“Moving the ball on the floor now Frase you’re a bird of paradise
Brinky’s Pink and yellow Nike’s that he believes are very nice
With a step to the left and a flick to the right Nicky Wheeler’s way out wide
He know he’s something special although some think Luke’s the best
It’s name is RIO, it means no more practicing on sand
No longer will we have the disappointment of training being canned
And when it’s built it will sit sort of behind the Main Stand
Oh Rio, Rio you are the future of the Dripping Pan
We’ve seen them at Maidstone and we’ve seen them overseas on TV
A new 3G pitch will mean so much to the Rooks
Like a cup run or a transfer deal
But owned by the fans, the owners and of course especially you
Welcome back to the Dripping Pan for the start of another season of highs and lows, of excitement and boring bits, of goals and misses, of poor and hilarious refereeing decisions (depending on whether it was in our favour or not). But this is no ordinary season in the history of Lewes Football club. The conversations, dreams, arguments and blue sky thinking relating to the redevelopment of the Dripping Pan finally moved off the drawing board last season and into the planning phase. Thanks to the hard work of a few, the majority stand to enjoy new facilities by the end of the season….that is depending on getting the final funding parts in place. We’ve filled in every grant application, found funding from the most obscure pots and now just need the contributions of the great and good from the Lewes faithful. So near yet so far.
After the bruising encounter at Witham on Saturday, we regrouped at The Pan for our first home game of the season. With the ground looking absolutely tip-top after a summer make over, all we needed was the sun to shine and the football to flow on the pitch. Two issues – heavy rain was forecast for 8pm and David Spain was our referee. Remember him? Most Lewes fans do for a number of reasons, none of the good. One day we would surely be talking about the positives in a game he officiated in?
If the choice of referee wasn’t a bad enough omen, the beaming face of “Jonah” Marber in the bar as I walked in was almost enough for me to turn straight back around and drive home. His record in recent years read LDLDLLD. Surely the combination of rain, Spain and Marber wouldn’t be the unholy trinity?
Lewes 2 AFC Hornchurch 2 – Wednesday 13th August 2014 – The Dripping Pan
Where to start on this one? The rain arrived 15 minutes early, just as we made our way around to the Jungle. Within a minute it was so heavy that it had us all running for cover. All? Not quite. Messrs Lamb and Williams, discussing a new idea for Come Dine With Me featuring married couples and their secret lovers, where the illicit affair would be revealed over dessert, stayed on the terraces. Hardcore fans to the end.
No sooner had we taken our spot under cover than the main talking point of the game happened. Even 24 hours after the game it is hard to believe what actually happened. Hornchurch won a free-kick, somewhat fortunately, on the left-hand touchline close to the half-way line. The free-kick was hit long and whilst the ball was in the air the referee blew his whistle. The players “stood down” putting no pressure on keeper Banks as he caught the ball. All of the players turned away and started walking back up field, obeying the whistle for the free-kick (although no one actually knew what he had blown for). Banks threw the ball on the floor, Hornchurch’s centre-back, still up for the original kick walked up to the ball, dribbled it to the left and put it in the net. No-one could believe he had awarded the goal. The Hornchurch bench stood amazed, the Lewes bench and players went ballistic, the referee ran around the pitch like Benny Hill, being chased by people wanting to slap him on the head. But the goal stood.
The injustice of the goal seriously affected the Rooks. They lost their head and their game plan. Twenty minutes later it was two-nil when Tuohy turned the ball in from close range. Half-time couldn’t come soon enough. A posse was sent to search out Mr. Marber and eject him from the ground but he had gone to ground.
The second half didn’t start much better for the Rooks until they made a couple of tactical changes, throwing on the pace of Crabb and Romain. Fifteen minutes to go and Romain’s persistence saw a great ball played across the box and Nick Wheeler smashed the ball home. Hope.
With the clock ticking down towards the 90th minute Lewes hit a hopeful free-kick into the area. Somewhere in there the assistant referee saw an infringement and flagged for a penalty. We’d already discussed the possibility of a “soft” penalty being given to even things up and here it was. Cool as a cucumber Luke Blewden stepped up and smashed it home. 2-2.
Did we deserve a draw? Probably not based on the whole game. We were poor after we conceded the first goal until the substitution in the second half. Did the rain have an impact? Nope. Was the presence of Mr. Marber a factor? Not really. And the referee? Well, I’ll leave that for you to decide.