Yesterday was DFL Day, where supporters from outside Lewes had to fill in for those who were too busy doing their bit for peace and the environment by burning effigies of Vladimir Putin.
That’s not to say that no Lewesians made the long trip to Essex. Kit man Clive managed to squeeze Alec Foord and Terry Boyle in among the bibs and balls in the back of his electric car, although sacrifices had to be made to keep the weight down, so that Clive’s battery didn’t run dry on the way back home. Terry’s packed lunch had to be scaled back, for example:
There was no such skimping at Mac’s Plaice, the chippy that came highly recommended by the absent Stodgebusters. Say what you like about the Stodgebusters, and trust me I do, but they know a good calorie when they see one. This was my ‘medium’ cod and chips:
I presume the ‘large’ comes with a free cardiology appointment?
Anyway, to the game, where Lewes started like a massively overpriced house on fire. We didn’t let them have the ball for the first ten minutes, and Razz came agonisingly close to making that count after only five, when his curled effort from the edge of the box was tipped on to the bar by their keeper (who, judging by the size of him, is a Mac’s Place loyalty card holder too).
That was just a sighter. Because mere minutes later, Razz gave us the lead with a near-perfect goal. He cut in on his right foot, unleashed hell, and the ball crashed in off the underside of the crossbar with a delicious twang.
Christ alone knows what the scouts in the south of England are watching, because this boy is special. He doesn’t score ordinary goals – every single strike is a goal of the season contender and he’s got seven of them this year. What’s more, he hits them with both feet. Defenders can’t get near him because he’s stronger than my morning coffee, and can we talk about his thighs? (Safeguarding VAR: yes, we can). Each one is thicker than my waist, and you’ve seen my diet. I love watching him play, I hope he doesn’t go anywhere, but you can’t deny he should be terrorising defenders better than Brightlingsea’s.
Anyway, if Razz is a bit special, so was Brightlingsea’s equaliser on the half hour. They’d barely had a kick of the ball when right-back Jermaine Anderson picked up the ball on the edge of his own box and slalomed all the way past our midfield and defence to plant a shot past Carey. It was a tremendous goal, but he managed to run 80 or 90 yards without anyone putting a foot in.
That goal breathed confidence into the home team and suddenly it was going end-to-end. Still, we should have nudged ahead again before half-time. Razz was tripped in the box, but the ref gave a free-kick just outside, a free-kick that Mascoll crashed against the bar.
At the other end, their centre-back had a gift-wrapped chance to put them ahead, but he finished it like a centre-back too.
The second half was another siege in the Brightlingsea half, as Lewes created chance after chance and won about 20 corners. Taylor came a chip’s width from connecting with one of those corners, but we continually took too many touches around the box instead of testing Brightlingsea’s kebab-muncher.
No such hesitancy at the other end, where Brightlingsea took a rare chance to put themselves ahead midway through the second half. A long ball into the box was half-cleared and it fell to Woodward on the edge of the box, who slapped it past Carey.
We didn’t have to wait long to get back on level terms. Razz (who else?) danced down the right-hand side, got to the byline and cut a delightful chipped ball back for Alfie Young, who nodded it past the keeper.
But as much as we turned the thumbscrews in the final 15 minutes, we couldn’t find a winner.
Unlucky not to win? Sure, but it was iffy defending that burned through the two extra points the DFL brigade should have brought back to a smouldering Lewes.
Lewes: Carey, Renee, Mascoll, Salmon, Champion, Young, Hyde, Pritchard, Murrell-Williamson, Coleman De-Graft, Taylor
Subs: Nelson, Olukoga, Skinner, Dalling
Supporters Club man of the match: Couldn’t be anyone but Razz. A sensational strike, an assist and more tricks than a 12-part Paul Daniels documentary.