Grier's Guide to Lewes
When: Saturday 23 March 2019, 3.00pm kick-off.
The town: Delightful historic town set in the rolling hills of the South Downs. Well known for its annual bonfire celebrations, which take over the town with a cacophony of light and noise. Celebrity effigies are burned every year, with last year's including Theresa May, Boris Johnson and a 'ghost train' to represent the town's long-running dissatisfaction with its local rail services.
The ground: The Dripping Pan, Mountfield Road, Lewes, BN7 2XA. Perhaps the most picturesque ground in the league with views over the South Downs. It has a large terrace at one end and a small one at the other, along with a long main stand.
Directions: Way back in August an eagle-eyed Ks fan first noticed that the trains to Lewes would be off for our game due to a major project to upgrade the Brighton Main Line. But after months of debating alternative options it now appears they'll be running after all, taking exactly an hour from Clapham Junction. Check online for the latest news from National Rail though in case anything changes at the last minute - if it does then a replacement bus from Three Bridges or Haywards Heath is likely to be required.
Our record there: 2004 saw despair as Kim Harris' side missed out on a place in Conference South by losing the playoff final 1-0. More recent visits have been happier though, with late winners sending the Ks fans delirious on two of our last four visits - Paul Vines in the first game and then Ricky Sappleton in the second.
Recent form: It will be a clash between two teams who were chasing promotion but have now seen their seasons collapse. Lewes currently sit eleventh although they were as high as second until a recent spell of seven games without a win. They broke that unwanted run with a 2-0 win away to Corinthian-Casuals only to lose 4-0 at Folkestone last weekend.
Players to watch: Top scorer Jonte Smith is a current Bermuda international, left for League One side Oxford United in January. He scored for Lewes in their 2-1 defeat to us earlier in the season.
Crowd: Lewes' crowds are the second highest in the league and Ks fans tend to travel to there in huge numbers which can make for a great atmosphere. Most of the fans are also shareholders under their community ownership scheme. Under community ownership they became the first, and possibly only, club in England to pay their men's and women's teams equally. The women's team plays in the Championship where their opponents include Man United and Spurs.
Drinking: As you arrive at Lewes station the first thing you see is the Harvey's Brewery, setting the tone for a town that is well-known among Ks fans for the quality and quantity of its pubs. Harvey's Best is more or less ubiquitous, including at the ground.
The closest pub to the station is The Lansdown, where if the weather is decent Ks fans are likely to be spilling out onto the street as kick-off approaches. Just up the hill is The Royal Oak, which looks as if it's been given a smart refit since our last visit and has replaced its cheap and cheerful menu with a more upmarket offering.
Further up the hill are The Lamb, a large pub with a long bar that sometimes has live music, and the historic Lewes Arms, a centuries-old pub that is an atmospheric rabbit warren of small rooms. Just down the other side of the hill comes The Elephant and Castle, which will be your best bet if there's a game on TV that you want to catch. All five of these pubs are within ten minutes' walk of the ground.
There are plenty more pubs to explore within walking distance if you have the time; you can head either west along the High Street or east down to Cliffe High Street to find more options
Food: Decent fare on offer at the ground, and in the town's many pubs. The nearby High Street has a variety of proper restaurants..