And the Academy Award for Over-Dramatisation of a Football Match goes to… Three Bridges.
Yes, the visitors tried every trick in the book to get their slender 1-0 lead over the line, but there just wasn’t enough fake cramp, kicking the ball into Hampshire and general shithousery to stop Razz Coleman De-Graft equalising with one the best strikes you’ll see all season.
If that reads a wee bit like sour grapes, it shouldn’t. Three Bridges were well worthy of the draw. The Rooks were stodgy, flat and wasteful. They’re lucky to still be in the Excel spreadsheet for Tuesday’s Third Qualifying Round draw.
It was the visitors who had the best chance of a largely lifeless first half. Skipper Brannon O’Neil belted one from 30 yards and Lew Carey did well to divert it away from the top corner.
Tony pulled The Riot Act out of his cool box before the half-time chin wag and Lewes started the second period brightly, with Razz Coleman De-Graft finally coming into the game and Joe Taylor running the channels.
But it was the visitors who took an early second-half lead. Mitchell Nelson dwelt on the ball for about the same length of time it takes an elephant to gestate and Kieron Pamment nicked it off his toes. The ball was eventually fed wide and crossed into Pamment, whose first shot was blocked by Nelson, but he tapped in the rebound.
Far be it from me to suggest the management weren’t super-impressed with Nelson, but he was immediately withdrawn, with midfielder Tom Phipp dropping into centre-back. Sit down here, stare at Tony’s cool box, and have a think about what you’ve done, son.
The goal did prompt a response of sorts from the Rooks, although they could have been two down before they had a chance to do anything about it. Pamment was giving enough space to set up a car boot sale in the box, but his shot flew narrowly wide.
As Three Bridges tired and ran out of players to get booked for timewasting (even one of their subs was cautioned for kicking the ball away), Lewes began to lay siege to their goal. A Ronan Silva shot was well saved by the outstretched leg of Leo Anderson, Kenny Yao had a gift-wrapped chance from six yards out before realising his left foot is merely decorative, and Rhys Murrell-Williamson almost scored with a cheeky near-post shot from a free-kick.
By the time the 90th minute has ticked round, the Rooks had abandoned their defences. Stand-in centre-back Phipp had been sent up front, we had three wingers on the pitch and Joe Vines was getting arm ache from ushering players forward.
The gamble paid off. Silva pushed the ball wide to Murrell-Williamson, he fed it into Razz, who took a touch to move the ball to his left foot and unleashed hell. The ball screamed past Anderson and the best part of 1,178 folk in the crowd went ape mental bonkers.
So forget about Aveley visiting on Tuesday night, we’re now heading up the A23 for part II with Three Bridges. If – and it’s an almighty if – we’re going on a decent cup run this season, we’re jogging round the block a few times first.
Lewes: Carey, Yao, Nelson, Salmon, Carlse, Phipp, Silva, Pritchard, Coleman De-Graft, Moore, Taylor
Benchwarmers: Olukoga, Jenkins, Skinner, Murrell-Williamson, Dalling, Middleton-Tozer
Supporters Club Man of the Match: We’re assuming the official match sponsor was Mystic Meg, because they picked Razz about ten minutes before his thunderbastard crashed home the equaliser. But they were right.
Video highlights from Your Instant Replay:
Boyesy’s brilliant photos: