Lewes 0, Wingate & Finchley 0: Rooks now 12 points from safety with five game left

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A hard-working display was not enough to help Lewes to three points in a game of few chances against mid-table Wingate, with the Rooks now sitting 12 points from safety with just five games remaining.

Darren Freeman made one change to the side that had won 1-0 at Brentwood in their previous game, with Charlie Coppola replacing Josh Street in the starting line-up.

The Rooks got off to a bright start and nearly went ahead early on through Ronnie Conlon, who saw his effort from the edge of the area parried by goalkeeper Charlie Crowley before James Hammond had his effort on the rebound blocked. The visitors posed an occasional threat going forward themselves though, as Karl Oliyide sent an effort from the edge of the area just wide after an impressive passing move.

Lewes had an excellent chance to take the lead after just over 20 minutes, as Alex Laing sent a close-range volley straight at Crowley after an excellent run and cross from Hammond. The Rooks were playing some impressive passing football in midfield, but were unable to turn possession into clear-cut goalscoring opportunities during the remainder of the first half.

Wingate were creating few chances themselves, but did come close twice in the closing stages of the half, as Rob Laney just failed to get on the end of a Tommy Cummings cross in front of goal, before Billy Healey headed over from close range when he should have hit the target.

Lewes started the second half with a strong wind behind them and very nearly used it to their advantage within minutes of the restart, as Crowley was only able to parry a long-range free-kick from Leon Redwood. The introduction of debutant Richard Greenfield just after the hour gave the Rooks more of a presence up front, although they were finding it difficult to stretch the well-organised Wingate back four.

The visitors seemed happy enough with a point at this stage, but nearly took the lead in the last 20 minutes through right-back Mark Goodman, who saw his long-range effort hit the side-netting. Lewes continued to push for a winner in the closing stages and nearly found one in stoppage time, as Henry Muggeridge saw an effort from a tight angle deflected wide of the far post.

Unfortunately for the majority of the impressive crowd of 560 at the Pan, the resulting corner came to nothing and the Rooks were forced to settle for a point which closes the gap on the teams above them but still leaves them bottom of the league.

There is still plenty of fight amongst the management and players though, and they will hope to close the gap further at Merstham on Monday, kick-off at 3pm.

Lewes: Winterton, Brinkhurst, Redwood, Carey, Freeman, Malins, Muggeridge, Hammond, Coppola (Greenfield 62), Laing, Conlon

Unused Subs: Okojie, Ben El-Mhanni, Badger, Stroomberg

Booked: None.

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