ROOKS boss Steve King hailed the impact of Michael Malcolm after he came off the bench to send Lewes through to the fourth round of the Ryman League Cup on Wednesday night.
With Lewes drawing 1-1 with Folkestone Invicta at the Dripping Pan after Josh Burchell’s 80th minute wonder strike had cancelled out Paul Booth’s first half opener for the hosts, Malcolm showed a touch of quality to again put King’s men ahead before Nic Ciardini sealed a 3-1 win in stoppage time.
“Michael’s a class player, I don’t even know why people are getting on his back,” King said He’s a class act, he’s our to scorer this season and although he’s missed some chances he’s also scored some quality goals.
“Michael’s not a 25-30 goal a season man, he never has been and never will be, but he’ll get you 15-20 goals and they’ll be quality goals. He’s not the six-yard tap-in merchant...and the way he’s shifted past three players and put it back where the goalkeeper was coming from was a finish from a higher calibre player.”
Booth’s fine finish with the outside of his boot was the only real highlight in an otherwise forgettable first 45 minutes.
In the second half Rooks’ determined Ryman South visitors created a number of decent chances before left back Josh Burchell’s beautifully struck goal from 30 yards levelled the match with ten minutes to play.
But four minutes before the match was due to go to penalties forward Malcolm, who had come on as a second-half sub not long before, showed great composure to wrong foot a couple of defenders and roll the ball past Jack Delo in the Folkestone goal.
And Rooks’ progression into the next round was assured when, in the 91st minute Ciardini curled in a fine third.