As described in our Dulwich Hamlet match report, the season is a long one and it can be a rollercoaster. We come into Saturday's home game sitting in 6th place but having lost two league matches on the bounce, knowing that the next match against Lewes could be the one to reverse these fortunes and push on up the league. Last time we faced Lewes, we were in a similar situation, looking to bounce back after a string of three defeats, and we took a 2-1 victory in East Sussex.
Since the COVID-affected seasons, Lewes have featured heavily in the playoff hunt in those two seasons, having finished sixth last season, missing out on a playoff spot on goal difference and seventh the year before, 6 points adrift. As it stands this season, Lewes are 9th but only 4 points off Enfield Town in the final playoff spot with two games in hand. The Blues are sat in 6th place, 3 places and 3 points above Lewes having played one game more than Saturday's opponents. As such, Saturday feels like a vital match in shaping the run-in, despite it only just being February and with over one-third of the season still to go.
Did you know? In 2017, Lewes FC became the first professional or semi-professional club in the world to introduce equal playing budgets for their men and women's side. Lewes FC Women currently play in the Women's Championship, the second tier of the women's game, alongside the likes of Crystal Palace and Blackburn Rovers.
Head To Head
Back in November, Wingate managed to secure a 2-1 win over Lewes at the Dripping Pan thanks to an 87th minute winner from Anointed Chukwu after Ahmet Biler's first goal for the club had levelled the match. Last season’s games against Lewes yielded one point from a possible six, as an opening day 1-1 draw thanks to a goal from Dylan Kearney was followed by a 5-0 thumping in East Sussex on a cold Tuesday night in January.
Last Time Out
In their last six matches, Lewes and Wingate & Finchley have equal records; 3 wins, 1 draw and 2 defeats. In the last couple of weeks, Lewes lost 5-0 at promotion-chasing Billericay before beating struggling Margate 4-2, and most recently losing 3-1 to fellow playoff hopefuls Carshalton Athletic on Tuesday night, a 67th minute Ryan Gondoh penalty for the hosts proving to be just a consolation.
It is not a dissimilar situation for the Blues, as we come into the game on the back of consecutive defeats to Dulwich and Cray, with a 5-1 win at home to Whitehawk before that. Everything suggests a very evenly-poised and competitive fixture on Saturday with both teams keen to take all three points!
Players To Watch
Kalvin Lumbombo-Kalala is Lewes’ top goalscorer this season with 13 goals. Having made a fast start to the season, with six goals in seven games, he has rediscovered his scoring boots in recent weeks with seven in his last eight games, with nothing in between these hot streaks. The French winger has previously played for Torquay in the National League and NLS, and the Blues will need to be at their best to keep him out. Chipping in with goals from midfield is veteran midfielder Chris Whelpdale who has over 300 EFL appearances to his name for Peterborough, Gillingham and Stevenage.
For the Blues, we have gone without scoring for consecutive league games for the first time this season so all eyes will be on the attacking players to ensure that the home fans are treated to the excellent attacking football that we've become used to this season.
Tickets for adults can be purchased in advance here or on the gate. Concession tickets can be purchased on the gate with valid ID and Under 18s go FREE! Photos courtesy of Martin Addison