Lewes suffered back-to-back league defeats for the first time this season in a disappointing display against a solid Lowestoft side – although they weren’t helped by player injury or questionable refereeing decisions.
The Rooks went down to two second half goals – from Manny Osei on 50 minutes and Robert Eagle on 73 minutes – but also lost the influential midfielder Jack Dixon through injury, before having Nathan Crabb sent off for a second yellow card for his part in a mass brawl near the end.
Garry Wilson made three changes to the side which had lost 2-1 at Bury Town in midweek. Andy Pearson, Dan Smith and Sam Cole – making his debut having joined on a month’s loan from Eastbourne Borough – came in, while Steve Brinkhurst, Bayan Fenwick and Reece Hall all dropped to the bench.
After a quiet first half, the Trawlerboys were ahead five minutes after the break when a high pass forward from the centre circle was headed down by Sam Gaughran in the area to Osei, who spun well before driving low past Rikki Banks in the Lewes goal.
The Rooks’ nearest effort on goal came moments later when a Nick Wheeler cross was headed against the bar by Smith.
With more than a quarter of the match to go, Lewes suffered a major blow when Dixon came off worse in a challenge in the middle of the park with Andrew Fisk and had to be replaced by Fenwick.
The hosts could have gone 2-0 down moments later when referee Matt Eva gave a penalty for a Pearson challenge on Jake Reed in the box, but Banks pushed away Reed’s poor spot kick.
But any hopes this would galvanise the home side were dashed when, with 17 minutes to go, a good Blues move involving Jack Ainsley, Chris Henderson and Reed led to Eagle netting past Banks.
Soon after that Crabb received his marching orders. Seconds after a disputed drop ball had been given by Mr Eva, a 22-man brawl broke out in the middle of the pitch. As a result of this mass scuffle, Lewes saw Fraser Logan and Walder booked, while Crabb received a second yellow card to go with the one he picked for a first half challenge on Osei. Lowestoft, meanwhile, saw just one player – Fisk – booked for his part in the melee.
Eagle followed Crabb into the dressing rooms soon after for a second yellow card for kicking the ball away – but despite the seven minutes injury-time – Lewes couldn’t threaten the Lowestoft goal and the afternoon ended disappointly for the hosts.
The result saw them drop one place in the Ryman Premier table to eighth. They have a chance to bounce back quickly when hosting Cray Wanderers in another league match on Wednesday this week, kick-off 7.45pm.
LEWES: Banks, S Crabb, Cole, Lovett, Pearson, Walder, Wheeler, Dixon (Fenwick 64), Smith (Hall 71), N Crabb, Logan. Unused Subs: Brinkhurst, Austin, James.
BLUES: Jones, Williams, Smith, Fisk, Haynes-Brown (Henderson 68), Gaughran, Ainsley, Jarvis, Reed (Frew 90), Osei (Ainsley 90), Eagle. Unused Subs: Okay, Jessup.
Referee: Matt Eva. Attendance: 706.