A disappointing performance saw Lewes suffer a 2-0 defeat at Faversham Town on a sweltering day in Kent, a result which means they will have to better Carshalton Athletic’s result on the final day of the season to win the Bostik South title reports Tom Harper.
Darren Freeman made three changes to the side that beat East Grinstead 2-0 in their previous game, with James Hammond, Charlie Coppola and Billy Medlock replacing Bouwe Bosma, Harry Reed and Ronnie Conlon in the starting line-up.
Lewes got off to a poor start by falling behind after just nine minutes, as a low cross from the right was converted from close range by Mobolaji Dawodu after some hesitant defending.
Despite being safe in lower mid-table, the hosts were comfortably the better side during the opening stages, with Chris Winterton forced into a smart save to keep out a powerful Benjamin Chapman effort prevent them doubling their lead.
The Rooks began to gain more of a foothold in the game as the half progressed and tested Simon Overland in the Faversham goal for the first time through Omarr Lawson, whose long-range strike was pushed round the post.
Faversham nearly made the most of this let-off minutes later but saw Renford Tenyue blaze a close-range effort over the bar after Dawodu had dispossessed Leon Redwood.
Lewes finished the half more positively, as Charlie Coppola went close twice, before Lloyd Cotton saw a header from a Redwood cross kept out by Overland.
The Rooks saw plenty of the ball during the opening stages of the second half without creating any clear-cut opportunities and were fortunate to stay in the game when the unmarked Dawodu missed the target from a Chapman corner.
As news began to filter through around the hour mark from just down the road in Sittingbourne that Carshalton had fallen behind, the Rooks unsurprisingly started to push forward in search of an equaliser that would put the fate of the title back in their hands heading into the final day of the season.
Their best chance fell to substitute Ronnie Conlon, as his far-post effort was saved by the feet of Overland after a superb cross from the right by Billy Medlock.
Overland was called into action again minutes later, parrying a powerful Gus Sow strike from the edge of the area before keeping out Jonte Smith’s effort on the rebound with the help of a covering defender.
Lewes were continuing to see plenty of the ball heading into the closing stages, but saw countless crosses headed clear by the Faversham defence and several efforts from the edge of the area blocked.
With so many players pushing forward there was always a chance the Rooks would get caught out at the back and this was the case in the final minute of normal time, as the ball was squared across the area for Harry Stannard to finish from close range to double Faversham’s lead.
Lewes still could have pulled a goal back during injury-time, but saw Jamie Brotherton miss the target from a tight angle after latching onto a scuffed shot from Smith with the last chance of the game.
This was a disappointing result for Lewes, who got off to a poor start and found it difficult to create clear-cut chances all afternoon against a resolute and well-organised Faversham side, a point made by boss Darren Freeman when he spoke to Barry Collins post-match.
The Rooks finish their season when they host Chipstead at the Pan next Saturday, knowing that bettering Carshalton Athletic’s result would see them crowned Bostik South champions. Kick-off is at 3pm.
Faversham Town: Overland, Barnard, Monger, Walder, Bourne, Cheek, Griffiths (Stannard 34), Chapman, Dawodu (Miller 78), Harvey (Carrington 90), Tenyue.
Unused Subs: Lee, Benham.
Lewes: Winterton, Brinkhurst, Redwood, Hammond (Conlon 53), Chappell, Cotton (Brotherton 87), Medlock, Sow, Smith, Lawson, Coppola (Elliott 70).
Unused Subs: Bosma, Reed.
Booked: Winterton, Cotton, Medlock.