With some interesting and affordable pre-season friendly matches commencing next month, I thought that I would look back to my first visit to Lewes FC four years ago. This game was played the following day after the infamous Training Ground shambles. Not only were the players and coaching staff denied access to certain areas, but a vigorous counter-campaign was launched on the message boards against me and the few fans that spoke out at the time. Amazingly, this has continued intermittently ever since !!!
Team: Thomas, Goode, Hislop, Tchakounte, Munday, Evatt, Doherty, Bailey, Moore, Baidoo, Donnelly.
Subs: Trialist keeper, Cousins, Howell, Romone Rose and Ray Jones
Ronnie Hill drove down in the morning with Alan Barnes and Martin Botwright. Too early for me unfortunately but I managed to get a late offer of a lift in the afternoon.
Lewes FC was formed in 1885 and the ground is interestingly known as ‘The Dripping Pan’. This unusual name possibly comes from the days when monks used to pan for salt in the River Ouse. Construction of a small Stand had begun on an otherwise empty side of the ground and on the opposite side the advertising banners were laid out across the grass bank. In 2004/05, Lewes joined the newly formed Nationwide Conference South after leaping up two divisions courtesy of the play-offs. Lewis Hamilton who had looked promising just two years previously, was the home side’s number two.
It was a scrappy affair from the outset and Tommy Doherty was soon booked following a head-to-head incident. He continued to be wound up and the word was that the referee had suggested to the Rangers bench at one point, that they should take him off ! Towards the end of a very poor half, Sean Thomas was harshly adjudged to have conceded a penalty when he had clearly got his hands to the ball. Following the players remonstrations with the referee, Doherty was shown a second yellow and he trudged off and sat on the bench. It didn’t end there unfortunately, upon the half-time whistle, he returned to the pitch and headed in the direction of the referee to continue the argument !!! I wouldn’t have thought that Justin Skinner, the Reserve Team Manager, was very impressed with that !!!
There was no programme issued but Martin managed to obtain a few team sheets at half-time and it was good of him to bring one over to me. All the subs were used during the second period, but I have to say that the Rangers performance deteriorated unfortunately. One of the few good chances came from a well struck shot hit low by Evatt which the keeper managed to save well and then turn it round for a corner. Lewes scored a second goal from a tight angle and later they also hit the crossbar. The home fans were singing, “We’d Rather Watch the Worthing.” The attendance was given as 604 which included quite a few unhappy Rangers fans.