What the hell happened there? Seriously, WTF? For the first 45 minutes we were supreme, should have gone in at half-time with a two or three goal lead and had the game wrapped up tighter than Rod Stewart’s strides.
Instead, it seemed like we went in at half-time and tucked into a three-course meal prepared by the mad Italian chef who was doing the commentary last weekend. All that first-half fluency, one-touch passing and solid defending vanished faster than John Peel, who’d promised to buy all his board election supporters a pint in the Rook Inn at half-time. Bloody Tories and their campaign promises…
We couldn’t have started any brighter. Taylor and Tanner both had presentable chances before we eventually took the lead in the eighth minute. Tanner whipped a cross in from the left, Maloney nodded it down and Taylor tucked it home, completing a glorious little move.
One should have been two a few minutes later when Pritchard robbed a ball off a casual Casual and slipped the ball to Razz, who chose to shoot instead of playing in the much better placed Taylor.
Lewes created chance after chance, and if it wasn’t for the Casuals defenders repeatedly throwing their bodies in front of the ball, we would surely have gone it at half-time with an uncatchable lead.
The visitors only created one chance in the entire first half, but it was a good ‘un: a fierce drive from the edge of the box that was brilliantly palmed away by a full-stretch Carey.
Half-time came and went and then the weirdness kicked in. We just didn’t seem the same side that went up those steps 15 minutes prior. Casuals, meanwhile, should be sued under the Trade Descriptions Act, because they were working their nuts off, closing us down all over the field and taking advantage of our failure to keep the ball.
Their 49th minute equaliser was a strange affair too. Kieron Cadogan switched a ball to his left foot and delivered what looked like a nothing shot towards goal. Maybe it caught a slight deflection, maybe Carey was just unsighted, but the keeper stood rooted as the ball floated into our net.
Meanwhile, we continued to look like a popped balloon, perhaps suffering from the huge effort we put in against Folkestone on Saturday. And it was of no real surprise when the visitors took the lead. A cross from the left found Mfula in the box, caught in a hinterland between Salmon and Carlse, and he converted from close range.
Taylor’s injury midway through the second did nothing to improve our prospects of getting back into it, although we almost did in a frantic final five minutes.
Corner after corner was being piled into the Corinthians’ box, and Salmon and sub Olukoga both came close to equalising with a header and rasping drive respectively.
However, the best chance of all fell to Lew Carey. He’d been announced as Man of the Match moments earlier, which seemed like a curious decision despite that superb first-half save. Suddenly, though, we were left wondering if the sponsors had been given a sneak preview of the script, because Carey came up for the final corner and found himself unmarked at the far post with the ball landing sweetly on his bonce.
The collective gasp of breath on the Philcox drained the oxygen from the surrounding counties, but Carey’s header flopped just wide and that was that. A night of what could – and probably should – have been.
Lewes: Carey, Colombie, Salmon, Nelson, Carlse, Maloney, Pritchard, Klass, Tanner, Coleman De-Graft, Taylor
Subs: Weaire, Gillela, Olukoga, Parker, Allen