Wayne Smith admitted his household came up just shy of the perfect day when his Saltdean side narrowly failed to mount a magnificent comeback at Oakwood.
Wayne’s son Dan scored the only goal of the game in Lewes’ FA Cup win over Chalfont St Peter on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Tigers were rallying from an early 3-0 deficit to nearly snatch a glorious draw at Oakwood – but came up one goal short.
“We didn’t quite get there,” admitted Saltdean boss Wayne. “Otherwise it would have been a great day for the family.
“You know when you have a nightmare start? Well, we had one on Saturday.
“We weren’t at the races for the first 40 to 45 minutes of the game. We were not in it at all.
“The first goal was woeful defending, the second I thought they were quite lucky (Kingston Haig got his hand to the shot but could only push the ball up up over the line instead of away).
“The third goal the ball came in from a corner, hit the post and a couple of legs and then went in.”
But good young prospect Jamie Bucket supplied the cross for Ryan Walton’s first of two goal, a header on 26 minutes – “and then it was all Saltdean to be honest,” said Smith. “Their manager thought we had 11 new players on the park. It was all Saltdean pressing.”
Tom O’Donnell pulled another one back with a sensational free kick just inside the Oakwood half but Oakwood scored again to make it 4-2 before Walton struck again to leave Saltdean laying seige on the hosts goal in the dying minutes – all to no avail.
Wayne’s mood was lightened though with a message received straight after the game. “I was in the Oakwood clubhouse and my phone went off. It was a text from Dan.
He’s a very honest lad and will be self critical if he think he deserves it. But he told me he’d scored, he said he thoroughly enjoyed it and said he thought he did all right.”
“I’m very proud of him and I think the Lewes guys have handed him really well, particularly Danny Bloor.
“They looked after him through his injury and – considering a couple of seasons ago he was playing at Saltdean – it’s a fantastic story.”
Dad Wayne says he and Australian-born Dan, 22 (pictured against Chalfont), will often “talk shop” when back at the family home in Telscombe on Saturday nights.
“We always sit down and talk through both our matches.
“Usually he has to put up with me going through my game first but not this time!
“And his Mum used to play for Australia Ladies so there’s quite a footballing heritage in the house!
“He’s got football in his blood, all right.”
Wayne also had good words for young Jamie Bucket.” He has worked his way up from the reserves,” he said. “He played Friday for 30 minutes then came and played for the firsts.
“He was always destined to play for the firsts. Scott, our reserves manager, got him to the club, with view to bring him into to the first team.
“He supplied the cross that Ryan scored his header from.
“Jamie had a tremendous game, as did Eddie Noel, and Duke (Luke Duchossoy) could have had four.
Saltdean visit AFC Uckfield on Saturday. “We’ll give them a good run out,” said Smith.
Smith revealed he was looking for a striker and a defender to bolster his squad.
Paul O’Donnell, Tom’s brother, is available for around a three week-week period – which started from last Saturday – before he has to return to RAF duty.