Anyone who’s ever seen me reverse my VW Golf will know I sometimes have trouble recognising a turning point. Not last night. But only because the turning point in this game was so screamingly obvious, a One Show presenter could figure it out.
On 62 minutes, Joe Taylor was plucked from the subs bench and the match was instantly transformed. Carshalton were slowly turning the screw in the second half, getting closer and closer to nabbing the crucial first goal. Then Tony sent for his Bastard in the South and order was restored.
Freddie Parker led the attack for the first hour, and while he gave it a good go, he spent most of it grappling with Carshalton’s enormous no. 5, Jalen Jones. Freddie definitely doesn’t skimp on his Shredded Wheat, but he was basically bear wrestling. Ollie Tanner provided attacking spark down the right-hand side, but attacks were stuttering and infrequent. Carshalton were having a comfortable night.
Then came The Bastard, replacing Freddie Parker, who went straight up to the dressing room to put Savlon on his claw marks.
Whether by instruction from the bench or by using his own intuition, The Bastard didn’t bother getting involved with the giant Jones. The Bastard picks on weaker targets, for he is a bastard, and so he attached himself to Paris Hamilton-Downes, a much smaller, more malleable specimen.
When Paris came for a cuddle, The Bastard swatted him away; when Paris took a handful of Taylor’s shirt, The Bastard took two handfuls of his; more importantly, when the ball went forward to The Bastard, it stayed with The Bastard. Until The Bastard wanted to lay it off, that is.
Suddenly, our attacks had a focal point. When Tanner skipped down the left, leaving defenders spluttering on his fumes, he had something to aim for. But The Bastard is a cunning bastard. He feigned interest in Tanner’s perfect cross before letting it run to Maloney, whose shot was hacked off the line in desperation.
Fear shot through the eyes of the Carshalton defenders. Cynical Dave started making his weird panic klaxon noises on the terraces. The game was turning.
And turn it did in the 74th minute (that sentence went a bit Yoda. Sorry). Tom Carlse took a clever run inside, swapped passes with The Bastard in the box, dropped a lovely ball into the path of Michael Klass who, having kicked lumps out of midfielders on Saturday, this time took his frustration out on the ball with a smashing low drive. It was a Thunderbastard of a strike, the kind The Bastard would approve of.
And so the game was won, won in no small part, because of The Bastard. He’s our Bastard. And we bloody love him.
Lewes: Carey, Yao, Carlse, Salmon, Nelson, Pritchard, Maloney, Klass, Tanner, Allen, Parker
Subs: Weaire, Olukoga, Moore, Coleman De-Graft, Taylor (The Bastard in the South)
Boyesy’s brilliant photos: