Lewes came into this Ryman Premier League game on the back of nine consecutive defeats but were heartened by being able to include new signings Lloyd Cotton and Junior Kaffo as well as welcoming back Stacey Freeman.
Lewes came of the traps quickly and with their first attack Brown’s cross hit a Leatherhead arm and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Nic Ciardini rolled back the years and smashed it home.
Alas the lead only lasted 8 minutes before Hughes-Mason nipped in in front of the Lewes defence and slotted the ball inside the far post. Two minutes later Leatherhead took the lead after Karagiannis’s miss hit free-kick was sliced into his own net by Roynane Marsh-Brown.
But back came the Rooks and in the 18th minute Marsh-Brown’s cross from the byline was met by Ciardini with a powerful strike that the keeper never saw. Ciardini almost had a hatrick two minutes later but for a superb save by Wells. McCreadie had a golden chance in the 24th minute when Brown’s superb cross found the striker in acres of space but he headed wide.
There was no let-up in the action as Leatherhead came back at Lewes. Karagiannis was given the freedom of the midfield before curling a shot from 25 yards over Winterton’s head to make it 2-3. Seven minutes later Karagiannis scored another spectacular goal from 30 yards after nobody closed him down on the right hand side.
Surprisingly there were no further goals in the first half but Lewes should have reduced the arrears a minute after the break when Freeman found himself in acres of space after Ciardini’s free-kick had bounced around the box but he couldn’t find the target.
In the 55th minute the Lewes fans thought they had a way back into the game when Trevor McCreadie turned the ball into the net after Deen’s shot was parried away by the Tanner’s keeper but he was in an offside position. Ten minutes later Lewes were reduced to ten men after Roynanne Marsh-Brown picked up his second yellow card in no more than five minutes.
Despite having a man less, Lewes continued to take the game to the visitors and tried to find a way through the solid Leatherhead defence. As the game entered injury time Alex Laing broke free from his marker but saw his near-post shot rebound off the post. Less than 30 seconds later he did have his goal after Ciardini robbed the full-back, crossed low into the box and gave Laing the easiest job to set up a grandstand finish. A final Lewes corner came to nothing but there was no shame in this defeat. Lewes battled from the first minute and were unlucky not to come away with anything from the game.
Lewes FC: Winterton, Brinkhurst, Marsh-Brown, Kaffo, Freeman, Malins, Brown (Redwood 52), Cotton, McCreadie (Laing), Deen (Conlon), Ciardini
Subs not used: Strong, Oldham
Leatherhead FC: Wells, Hall, Green, Smart, Walsh, Nnamani, Daly (Gallagher), Semakula, Adeyinka (Yusuff), Hughes-Mason, Karagiannis (Taylor)
Subs not used: Okoh, Gill
Bookings: Daly, Yusuff, Nnamani
Referee: Nick Dunn
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