Lewes Men's 4s County trophy winners at fortress Southdown
Lewes retained their 4th XI trophy in the most dramatic match of the Finals weekend at the Southdown Club in front of a large crowd.
It might have been an early start at 9.30 am on Sunday but the two sides played out a hard fought and skilfull final with fortunes fluctuating throughout. Brighton are in a league higher than Lewes and the early exchanges reflected this with the hosts unable to get any rhythm and Brighton using their pace up front and ball speed to unsettle the hosts. After fifteen minutes Brighton scored direct from a penalty corner but Lewes responded quickly with Martyn Stillman and James Coplestone prominent and five minutes later Andy Green deftly deflected in a hard pass from Ben Godwin from the top of the circle to equalise. Despite further pressure Lewes could not get in front and then two goals from Brighton just before half time appeared to have changed the course of the final. Firstly another short corner was converted and then hesitancy in the Lewes defence allowed Brighton to make it 3-1 with a high flick into the roof of the goal.
Lewes knew they needed the next goal to have any chance of winning and upped the intensity pushing back the Brighton defence at the start of the half and creating three penalty corners but they were unable to convert any of them. Brighton became frustrated at the pressure they were under and had two temporary suspensions and Lewes took advantage with Danny Poulsen scoring from the top of the circle to make it 3-2 and when Brighton were back to eleven players Will Champness scored with a powerful shot direct from a penalty corner to level the scores. Brighton then pushed players forward but the Lewes defence including Simon Forster and Ed Cade together with goalkeeper Chris Sharpe stood firm and with just ten minutes remaining skipper Rob Heinzl picked up a loose ball on the edge of the circle and although not one of his best strikes it still found its way into the goal for the winner.
The final minutes saw the Lewes defence under more pressure but they held out to deservedly retain their trophy on their second half performance.
Report by Paul Spruce