Simon Wormull said his Lewes players had to use their grey matter to earn a vital away win at Concord Rangers on Saturday.
As friendly and welcoming the Canvey Island were off the pitch (with free entry to all spectators and a hospitable attitude from locals unmatched in the Ryman Premier this season), the team on the pitch made life difficult for a Lewes side looking to hold on to the fourth and last play-off place.
Two Nathan Crabb goals and a late Harry Harding penalty were just enough to see the Rooks overcome a tough mid-table team who replied through goals from Kurt Robinson and Karl Beckford.
And Wormull said it needed a half-time reminder to his troops to use their brains as well as their brawn to get past yet another big and physical Essex-based Ryman Premier outfit.
Wormull said: “It was an amazing win. We had a bit of luck on our side, and brilliance in the equaliser they got... it had everything to be honest with you.
“It was a game that had everything and luckily we’ve come out with the three points which we desperately needed.
“We started amazingly, obviously, the first couple of minutes and we go 1-0 up (through Crabb).
“(But) I thought we kind of played into their hands a little bit (thereafter). Obviously the (lush and bumpy) pitch is difficult and they’re a very big side – they’re like a Billericay in the way they played – and I thought we sat back a little bit and invited a bit of pressure.
“But then again, we said at half time we need to use our brains today – it’s not just about the endeavour and the work-rate, we need to use our brains with how we’re playing the game and get into areas which will hurt them – which we did in the second half, and caused them a few problems.
“I mean, we chucked Max (Howell) on as well and Arron (Hopkinson) on – a bit of pace to cause them problems, because they were more enjoying the battle with Boothy (Paul Booth), the physical side of it – but they didn’t like the pace.
“And Arron’s fantastic turn’s done the guy (Arthur Lee) up (for the winning penalty). Whether it was a penalty is not for me to say or their manager to say, but the referee has given it. And we needed a bit of luck like that. We didn’t have it at Aveley, I don’t think we’ve had it in a couple of other games as well, and we had it today.”
Of his team’s overall performance, he said: “I was quite happy with it. It was never going to be a fantastic game. These games at the end of the season, everyone’s a bit nervous, everyone panics a little bit. And then obviously at half time everyone knows what’s going on elsewhere but those (Lewes FC) boys out there have given themselves a real chance now.”
See this Friday’s Sussex Express for more comment from Simon Wormull, including a rallying call to fans to make a trip to the Dripping Pan on Saturday, for what will be the Rooks’ biggest end-of-season game (at the right end of a league table at any rate!) since the Blue Square South-winning season of 2008. Lewes host Harrow Borough while there are other vital games taking place involving Bury Town, Wealdstone, Hendon and, possibly still in the hunt, Canvey Island and Cray Wanderers.