Despite losing 2-1 in the FA Cup 2nd round to Reading, there was a lot for the Rookettes to be proud about on Sunday.
The visitors to the Dripping Pan are currently leading the WPL Southern Division, some 14 points ahead of Lewes – but they were made to work every inch of the way for the right to be in the next round draw.
Lewes keeper Michelle Beazley may well have been given the MVP award and rightly so for some superb saves, particularly in the opening stages, but it certainly wasn’t an afternoon in which the hosts were relying on their keeper to keep them involved.
After an uncertain opening 10 minutes, Lewes really settled into their task and every player played their part, tracking back, tackling, running off the ball, and making space as they took the game to Reading.
When Clare Trafford’s near post header from a corner put Lewes ahead two minutes from the break, it came as no surprise to the crowd of 101 who had seen the Rookettes competing on equal terms as the half wore on.
Reading asked a few more questions after the break but Lewes held firm until the 68th minute when sub Cheryl Williams got the last touch in a goalmouth scramble to pull the Royals level.
After the goal, Reading upped the ante and took the lead only five minutes later when Beazley and Fran Kirby both dived in but striker Fran Kirby got the last touch which also evaded Vicky Elcome on the line. Both keeper and striker had to receive attention which saw Kirby succumb to a fracture and subsequent substitution.
But Lewes heads didn’t drop and the players continued to press ahead for an equaliser, but sadly that wasn’t to be and the Rookettes exited the FA Women’s Cup for another season.
Head of Football Dave Cole was full of praise for his team. “We are putting in some solid performances and I’m confident this squad will get their just rewards over the coming weeks,” he said.
This Sunday (January 13), the Rookettes are away to Women’s National Premier League side Barnet in a League Cup fixture, kick off 1pm at Underhill.