SUB BILLY MAKES IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Lewes 2 Enfield Town 2
Town put the disappointment of last weekend’s FA Cup exit behind them as they moved up to second in the table, remaining unbeaten in the Bostik League Premier Division.
On a fine September afternoon on a good surface, this was a tight game and a draw was probably about the right outcome. With Lewis Taaffe not recovered from the knock he picked up last Saturday, there was a first start of the season for Ryan Blackman, and Dan Rumens came into the side in place of Taofiq Olomowewe.
With a couple of minutes on the clock, Sam Youngs tried his luck with his left foot from Sam Chaney’s cross but was off target, while two headers from Rumens - one wide and one saved - saw Town press early on. There was a major hold up after Youngs and Harry Reed had clashed heads in the Lewes penalty box; Youngs recovered first, but the unfortunate Reed was carried off. Reports later suggested he was thankfully on the mend.
Approaching the half hour mark, a flowing move down the right involving Michael Dome-Bemwin and former Tonbridge man Luke Blewden ended with Omarr Lawson blazing over and, a minute later, following a trademark run inside by Remi Sutton, Chaney’s snapshot was beaten away by home keeper Lewis Carey. Liam Hope’s header cleared the bar and a low effort from Nico Cotton lacked sufficient power to trouble Joe Wright.
The Rooks had looked more threatening in the final third in the opening half, and they duly notched the game’s opening goal. Frankie Chappell’s pass found Blewden, who crossed from the right and Jonte Smith rose highest at the far post to nod accurately past Wright. During added time Youngs had another effort comfortably saved by Carey, but Wright then kept Town in the game with a fine flying save to his right to keep out a drive from Cotton.
Half-time: Lewes 1 Enfield Town 0
It continued to be an entertaining affair after the break - Blackman firing way over the top, and Wright keeping out a James Hammond piledriver - but clear cut chances remained at a premium. Then, after 58 minutes, the Rooks scored a second goal, which appeared to have gone a significant way towards sealing the points. A slip from Rumens conceded possession in a dangerous area, and as the ball was worked to the left inside a crowded box, sub Charlie Coppola managed to hook the ball over the line.
To their credit, Town refused to admit that the game was up and, after 68 minutes, a good run and cross from Aaron Greene was nodded downwards by Youngs at the back post against a defender and behind for a corner. With around twenty minutes left, manager Andy Leese made a double substitution, which included the introduction of prolific striker Billy Bricknell who, through injury, had yet to make a competitive start for the club. The gamble paid off handsomely.
Coppola set up Cotton, who fired too high, and then Smith played in Coppola but Wright came out to claim the ball in the nick of time. Then, with ten minutes left, a long kick from Wright was nodded on by Sutton and Bricknell, clearly in determined mood, placed the ball perfectly past Carey from the edge of the box on the turn.
Less than sixty seconds later, the former Billericay forward then scored the goal of the game when he latched on to a loose ball and hammered it unerringly past Carey’s despairing dive to his right. Town, having virtually come back from the dead with so little time left, then looked to have picked up enough momentum to go on and win it. But that momentum was halted after a melee broke in midfield, triggered by some wrestling on the ground. Referee Graeme Ions decided he had seen Hatton commit a straight red card offence (the Town defender had already been yellow-carded for an infringement in the lead up to the Rooks’ second goal) and, despite a number of players having raised their hands during the subsequent scuffle, opted not to take any further action.
After this there were no further chances for either side and, given the order and timing of the scoring, Town were obviously the happier of the two camps at the final whistle.
Lewes: Lewis Carey, Michael Dome-Bemwin, Steve Brinkhurst, Omarr Lawson, Frankie Chappell, Leon Redwood, James Hammond, Harry Reed (Frankie Coppola 24), Jonte Smith, Luke Blewden, Nico Cotton. Unused subs: Ross Barclay, Dylan Gifford, Billy Medlock, Alfie Headland.
Enfield Town: Joe Wright, Sam Hatton, Remi Sutton, Matt Johnson (Brandon Adams 64), Dan Rumens, Rian McLean, Ryan Blackman, Sam Youngs, Liam Hope (Billy Bricknell 72), Sam Chaney (Bilal Sayoud 71), Aaron Greene. Unused subs: Taofiq Olomowewe, Mickey Parcell. Booked: Blackman, Hatton, Youngs. Sent off: Hatton.