Lewes battled hard but ultimately fell just short against the league leaders Maidstone United in front of an impressive 2,000 crowd at The Gallagher Stadium, reports Stuart Fuller.
Despite their lofty position, Maidstone’s recent form hadn’t been great and in the opening exchanges you could sense the nervousness on and off the pitch. The Lewes midfield certainly had the better of the early play, with Maidstone keeper Lee Worgan being the busier of the two.
Maidstone broke the deadlock in the 26th minute. Rikki Banks came for a free-kick and didn’t get near Shane Huke who headed goal wards where Jay May had the easiest of jobs to tap home.
The second half was only seven minutes old when Frannie Collins’ cross from the right hand side eluded the Lewes defence and May had another simple tap in.
The home fans expected Lewes to roll over and capitulate but that didn’t happen. Steve Brown reshuffled the midfield, bringing on George Brown for his debut, replacing Tom Davis and moving Matt Crabb out to the left.
The Rooks started to be more adventurous, enjoying playing the ball to feet on the artificial surface. In the 73rd minute substitute Willock was tripped 25 yards out. James Fraser stepped up and hit a superb free-kick into the top corner.
the mark of a good team is how they handle the pressure and the home side concentrated on ball retention rather than pushing on to score a third to see out the game and gain three vital points. Maidstone remain top while Lewes are 18th.
Lewes: Banks, S Crabb, Cole, Davis (Brown), Elphick, Rowe, Hopkinson, Breach, Blewden (Willock), Fraser, M Crabb Subs: Badger, Marshall, Taylor Booked: Davis
Peacehaven recorded a fine 2-0 victory at VCD Athletic thanks to two goals from Jamie Brotherton.