I was standing on the terraces before a game a couple of weeks ago, minding my own pie and mash, when a fella bowls up to me.
“Are you Barry Collins?”
I look him up and down. He looks vaguely familiar, but he doesn’t have the demeanour of a copper, a tax inspector or a Conservative MP, so I decide to chance it.
“Yep, that’s me.”
“I’m Gary Taylor,” says my new acquaintance, with the air of someone waiting for the penny to drop.
I start scrolling through my mental Rolodex. Is he the darts player? No, that’s Phil and he’s about 15 stone heavier than this guy. The drummer from Queen? No, that’s Roger. Nope, that’s it. I’m beat. I’m all out of Taylors.
“I’m The Bastard’s dad.”
Before I have the chance to scream for a steward or feign a steak-and-kidney-induced heart attack, Taylor Snr cracks a wide smile, says he and Joe love the match reports, and my pulse rate drops back below 200.
But just as my nerves are settling, Taylor Snr says: “I do have one problem with you lot, though.”
“You sing ‘there’s only one Joe Taylor’, but there’s two of ’em. His boy’s called Joe, too.”
Now, far be it from to tell the club what to do, but if we’ve not got Joe Taylor Jnr in Dale Hurley’s Under-18s, being trained how to turn centre-backs inside out and stare down goalkeepers like they’ve just molested a puppy, we’re doing something wrong. I don’t care if Joe Jnr’s only three-and-a-half, stick him up front. Because even with only 50% of his dad’s genes, the kid’s going to be lethal.
The Bastard scored five last night, taking his tally in the competition to six, with the one he scored in the 2-2 draw at the weekend. That’s two more goals than the FA Cup’s top goalscorers – Riyad Mahrez and Jayden Stockley – scored last season. There’s every chuffing chance that Joe’s going to finish top goalscorer in the entire competition, especially if he can bang a couple more past Three Bridges in the next round. Forget Joe Jnr for a minute, I’ll have his children, because that would be something to tell the grandkids.
(My next chat with Taylor Snr might be a bit more awkward now…)
Three of Taylor’s goals last night came from the penalty spot, which is surely another FA Cup record broken at The Pan, to go along with the 8-0 score. Our previous record win in the Cup was the 8-1 over Molesey a few seasons ago, if the quiz in the programme was right.
The first penalty was a bit soft, Tom Carlse getting legged up on the byline and getting the benefit of the doubt. The Bastard doesn’t care how they arrive, of course, he just buries them:
The second penalty came ten minutes later, Taylor getting tripped himself as he sliced through Sheppey’s back four, before picking himself up and sending the spot-kick the other way:
His third spot-kick came ten minutes from the end, after a Sheppey defender tried to take Will Salmon’s head off. Taylor waited for the blood to stop pouring and then smashed it home:
In between all the penalties, he scored another couple – one a deflection (you can tell him) and another super-cool finish after a sumptuous reverse pass from Jack Skinner.
Let’s not overlook Ronan Silva and Deshane Dalling too, both of whom scored belters. Miracle upon miracles, we even scored from a corner – Nelson’s strong header was well saved, but Salmon slapped home the rebound.
All in all, a thoroughly entertaining night’s work. And although birthday boy Tony Russell might have preferred to have got the job done in the first tie, so he could spend his evening thumbing through the Argos catalogue for a new cool box, he can’t have had many better presents.
Lewes: Carey, Yao, Carlse, Nelson, Salmon, Phipp, Silva, Skinner, Coleman De-Graft, Moore, Taylor
Benchwarmers: Olukoga, Jenkins, Pritchard, Dalling, Murrell-Williamson, Middleton-Tozer
Supporters Club Player of the Match: Honestly can’t think of anyone who stood out… Let’s give it to Barbara for selling raffle tickets despite a busted neck.
Video highlights from Your Instant Replay:
Danny Last’s Inspirational Instas: