A Jack Walder strike 11 minutes from time was enough to give Lewes all three points against a 10-man Lowestoft Town tonight (Tuesday).
The Trawlerboys were were forced to play the whole of the second half a man short at the Dripping Pan after winger Joe Francis had been sent off just before the break for picking up two yellow cards in quick succesion.
But despite their second half advantage, the Rooks struggled to break down their East Anglian visitors – that is until midfielder Walder popped up at the far post to fire in his winner on 79 minutes.
A quiet start to the game gave way to something of a thriller for much of the first half.
Early chances at both ends saw first James Fergany fire straight at Andrew Plummer after robbing Stuart Ainsley of the ball 30 yards out – and then at the other end Scott Mitchell firing wildly over from around the penalty spot area after Lewes had failed to deal with a ball into the box.
It was Lowestoft who actually the lead, in the 16th minute, and it was Francis who scored, the wide man firing a delicious left-footed free kick into the bottom right hand corner of Kieron Thorp’s net. The free kick had been given 20 yards out after Rooks captain Steve Robinson had been penalised for going through the back of Lee Smith.
It looked for all the world that James Fergany had equalised five minutes later when he burst through to meet a bouncing through ball before the advancing Andrew Plummer, but his sweet lob over the Trawlerboys keeper bounced just past the far post.
However, the hosts were soon level. Anthony Thomas saw an angled shot saved by Plummer but the ball was sent straight back into the box by Steve Brinkhurst, where Ben Godfrey was lurking to turn the ball in.
With the game approaching half time, Lewes had three men in the referee’s notebook to Lowestoft’s none. But that all changed dramatically when Francis received two yellow cards inside three minutes, both for trips of Lewes players down Town’s left. Both bookings were a result of Francis being a victim of a quicker opponent (Brinkhurst and Karl Beckford), rather than for anything more cynical or violent, but referee Graham Kane probably had no choice but to send him off.
However, Lewes struggled to make the most of their spare man after the break. Very little was created by the Rooks other than skipper Robinson seeing a drilled effort cleared off the line from 12 yards out by a desperate Lowestoft defender on 62 minutes.
And it took until the 79th minute before Simon Wormull’s men made the breakthough, the outstanding Walder piling the ball in past Plummer at the far post following a Joe Kay cross.
Just three minutes later, Walder was the hero at the other end of the pitch, when he athletically hooked a Robert Eagle header off his own goal line.
LEWES: Thorp, Brinkhurst, Hamilton (Kay 69), Walder, Robinson, Breach, Fergany, Thomas (Dunne 64), Godfrey, Beckford, Schaaf (Howell 64). SUBS NOT USED: Leach, Stubbings.
Bookings: Brinkhurst, Robinson, Thomas,
LOWESTOFT: Plummer, Baker, Ainsley (Eagle 36), Fisk, Mitchell, Gaughran, Smith, Cockrill, Defty (Frew 84), Henderson, Francis. SUBS: Jones, Okay, Jessup.
Bookings: Francis (two: 41 and 44); Mitchell.
REF: Graham Kane. ATT: 247.