Rooks slide to another defeat

Lewes slid to a sixth defeat in seven matches after losing 1-0 to Staines Town in a tightly contested affair at the Dripping Pan on Saturday, writes Sam Watts.

The Rooks dominated possession for lengthy spells but lacked the creative spark to turn ball retention into goals as they were ultimately undone by Howard Newton’s fortuitous strike.

It’s a result that leaves Lewes rock bottom of the Blue Square South table having played four games more than some of their fellow relegation candidates.

The home side included two new faces in its starting eleven; Grant Holt returned on a month’s loan from Brighton & Hove Albion and former Millwall midfielder Ali Fuseini who signed as a free agent on Friday.

The Rooks began strongly as they kept possession and probed the Staines backline for openings.

Fuseini bossed the midfield and orchestrated much of the play, so it was no surprise when he was involved in the build up to the Rooks first two concrete chances.

The Ghanaian whipped in a dangerous cross that Chris Breach deflected straight into the palms of Staines goalkeeper Louis Wells.

David Wheeler then caught the eye with some outstanding footwork, collecting Fuseini’s ball in the channel before weaving past two defenders and squaring to Ben Godfrey who stabbed his shot wide.

It was a miss that Tim O’Shea’s side were soon made to rue as the fatal blow was struck in a game of few chances.

Staines were awarded a free kick in the left channel that Newton duly whipped in with malice. But instead of being met by the head of a colleague the ball rose and dipped over every body before sailing past goalkeeper Chris Winterton.

The goal came against the run of play and temporarily rattled the home side, but Breach came close once again from Ishmael Welsh’s corner when he forced a good block before slicing his follow up narrowly wide.

O’Shea replaced Godfrey with George Porter at the break but the second half was almost a carbon copy of the first, with Lewes retaining possession well but creating little action of note.

Wheeler saw his deflected effort flash wide after being picked out by Jermaine Wright’s inch-perfect pass with ten minutes remaining in what was the Rooks only real effort of the half.

However, their cause was hardly aided by the loss of skipper Anthony Barness through injury after just thirteen minutes.

Wheeler and Fuesini were the bright spots in an otherwise uninspiring performance from the Rooks, but with a kind run of fixtures to come Lewes still have every chance of avoiding the drop.