Wilfired Grimaud inspired Peacehaven & Telscombe to victory over Lewes as they claimed the local bragging rights from Lewes on derby day at the Sports Park (writes Adam Skinner).
The Magpies winger was a constant threat on an otherwise uneventful afternoon as both sides struggled to deal with conditions underfoot. The recent poor weather made for a treacherous surface, but Grimaud was the most composed man in Sussex and showed a deft touch to seal the points after Jamie Brotherton had given the hosts a first half lead from the penalty spot.
Even a late red card for Magpies debutant Bayan Fenwick did little to sullen the mood as the players were applauded off the pitch. The three points could go some way to ensuring their safety in the Ryman Premier Division as they move up to 16th, while Lewes remain well in the relegation dog fight – just six points above the drop zone in 19th.
But it was the visitors who started on the front foot. Luke Blewden was the brightest spark for Lewes and he put in two early crosses that the hosts’ defence did well to clear.
For all of Blewden’s guile, Dan McLaughlin was a towering presence at the heart of an unbreachable Peacehaven backline and they restricted Lewes to efforts from distance. Nick Wheeler blazed high and wide and on the rare occasion that the goal presented itself, James Fraser fired straight at Brandon Hall and Wheeler did likewise after cutting in from the right.
Peacehaven seemed to grow in confidence as Grimaud forced a corner with a low effort and Hall showed excellent reflexes to turn Fenwick’s effort wide. Fenwick should have done better after a fine solo run but fired horribly high from eight yards out.
The pressure eventually told, though, when Jack Walder caught Fenwick as he attempted to clear the ball. While there was clearly contact, the decision to give a penalty might have been slightly harsh and Fraser was booked for his part in the Lewes protests. Brotherton stayed calm in the furore and blasted the ball straight down the middle to give them the lead just before the break.
The introduction of Callum Willcock at half-time seemed to give Lewes a bit more edge in attack after the break but still the home side stood firm. And the telling moment came 20 minutes into the second half. Grimaud controlled a deep cross expertly before wriggling free and stabbing home under Di Bernardo.
He nearly did the same again a few minutes later when he headed a cross to tee himself up on the volley. It would have been a fitting end to a superb performance but he dragged narrowly wide. The miss was trivial, though, as Peacehaven’s two-goal lead was rarely threatened. It made Fenwick’s decision to challenge Walder even more perplexing. His reckless lunge was rightly punished with a straight red card, and while he will be contemplating three games on the sidelines, his team look almost certain for another season in the Ryman Premier.
Peacehaven: Di Bernardo, Marzetti, Knee, Hammond, McLaughlin, Metcalf (Lawley), Brotherton, Cotton, Fenwick, Burton, Grimaud Not Used: Mclennan, Agnoly, Secko
Lewes: Hall, Radser, Cole, Rowe, Brecy, Walder, Wheeler (Hopkinson), Fraser, Blewden (Griffiths), Fraser, Crabb (Willcock). Noy Used : Romain, Mallines