Dripping Pan with David Arnold

EIGHT points out of a possible 12 from the four Ryman Premier League games over the Christmas and New Year period (commencing at home to Tooting & Mitcham on 17th December) is a respectable haul for Lewes FC.

But try telling that to the many, many fans of the Rooks who made up the bulk of the bumper 1,005 crowd at the Dripping Pan on Monday when what looked like a certain win against Horsham turned into a disappointing draw as our local rivals scored an equalizer with what amounted to the game’s last kick in open play.

Trouble was it felt like we’d lost. Not that I’d begrudge the boisterous Horsham fans their wild celebrations. Bottom of the Division and with just nine points to their name from all games so far this season, holding a top four side at 1-1 on their own turf was a fine achievement.

I suspect we were the architects of our own downfall. Though Christian Nanetti dazzled us once more with his amazing footwork and created the first half Lewes goal with his speed and “never say die” persistence, I believe he tempted fate in the last six or seven minutes when he favoured keeping possession of the ball by the south east corner flag rather than putting a cross into the Horsham box where our forward men might have delivered the coup de grace to seal the game.

The match posters had cleverly depicted Nanetti as the “Wizard of Ouse” and, sure enough, you knew it was the pantomime season when he was finally relieved of the ball and realised the final whistle was going to be three or four minutes away at least. Time enough, as it transpired, for Horsham to vent their frustrations with that well-taken last gasp goal.

By then, young Nanetti had already been announced as Man of the Match and deservedly so.

The choice was made by sponsor Peter Medhurst, a man who knows a thing or two about football. He first played for Lewes FC in the 1962-1963 season at the age of 15. Now I first moved to Lewes in 1962 and remember the winter of that year well. It was one of the worst on record; dubbed the “Big Freeze” and football matches across Sussex and most of the country were postponed for weeks and weeks on end because pitches were covered in deep snow and ice. Anyway, Peter’s prowess as a player swiftly developed. Between 1966 and 1973 he played for Brighton before returning to Lewes and then enjoying stints at Horsham and Crawley.

He was still with the latter club when he retired from the game in 1983.

These days he runs his own successful Brighton-based heating and plumbing company but still finds time to support the Rooks in any way he can.

His wife Mary was with him, treating the occasion as part of her recent birthday celebrations.