Announcement from club chaplain, Father Seamus O’Seamus McDonaghue: counselling sessions for those who attended this game will be held in the Rook Inn from 2pm on Easter Sunday. Bring your own voodoo dolls.
Excuse the intemperate language on this of all days, but Jesus Bloody H Christ on a bicycle. Trying to process this game is like trying to unpick a fever dream, after you’ve scoffed a 2kg wedge of stilton. If you didn’t wake up drenched in sweat at 3am, screaming “just take it into the corner”, you weren’t there, man. YOU. WEREN’T. THERE.
Initially, it looked like the visitors were going to suffer the horror show. A slow-paced opening half was brought to life just before the half hour. Deshane Dalling cut inside from the left wing, hit a firm right-footed shot right down the keeper’s throat, but young Julian Schwarzer – son of ex-Premier League keeper Mark – could only palm it into his own net.
Yes, we’ll take that. Pint on the bar for you after the game, Julian.
Alas, it seemed the players were confused as to whether it was Easter or Christmas, as gifts were being handed out at both ends.
Kingstonian’s equaliser arrived just before the hour and it was another goalkeeping error. Lew Carey spilled a relatively tame shot that had to be ushered out for a corner by Tom Carlse. The resulting corner was flung into the near post, where the Kingstonian lad had a free header. Carey was caught in no-man’s land and the giraffe-like centre-back Cook prodded the flick-on home on the line.
Tony Russell reacted quickly. On came Tanner and Maloney, Razz shuffled across to left-back and defending was sacrificed on the massive cross that was erected on the mound behind the Philcox. We were going for it.
That seemed to have paid dividends in the 70th minute, when the brilliant Dalling – now operating down the right flank – left a defender on his arse, put in a peach of a cross and Joe Taylor headed it home.
The Philcox went ballistic; Taylor gave us the guns; all was well again. For all of six minutes.
Kingstonian won a harmless throw in down the left. Harmless because we had two men covering the only Ks forward within throwing reach… except both of them had switched off, leaving Ajakaiye free to run into our box.
Nelson stuck out a lazy leg, but Ajakaiye easily slipped past and then pulled a ball back for Figueira on the edge of the box, whose low shot went in despite Carey getting a hand to it.
The nightmare wasn’t over, far from it. Hold my Harvey’s, said Mitchell Nelson as he first bundled over Figueira on the half-way line to take a booking and then lunged wildly at Ajakaiye to take a wholly deserved red.
The captain had left his teammates in the brown stuff, but as with last week’s draw at Cheshunt, the Rooks rallied superbly with ten men. If anyone looked likely to nick a goal as it ticked towards full-time, it looked like being us. And we did.
Tanner darted into the box, cut inside and slapped a vicious low shot towards the near post. Schwarzer was beaten, but the post wasn’t, the ball pinging off the upright and flying across goal. Heads were buried in hands right across the Philcox, but the only person not in a fit of despair was Deshane Dalling. He retrieved the ball just as it was heading out of play, darted back away from goal and was slammed into the turf by a sliding challenge from Kenny Beaney. The ref took less than a nano-second to point to the spot.
Joe Taylor doesn’t miss penalties. If I had to pick anyone – literally anyone – on the planet to take that penalty with that much riding on it in the 90th minute, I’d pick Joe. And he’d tell me to piss off and then tuck it into the bottom corner, because he’s Joe Taylor and he’s a bastard and he’s our bastard and we bloody love him.
This is Lewes and we can’t have nice things.
Stoppage time was punctuated by stoppages. Taylor and Tanner had a contretemps with the Ks’ defenders in one corner; Razz lost a boot in a challenge; other titting about occurred. Still, we were holding on and looking almost comfortable.
Dalling nicked a ball off the left-back, right on the byline and I almost lost the hearing in my left ear as Big Deaksy bellowed “TAKE IT TO THE CORNER”. Reader, he didn’t take it to the corner. He cut inside, tried a near-post shot but Schwarzer saved it comfortably.
The ball was immediately pumped out down our right flank, where it went out for another throw – from almost the same blade of grass they took the throw that led to their second goal. Surely lessons have been learned here?
No, not so much. The throw is dropped at Samuels’ feet and – under no real pressure – he’s allowed to put a cross into our box. The marking is, shall we say, liberal. Salmon’s tracked his man but Kingstonian have a lad free as you like, standing on our six-yard box waiting to head it home.
But Michael Klass has spotted the danger. He shuffles across to head it clear, but he’s slightly misread the flight of the ball and it flicks off the back off his head.. and loops past the depairing claw of Carey.
Klass and other players crumpled on the turf. The Philcox looked physically sick. 3-3, 97th minute. There was barely time to restart.
Michael Klass shouldn’t beat himself up. He had to try and win the header. If others had done their jobs properly, there would have been no header to win in the first place.
And it won’t just be that goal that might, might cost us a place in the play-offs. There are 59 others this season, too many for a side with promotion ambitions.
Still, it’s not all over. Yes, we need Cheshunt and Folkestone to drop points, but we’re not talking about Man City and Liverpool. It could happen. There’s still…
Lewes: Carey, Spencer, Nelson, Salmon, Carlse, Pritchard, Klass, Pettit, Coleman De-Graft, Dalling, Taylor
Subs: Olukoga, Phipp, Maloney, Addy, Tanner
Boyesy’s brilliant photos: