Lewes fight back against Bognor to lift CP Mason Cup
Lewes edged an enthralling encounter over Bognor Regis Town at Culver Road on Sunday afternoon despite falling behind to the Rocks in the first-half.
Lewes eventually found their feet in the second half with captain, Oliver Cowdrey’s well-struck penalty pulling them level and a free-kick from Finley Miles which turned the final Lewes’ way.
The game began with the attackers from both sides crowding the central spaces. Lewes’s Kallum Fuller-Thompson slotted himself between Bognor’s centre-back pairing of George Coe and Harrison Hughes, linking the play for fellow forwards Callum Erskine and Phillip Tatum efficiently.
Bognor pressed with high intensity throughout the first half. Liam Murphy’s feint, run and shot from range sailed over, as Bognor controlled the midfield. Murphy showed immense composure on the ball from the base of midfield.
Lewes’s Central Attacking Midfielder Omar Abdsami caught the eye, repeatedly winning the ball back and launching counterattacks.
Both teams threw masses forward at any set-piece opportunity. Lewes were a menace from long throws. An overhead attempt by Fuller-Thompson from a throw-in prompted an outstanding save from Archie Short.
Bognor then imposed themselves on the game with a series of chances. Isaac Glanfield had a glorious opportunity to open the scoring after a mistake from the Lewes defence, but the forward shot straight at keeper Callum Monks.
Evan Bengough-Drake won Bognor a corner in the 27th minute, which was brilliantly converted for the opener. Isaac Glanfield floated in a perfectly weighted corner and Hughes made excellent contact, handing Bognor the lead.
Towards the end of the first half, both sides struggled to stitch passes together, as promising attacks fizzled out.
Both teams ramped up the physicality in the second half and this suited Lewes’s style of play. The Rooks searched for the equalizer and started creating chances, mainly from set-pieces, but could not capitalize on their superiority in the air.
Abdsami tested Archie Short twice in quick succession, but the Bognor keeper was up to the task on both occasions. Oliver Cowdrey, who was commanding in the air defensively, miscued his header over from a Miles corner. The crowd got into the action, sensing the momentum shifting Lewes’s way.
Lewes finally managed to break the stubborn Bognor defence, winning a penalty in the 54th minute. Captain Oliver Cowdrey stepped up and calmly slotted the ball into the bottom-right corner and Lewes had their equalizer.
Lewes piled on the pressure, winning some streaky fouls. Five minutes after levelling, they took the lead through Finley Miles. An elaborate free-kick routine from a dangerous area resulted in the versatile winger finding himself within shooting range. Miles blasted his shot into the far-corner past Short and the Lewes fans erupted in joy.
Erskine was a bundle of energy, his pace being a handful for the Bognor defence. Hughes had to pull out last-ditch tackle to deny Fuller-Thompson a shot, after Erskine fed the forward with a sublime through ball. Bognor captain Rio Long showed good defensive awareness from right-back and shadowed the dangerous Phillip Tatum.
Having secured the lead, Lewes comfortably saw the game home. Manager Dale Hurley said post-match, “Being 1-0 down at half-time was frustrating. Just said to the boys to play your football and do the right things. The winning goal was a set-piece routine we worked on, and it was nice, as they take in all instructions."
(A selection of photographs can be found on Facebook - courtesy of Simon Roe Photography)
(Video highlights are available above and on YouTube - courtesy of Your Instant Replay)
Stats: (Lewes-Bognor Regis Town) Goals (2-1); Shots (8-6); Shots on Target (4-2); Fouls (8-8); Offsides (3-1); Yellow Cards (0-1)
Lewes: Monks, Abdsami, Janneh, Miles, Cowdrey, McKay, Fuller-Thompson, Tatum, Knight, Erskine, Deda.
Subs: Boardman, Wilson, Eichler, Clompus.
Bognor Regis Town: Short, Long, Murphy, Smith, Bengough-Drake, Glanfield, Scott, Coe, Hughes, Andrews, Rayner.
Subs: Mucha, Merritt, Horstead, Rampton.
Match Report by Sathvik Bharadwaj