Lewes 2 vs Margate 0: The team is for turning

The 10th of September 2016: anyone remember it? I don’t blame you for wiping it from your memory, but it will always be in mine.

We’d just had our backsides handed to us by Faversham Town. A 5-0 defeat to a side so ordinary, they might as well have been wearing beige.

I remember the after-game post mortem, when Chairman Stu and I went over to talk to Darren, Ross and Codge in the stands and we all just sat there for a minute or two in complete silence, I think all quietly wondering if this was the end.

It wasn’t. It was a turning point. Darren made a few changes, form picked up almost immediately, and although we didn’t quite do enough to claw our way into the play-offs that season, we stormed to promotion the following year.

Whisper it, but I’m beginning to wonder if that shellacking at Herne Bay a couple of weeks ago might be a similar turning point for this team – that a good smack round the chops in Kent is what we need once in a while.

Back-to-back wins is a great response to that dismal night at the Bay, and this win was the result of both craft and graft. Not to mention a very healthy dollop of Razz Coleman De-Graft, too.

It was Razz who put us deservedly ahead after half an hour. Fans fawn over Razz’s skills, but it’s his strength that’s often overlooked. That boy has thighs stronger than Cynical Dave’s vocabulary. Here, he was felled by the Margate left-back on the edge of the box, but Razz simply bounced up again, before unleashing a Thunderbastard past the keeper into the side netting. Glorious stuff.

Talking of our much-missed mate, thanks to everyone at the Club/Supporters Club who arranged for this plaque to be set into the bar in the Rook Inn, and apologies for my awful photo.

Margate barely troubled us at all in the first half, and that was in no small part down to the aerial presence of Tom Champion and the industry of our midfield. Margate insisted on going long to the beefy Korrey Henry at every opportunity, but Champion – with a side helping of Salmon – had him shackled. Meanwhile, unsung hero Alfie Young was quietly mopping up anything nasty at the base of the midfield.

The second half got a little more nervy, as Lewes failed to press home their supremacy. The most nerve-shredding moment came on the hour, when Silva stuck out a leg and Deslandes tumbled over it. The referee gave the foul, but decided it was just outside the area. Thank Christ the Isthmian League can’t afford VAR…

Margate had one more great chance later in the half, when the ball was threaded through to Henry, but his scuffed shot went mercifully wide of the post. Other than that, they resorted to long range efforts that Lew Carey dealt with comfortably.

Our winner came at the death, and it was another lovely bit of football. Young, debutant Hyde, Mascoll and Razz all stroked the ball about beautifully before it was delivered to Joe Taylor on a plate. The Bastard took a touch, before side-footing the ball home with outrageous nonchalance.

The only downsides of the afternoon? Deon Moore hobbling off with what initially looked like cramp, but maybe something more serious. Let’s hope not. Hornchurch are in town on Tuesday, and that will certainly be a test of our turning-point resilience.

Rooks: Carey, Renee, Mascoll, Salmon, Champion, Young, Pritchard, Silva, Coleman De-Graft, Moore, Taylor

Subs: Nelson, Olukoga, Hyde, Skinner, Murrell-Williamson

Supporters Club Man of the Match: Caps doffed in the direction of Champion and Young, but it has to be Razz for that goal and an assist

Video highlights: