh handball on Walder and then right at the end when no penalty was given for what seemed a clear foul on Steve Brinkhurst in the box.
Wormull said: “We did well, and we’re disappointed we didn’t get the win, to be honest.
“But for some refereeing decisions we would have come away with the three points.
“I thought it was a dubious penalty (for Hastings). Jack didn’t even have his arms out and the ball hit him from just two yards away.
“And we should have had a penalty in the last minute (for the foul on Steve Brinkhurst). It was a stonewall penalty.
“But also, with a couple of the (Hastings) goals we could have done a bit better.
But we’re creating a lot of chances at the moment, which is very encouraging.
“Crabby worked his socks off and earned us the penalty (the one Lewes WERE given, converted by Karl Beckford). But if we’re looking at it brutally he could have had four goals today.
“But it’s just a case of catching him on the right day for that; he scored a hat-trick against Concord the other week.
“And Callum Donaghey played his second game for the club today and did well, so there are a lot of positives.
“On Saturday (against Thurrock) a lot of the boys had an off day - a lot of them had heavy legs - and talking to them today they felt a lot better.
“It took us 15 minutes to get into the game but we finished it very strongly.”
Walder had to come off early in the second half. “It wasn’t an injury, actually,” explained Wormull. “He might have a bit of food poisoning because he was feeling sick before the game. But he started and actually played very well!
“We just took him off with Saturday in mind because we want him fit and ready for that one. He’s a big game player and always seems to put in the big performances in them.
“He’s a very important player for us so we want him to be fit and ready for Saturday (at home to Hampton and Richmond Borough in a 3.30pm kick off).”
Walder scored Lewes’ first equaliser and performed his now famed ‘salmon dive’ in celebration. As did Wormull when he scored his screamer from fully 25-30 yards out, joining Walder in diving headlong to the turf.
It was also a goal celebration Callum Donaghey performed - again with Walder - when he scored Lewes’ opening goal against Thurrock on Saturday, and is fast becoming the Rooks’ signature display when finding the opposition’s net.
But Wormull admitted it may be a case of one-time only for him.
“Yes, I did, I did one!,” he admitted, laughing. “But I don’t think I’ll be doing it again!
“It was a good goal. I don’t seem to score the tap-ins but it was an important goal because it got us back in the game.
“I was just talking to Nick (Brown) about how far out it was, and we’ve decided it was 27 yards!”
Lewes found themselves playing against 10 men again this season when Scott Manning was dismissed late on for fouling Crabb in the incident that led to Lewes’ penalty.
“We’ve come in for a bit of criticism this season when we’ve played a team with 10 men,” said the Rooks boss, “but we really got at them in the last 10 minutes.
“Basically, we’re disappointed with the result but really pleased with the performance.”
And Wormull added that he expected a firm challenge from Hastings, despite much speculation that they would be distracted by their massive FA Cup tie looming on the horizon.
“I think they needed to be (on form today), to be honest, and not just because players were desperate to be picked for Saturday. They need to get a few results in the league, while I think Sean (Ray, the Hastings player/manager) also used this game as an opportunity for a few players to earn themselves a shirt for Saturday.”