Rooks stop rot as four goals see off Cray’s challenge

Steven Brinkhurst Cray goal
Steven Brinkhurst Cray goal

A clinical attacking performance helped Lewes return to winning ways in the Ryman Premier, as they saw off lowly Cray Wanderers on Wednesday evening (November 20).

Steve Brinkhurst opened the scoring, Jay Lovett added a brace and Dan Smith scored a fourth goal for the hosts, before a late consolation from Cray’s Jack Clark.

Despite the convincing win, assistant manager Danny Bloor challenged the Rooks to push on, insisting this time of year ‘sorts the men from the boys’.

He said: “We are in the latter part of November now - this is where you have to roll your sleeves up. You get injuries, people have colds and it sorts the men from the boys.”

The much-needed three points follows two league defeats, and pushes Lewes up to sixth in the table.

However, first half injuries suffered by Andy Pearson and Jack Walder came as blows to a squad already featuring injury absentees.

Bloor said despite Cray sitting 23rd in the table, ‘you can’t take anything for granted’. He said: “Having lost two league games, and with the injuries we have, you can’t take anything for granted.

“They have had some good results and some poor results. We had to do the job and we did. We went at them from the word go - we hit the woodwork twice early and their goalie made a good save.”

Two-goal Lovett replaced the crocked Pearson after 22 minutes, and Bloor explained that squad rotation was the reason behind the veteran starting from the bench.

The assistant said: “We took the opportunity to rest Jay, just as we did with Ben (Austin) last weekend.

“Ben and Jay are no spring chickens, but if we are picking our strongest side, they would probably be in it.

“Garry (Wilson, manager) and I have to manage a squad now, not just 11 players, so we have to use all the players.”

Bloor labelled the injuries to Pearson and Walder as ‘disappointing’, but it did mean Rooks supporters had the opportunity to see 17-year-old Josh Marshall - a player very highly rated by staff - make his senior debut as the replacement for Walder.

Bloor said: “I have no doubt he is going to be a very good player.

“He acquitted himself well and I find him a very pleasant young man - he listens well, and we have high hopes for him.”

The four-goal haul helps to ease doubts about Lewes’ ability in front of goal, but Bloor was keen to focus on tomorrow’s (Saturday November 23) clash with Kingstonian.

The Rooks’ opponents are second in the standings and have won seven of their eight home games in the league this season. Bloor added: “If you look at the table people might say we haven’t scored enough goals this season.

“Scoring four goals is great but it is history now and we look for ward to Kingstonian on Saturday. It should be a tough game, they are riding high and we are focusing on giving it our all.”