A week ago they were down and out but what a difference seven days can make in football. Before last Saturday’s game at Worcester, Lewes hadn’t won away for near fifteen months, and trialled Worcester City in 19th (and safety) in the Blue Square South by five points. Another defeat last Saturday would have left them 8 points behind their nearest rivals with just four games to go. But instead a win at St Georges Lane, followed up with a home draw to St Albans City had the talk of safety the topic of the day in the “Jungle” at The Dripping Pan today.
Fast forward 90 minutes and Lewes had overhauled the points difference with a magnificent 5-0 win, their biggest home win for many a month. And with Chelmsford City beating Worcester, Lewes’s fate is now totally in their hands. And I had been there to witness it….just.
Two hours prior to kick off I was sitting in Bluewater cinema watching Nanny McPhee with seven girls under the age of ten. An hour before I was stuck in a traffic jam on the M23 and when Joe Keehan slotted in his thirteenth of the season from the penalty spot in the ninth minute I was still in West Sussex. But I carried on, which is just what Lewes under the inspirational leadership of Steve “Ibbo” Ibbitson have done since Christmas. This is a man who reluctantly took the job towards the end of last season when the club were down and out in the Blue Square Premier league, and has carried on with his duties FREE OF CHARGE for the whole of this season. Yes, here is a man who genuinely loves his club so much that he works for nothing. And in the past few weeks some of his decisions have been inspirational.
Lewes 5 Dorchester Town 0 – The Dripping Pan – Saturday 17th April
Fortunately Keehan’s penalty was the only bit of action we missed, and we were safely on the Jungle with a beer in hand when Keehan headed home his and Lewes’s second just before the break. There are few better places to watch football in England on a sunny day than Lewes’s Dripping Pan, and with some wonderful football and a couple of pints of local Harvey’s the afternoon was complete.
Two became three in 53rd minute when Gradwell scored from close range and five minutes later Breach’s towering header from a corner made it four. The Lewes Lunatic Fringe went understandably wild at this point as news also filtered through that Chelmsford had taken the lead against Worcester. A final solo effort from Sigere recorded Lewes’s biggest score since a 5-0 win at Bognor Regis in August 2008. All of this meant that a win against Bath City on Tuesday would keep Lewes in the Blue Square South for another season. A draw and it may come down to goal difference, but a defeat would mean a few squeaky bottoms next week as Lewes headed off to the sleepy suburbs of Hampton for the final game and an end of season Beach Party. Let’s just hope that it’s not just the tide that ends up going out.
More photos from the game can be found here.