Lewes 1 Thurrock 0.

Jean-Michel Sigere revealed what it meant to him after scoring the goal which sent Lewes four points clear at the top of Blue Square south.

The big Frenchman struck in the sixth minute of injury-time as the Rooks ground out a 1-0 win at home to Thurrock.

It was Sigere's first goal for Lewes since his double at Hayes on April 14 last year and was a special moment for a man who has hardly played this season following a knee operation last August.

This was only his third appearance in Blue Square south this season - all as a substitute - although he did have a month on loan at Horsham.

While he was sidelined for almost five months following his operation, Sigere spoke of his desire to play at part in Lewes' challenge for promotion.

He has done that now and he hopes to continue to chip in as the Rooks battle it out for the title.

Sigere said: "I am really pleased. It could not be a better time to score.

"It was really frustrating because I was out for so long. Now I am fit again, hopefully I can stay fit and continue to play a part.

"As a striker you always want to score goals and I hope to score a few more.

"The reaction of the supporters was lovely. The fans have been fantastic and really helped me after my operation. I was really pleased to score for them."

Lewes have been lauded for the quality of their football this season. Most acknowledge them to be the best football playing side in the division but on Saturday they had to show different qualities.

The Rooks were not at their best, far from it. Maybe it was a case of after the Lord Mayor's show following their tremendous 3-1 win at Newport County the previous Sunday because the football was not pretty.

Earlier in the season it was Eastbourne Borough who were known as the never-say-die' team after a series of late goals earned them important points. Maybe that mantle should be passed to Lewes now after leaving it late for the third game in succession.

Paul Booth hit an 86th-minute winner in their previous home game with Bishop's Stortford, Tom Davis and Gary Holloway struck in the closing stages at Newport and now Sigere has repeated the trick after coming on as a 61st-minute substitute.

Ironically, Lewes conceded a goal in the sixth minute of stoppage time to draw 2-2 with Eastbourne Borough on Boxing Day in a game which many people believe the Rooks deserved to win.

A goal in the sixth minute of added time on Saturday sent Lewes clear at the top of the table Whether they deserved to win is another matter.

Thurrock had the better chances in the second half when home goalkeeper Steve Williams made three good saves but Lewes manager Steven King will argue his side should have had four penalties.

Two of them were stonewall. The first came on 39 minutes when Hamid Barr was sent sprawling as he was about to fire into an empty net. Amazingly, referee Nigel Lugg gave the visitors a free-kick and booked Barr for diving.

It was a bad decision which certainly unsettled the home players and their mood was not improved when a clear handball by Bai Mas Lettejallow in the penalty area in the second half was missed.

Lewes were missing the influential Andy Drury, who failed a pre-match fitness test, plus suspended captain Steve Robinson and it looked like they would fail to win for the fourth time in their last six home games until Sigere swivelled in the penalty area to thump home Simon Wormull's free-kick.

There was a suspicion of handball and goalkeeper David Blackmore became the sixth Thurrock player to be booked when he protested too vehemently but not too many would begrudge Sigere his special moment.

Sigere added: "We knew Eastbourne were losing - we had heard at half-time - so it was a really big three points for us.

"People want to come to our place and make it hard for us but we worked so hard and it was a really big win. You could see that by the reaction of everybody at the end."

Lewes: Williams, Hamilton, Barness, Wormull, Legge, Simpemba, Davis, Holloway, Barr (sub Sigere 61), Booth, Binns. Subs not used: Groves, Hearn, Conroy.

Thurrock: Blackmore, Flynn, Clark, Cole, Paine, Lettejallow, Orilonishe, Lincoln, Stadhart, Bryant (sub Hughes 68), Bodkin. Subs not used: Anderson, Read, Tenkorang, Saunders.

Referee: Nigel Lugg.

Attendance: 752.

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