Danny Bloor says he is pleased with the way his and Garry Wilson’s new-look Lewes side is starting to gel after the Rooks beat a Brighton & Hove Albion XI side 3-1 at the Dripping Pan on Tuesday night.
Two goals from Ross Treleaven helped Lewes to an impressive victory over a young Brighton development squad at the Pan, in the Rooks’ third friendly of pre-season, following draws against Eastbourne Town (2-2) and Hassocks (1-1).
There were few chances of note in the opening stages, with both sides playing good football but not quite having the cutting edge to trouble the opposition goalkeeper. Lewes came closest before half-time, with Nathan Crabb latching onto a Fraser Logan through ball but seeing his shot saved by the legs of Christian Walton in the Albion goal.
Jack Dixon also sent a powerful 30-yard effort just wide following a good passing move.
Rooks boss Wilson made no changes at half-time, giving his experienced starting line-up more time to impress.
They very nearly took the lead inside the first 10 minutes of the half, with captain Jack Walder just unable to convert a Logan free-kick at the near post.
Despite being under pressure for much of the game, it was Brighton who took the lead on 59 minutes when Glen Rea headed in an inswinging free-kick from the right.
But Lewes continued to look the more dangerous side – and equalised 10 minutes later.
Treleaven was the scorer, just five minutes after coming on, when he sent an excellent 20-yard free-kick past substitute goalkeeper Grant Smith.
Treleaven then put Lewes ahead with 15 minutes left when he headed home a cross from fellow substitute Ryan Fergany after a fine passing move.
Fergany’s deliveries into the penalty area were causing the visiting defence plenty of problems; he saw a corner flicked on at the near post before being cleared off the line with Nathan Crabb waiting to pounce.
But the Rooks made the game safe on 84 minutes when another impressive passing move led to Dan Smith converting an inch-perfect cross from Matt Crabb to complete the scoring in an entertaining pre-season encounter.
Asked what pleased him most about the night, Bloor said: “That the players took on board the game plan that we asked of them. Also, the commitment, desire and work rate was as we would like it to be.
“So we mustn’t get carried away but we were very pleased.
“At this stage, the group is coming together nicely. The players are starting to gel and things are starting to take shape, which is something I’m very pleased about.”
After a month of some impressive senior names being signed up to the club, Bloor revealed that he and Wilson were now concentrating on agreeing deals with some of the younger members of last year’s squad.
“We’re dotting ‘I’s and crossing ‘T’s with some of the younger players at the moment.
“But Ryan Fergany will be on board. He will be a member of our squad this season.”
Lewes drew 1-1 with Hassocks on Saturday thanks to an excellent last minute strike from Matt Crabb. Lewes are in more pre-season action again tonight (Friday) when they take on Burgess Hill at the Dripping Pan. Kick off is 7.45pm.
The Rooks then travel to Leatherhead on Tuesday night.
ROOKS: Banks (Armstrong-Ford 82), S Crabb, Gore, Lovett (Vickers 70), Austin, Dixon (M Crabb 70), Wheeler (Fergany 64), Walder (Cooper 82), Olorunda (D Smith 64), N Crabb (Godfrey 82), Logan (Treleaven 64).
UNUSED SUBS: Kay, Schaaf.
BHA XI: Walton (G Smith 46), Barry, Hunt, Asmundsson (Collar 88), Lall (Harris 58), Rea, Deen (Rowe-Hurst 64), Benham (Horncastle 58), Agdestein, Starkey, Muitt (Davis 73).
UNUSED SUB: Wiltshire.
Match report by Tom Harper.