A Bank Holiday Sussex derby, a four-figure crowd at The Dripping Pan for the first time in ages – it had to be a goalless draw, didn’t it?
In fairness, even if the goals dried up faster than the Harvey’s pumps (the new bar had a temporary drought half an hour before kick-off), the entertainment didn’t. It was a decent game with both sides nudging for a winner right until the end. And Lewes had the better chances, even if Horsham had many more of them.
The Rooks should have had a penalty in the opening minutes, when Ollie Tanner was tripped in the box but the (otherwise excellent) referee decided it was a bit early for anything as controversial as a penalty.
Let’s hope Freddie Parker hasn’t got work in the morning, either, as he won’t be getting much sleep tonight thinking about the free header he failed to connect with just yards from the goal, after some splendid work from De-Graft down the right-hand side.
However, it was definitely the visitors who won the first half on points and they missed big chances of their own too. None better than when Rob O’Toole rolled Mitchell Nelson and put through Luke Robinson, only for the winger to slam the chance wide of Carey’s far post. Danger Luke Robinson? Not on that evidence, although he caused Carlse problems all afternoon.
In fact, poor finishing was Horsham’s downfall. If they produced one of those fancy Sky Sports shot maps of where the ball ended up after each attempt, Horsham would need to licence the data for Kent from Ordnance Survey. Tom Day had two shots that were a threat to passing aircraft by himself.
If Horsham were profligate in front of our goal, they were majestic in front of their own. Their defending was excellent from start to finish, and even when they had to replace the crocked Gary Charman (now in his mid-fifties, according to Kev The Stat) with recent Rook recruit Alex Malins, they snuffed out danger magnificently.
Indeed, the Rooks only had one other great chance late in the second half, when Joe Taylor spun Malins and forced Sam Howes to save smartly, low to his right.
A good point? Against a well-organised, strong Horsham side that’s been together for a good few years now, yes, you’d probably have to say so.
Let’s not pile too much pressure on Tony Russell’s Rooks. There might be some on the board talking of instant promotion pushes, but as Tony pleaded in the Progcast notes, it takes time – not just a sudden outburst of quantitative easing – to build a proper team.
Lewes: Carey, Colombie, Carlse, Nelson, Wearie, Klass, Tanner, Olukoga, Taylor, Parker, Coleman De-Graft
Subs: D’Arienzo, Yao, Dent, Allen, Ojo
Match video highlights:
James Boyes’ brilliant photos: