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Sunday, January 28, 2018
Smith's Assist Helps Lewes To A Draw

A last-minute goal from Frankie Chappell helped Jonte Smith and his Lewes teammates salvage a point against promotion-chasing Walton Casuals in a game played in terrible conditions at the Pan reports Tom Harper.

Darren Freeman named an unchanged side after last week’s impressive 2-1 win at Cray Wanderers, with Lewes looking for their fourth consecutive league win.

There were no chances of note for either team early on, as both sets of players looked to get accustomed to the torrential rain that was already making it very difficult to play the ball on the ground.

The visitors had the first chance of the game midway through the half, as Josh Kelly latched onto an under-hit pass-back from Frankie Chappell but shot wide with only Chris Winterton to beat.

Winterton was forced into his first action of the game minutes later, getting down well at his near post to help a curling effort from Youseff Bamba behind for a corner.

After struggling to create any chances throughout the first half, Lewes enjoyed a bright spell just before the break, with Gus Sow drawing a smart save from Denzel Gerrar after a purposeful run into the box.

Lewes went close to taking the lead again on the stroke of half-time, but saw James Hammond’s long-range effort go just over after Casuals had been unable to clear a corner.

Both sides struggled with the conditions at the start of the second half as although the ball was rolling without too many problems on both wings, the center of the pitch had become almost unplayable, with any passes around the center circle holding up after hours of heavy rain.

Despite this, the visitors took the lead after 67 minutes through Kelly, who made light of the egregious conditions by going on a mazy run past several defenders before sending a fine finish from the left-hand side of the area across Winterton and into the bottom corner.

With chances having been few and far between up until this point, Lewes fans could have been forgiven for thinking that they may find it difficult to find an equalizer, especially with how well Casuals had defended throughout the game.

If anything, the visitors continued to look the more likely scorers, as substitute Joshua Oyinsan sent a powerful effort from a difficult angle straight at Winterton.

Casuals thought they should have been awarded a penalty with minutes remaining, with Oyinsan appearing to be pushed after getting in behind the Lewes defence. Thankfully for the majority of the impressive crowd of 648, referee Daniel Austin waved play on.

Lewes made the most of this in the final minute of normal time, as Smith headed a Leon Redwood cross from the left back across goal for Chappell to finish from close range and salvage a point that had seemed unlikely after falling behind midway through the half.

Both teams looked to find a winning goal once the game was eventually restarted, with the visitors convinced Chappell had been in an offside position when he guided the ball past Gerrar, but there were no clear-cut chances and the spoils were shared.
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