Lewes are through to the 3rd round of the FA Cup but had to work hard against a stubborn Denham side at the Pan on Sunday.
It’s been five weeks since Lewes played but to their credit they played well and this was a valuable work out for the Team to relaunch the season which now finds them in the hat for the 3rd round.
Lewes started the brighter and created some good chances and with bodies behind the ball Lewes enjoyed long periods of possession but couldn’t notch up the all-important goal to set them on their way. The forward partnership of Sian Heather and Cath O Hagan worked tirelessly to find a way through.
Denham to their credit packed the box and made it really awkward for Lewes as they struggled to deliver from midfield with the heavy conditions playing their part. Lewes created some neat moves down the flanks to try and open up the play but lacked quality with the final ball. With most of the play in the Denham half Lewes continued to press and ask questions but at half time the match was all square at 0-0.
The second half started much like the first but Denham making more advances into the Lewes half only for it to be snubbed out and for Lewes to regain possession. Jules Denny coming on to try and shake things up on 55 minutes and the central midfield pair of Newton and Baker working better to help drive things forward. With time marching on and no goals Denham started to grow in confidence and the game began to open up . Denham now playing with five in midfield to try and get something from the counter attack. Both Heather and O Hagan going close on a couple of occasions but the Denham GK pulling off some great saves to deny both.
With the score level at the 90 minute mark the game went into extra time. Lewes continued to work the flanks and after a succession of throws they were able to find the back of the net when Nikki Payne curled the ball over from 16 yards out on the 3rd minute of extra time. Heather could have made it two but a last ditch effort from a Denham defender.
Denham however would not lie down and Spice was called into action with a great effort which she was able to tip around the post. Lewes did have one cleared off the line too when O Hagan’s cheeky back heel was cleared off the line. In the second period of extra time Lewes should have put this game to bed, chances from Denny, Heather and O Hagan all met with clearances and one final save low down from Spice saw this cup tie end with a nice new year win for Lewes.
Head of Development Dave Cole said ‘ it was good to get a game out the way after the disruption and I was very pleased with everyone’s effort, the younger players did well and it was great for Nikki to get on the score sheet. We are trying to bring our younger players on in what is a tough league but they are progressing really well.’
MVP was the goal scorer Nikki Payne.
Change of fixture next week: 19th Feb Gillingham v Lewes at Chatham FC KO 2pm.