Lewes FC continued their recent resurgence with an inspired attacking display on Saturday as they defeated Havant & Waterlooville 2-1 at the Dripping Pan, writes Sam Watts.
The Rooks’ revival had begun with successive draws against fellow strugglers St Albans and Boreham Wood, before clinching vital away victories against Maidenhead United and Hampton & Richmond Borough.
Manager Tim O’Shea kept an unchanged starting XI from Tuesday’s 2-1 victory over Hampton, with the only change to the overall squad being new signing Ben Hunt replacing Andy Pearson on the bench.
Both Lewes goals came midway through the second half. The first came on 69 minutes from a free kick when Leon Cashman clattered into the back of Gary Noel, and Jermaine Wright floated the resulting free kick into the path of Chris Breach, who glanced his header in off Nathan Ashmore’s far post.
It took just six minutes for the Rooks to double their advantage when Noel cut inside his defender in the area from Wright’s quickly taken free kick, but saw his shot blocked. However, the ball broke to David Wheeler six yards out who gleefully slotted home the goal that his performance merited.
The points looked safe for O’Shea’s side but Havant’s Ian Selley – one of three former Rooks in the Hawks’ side – had other ideas, bundling over the line with three minutes remaining to set up a tense finale.
Debutant Ben Hunt had the chance to relieve the tension around the stadium, firing narrowly wide when put through one-on-one by fellow substitute Jamie Crellin’s clearance.
Paul Hinshelwood had a golden opportunity to steal a point for the visitors right at the death, but Grant Hall’s heroic block summed up a vibrant, authoritative and determined display by O’Shea’s revitalised Rooks.
See this Friday’s Sussex Express for a longer match report of this game.