Lewes match report
match report by Rupert Cane
Kingstonian left the Rooks reeling by grabbing a 97th-minute equaliser and, in the process, significantly denting the hosts’ chances of making the play-offs.
Earlier in the season this fixture looked like a big one not just for its phenomenal away day potential but in the hunt for promotion from the Isthmian Premier Division. However, both teams had seriously wobbled since Kingstonian’s 4-2 win over Lewes in early January, particularly the K’s who had nothing but pride to play for.
Lewes started the day outside the top five but started the better and took the lead through Deshane Dalling’s speculate strike from range that the hitherto flawless Julian Schwarzer let slip through his grasp.
Hayden Bird changed shape at half-time to help his team threaten Lewes more in the second period. It worked a treat and led to a topsy-turvy half of football in front of over 1000 enthralled spectators basking in the Sussex sunshine.
Simon Cooper won a near-post header from a corner, flicking it on to an unmarked Ollie Cook. He couldn’t miss. 1-1 on 57 minutes.
Lewes came roaring back knowing three points were pivotal if they were to keep their play-off hopes alive. Schwarzer made two fine saves to keep us level, but there was nothing he could do on 70 minutes when Joe Taylor headed in Coleman De-Graft’s inviting right-wing cross.
Back K’s came. Within six minutes of Taylor’s goal, the excellent Walter Figueira fired us level with an accurate drive from the edge of the box.
The contest opened up as both teams sought a winning goal. Shortly after Mitchell Nelson was shown a second yellow card with four minutes remaining, sub Daniel Ajakaiye broke clear onto Figueira’s pass but couldn’t get a shot away.
We had an escape of our own when Ollie Tanner cut inside and blasted a shot against the inside of Schwarzer’s post. It bounced to safety, but not for long as a rash Kenny Beaney challenge earned the Rooks a penalty two minutes into stoppage time.
Taylor send Schwarzer the wrong way but the scoring wasn’t done there! K’s launched one last attack, and Kershaney Samuels’ searching left-wing cross forced Michael Klass into an awkward header. It bounced beyond Lewis Carey into the net, sparking familiar scenes of pandemonium among K’s fans at the open end of the Dripping Pan, sealing an unlikely point, and ensuring we will have another trip to Lewes to look forward to next season.
Lewes: Lewis Carey, Juevan Spencer, Tom Carlse, Will Salmon, Mitchell Nelson, Casey Pettit, Michael Klass, Bradley Pritchard, Deshane Dalling, Razz Coleman De-Graft, Joe Taylor.
Subs: Ayo Olukoga, Tom Phipp (for Casey Pettit, 74m), Taylor Maloney (for Bradley Pritchard, 62m), TQ Addy, Ollie Tanner (for Tom Carlse, 62m)
Kingstonian: Julian Schwarzer. Nyren Clunis, Simon Cooper, Alfie Young, Ollie Cook, Kenny Beaney, Alex Addai, Gus Sow, Walter Figueira, D'sean Theobalds, Teo Kurtaran.
Subs: Daniel Ajakaiye (for Teo Kurtaran, 57m), Kershaney Samuels (for Nyren Clunis, 57m), Eze Ebuzoeme, Lewis Pearch (for Alex Addai, 77m), Mason Whitnell.
Red card: Mitchell Nelson (86m, second bookable)
Goal scorers: Deshane Dalling (27m, 1-0), Ollie Cook (57m, 1-1), Joe Taylor (70m, 2-1), Walter Figueira (76m, 2-2), Joe Taylor (90+1m pen, 2-2), Michael Klass (90+7m og, 3-3)