Crawley Town 5-1 Lewes (24:02:09)
So where does this Sussex local derby rank amongst the UK's most passionate!? In my eyes, it comes in third, just behind the Old Firm (Celtic v Rangers) and the Old Farm (Ipswich v Norwich). I flew back from France for this match - well you would wouldn't you!?
I arrived in Crawley eleven (!) hours before the game. Actually, this was because despite the fact I follow Lewes, I work in Crawley, near to Gatwick Airport if anyone is interested - I'm not. With work done it was time for the big match. However - in true EFW style - with it being 'Thirsty Tuesday' we were in need of beer and plenty of it.
I met up with the gang (Cynical Dave and Big Deaks) in the pub of their dreams, The White Hart in the old part of Crawley. Dreamy in that it sold Harvey's at £2.50 a pint. Harvey's is a beer brewed in Lewes - this was clearly a sign. Victory in the Sussex derby would be ours - Cheers!
After a couple of hours we (reluctantly) left the White Hart and made our way to the Broadfield Stadium. We couldn't help but pop into the Half Moon pub 600 yards from the ground first though and likewise we were helpless when it came to downing a few pints in CTFC's own Redz Bar just before kick off.
Lewes had gone ten games without a win so drastic measures were called for. So with that in mind I wore my lucky red Fred Perry shirt. Lucky in that the last time I wore it - Lewes scored a goal (Joe Keehan's immense strike away to Oxford).
The Rooks plans to keep things tight at the back and possibly park a bus in front of the Crawley goal lasted precisely 120 seconds. That's all it took for Crawley to open the scoring when John Shaw popped one in after good work from the more than useful Danny Forest. In fact by the time we'd walked around and taken our positions behind the goal, we were two down. Lewes gave away their mandatory penalty - happens every game these days - and Sam Rents converted.The goals in this game -like a horny baker - were coming in a roll.
In previous games, Lewes have claimed an absence of natural justice, in this match however they were - in the managers own words - 'pathetic'. Only in the first half mind you, in which they conceded (say it quickly) four times. 0-4 at half time then *sigh*.
Keehan scored for the Rooks which justified me wearing my luck red Fred Perry. There were also a couple of other plus points for Lewes. David Wheeler is the gift that keeps on giving. He came out with credit as did Stefan Cox who clearly has a Coca-Cola Soccer Skills badge. Late on however, Crawley completed the humiliation with Adam Quinn joining the home fiesta with a tap in to make it 5-1. Five bloody one.
There were a couple of reasons to raise an eyebrow during the evening. Firstly, the crowd was bobbins. Only 600 turned up (83 from Lewes). Like George W Bush with a model plane kit, the stay away fans were glued to the box - watching the Champions League. Also, the stadium announcements were accompanied by what seemed to be canned applause being pumped out through the speakers. I'll put the later down to me having had a few beers because surely that didn't happen.
There was more disappointment upon our return home to Brighton after the match. The dreaded quiz night was taking place at EFW HQ which mean we had to go to our backup pub The Prince Albert. Discussions naturally turned to who'd be having the pleasure of our company next. Hampton and Richmond v Eastliegh in top of the table Conference South clash!? Not arf - see you there.