Lewes left-back Tom Carlse says a solid defensive line formed the bedrock to Tuesday’s 2-0 win over Cray Wanderers that stretched the Rooks’ unbeaten streak to four games.
Goals from Joe Taylor and Razz Coleman De-Graft either side of half time earned Lewes three points in front of 570 fans at the Dripping Pan.
The Rooks had to be patient in search of an opener but got it through Taylor’s header from an Ollie Tanner corner with the last kick of the half.
De-Graft then finished low off the post to double the lead, before Carlse and co. ground out the victory without too much trouble.
And Tuesday’s man of the match was delighted with the team performance, which came three days after the 2-2 draw with Brightlingsea.
‘We needed that’
“It was all about the three points,” says Carlse.
“Obviously we were in a good position on Saturday and felt as though we gave it away, and we needed a reaction.
“We needed that three points – and with two goals and a clean sheet, as a defender you can’t ask for much more than that.”
Taylor’s opener just before the break came after Michael Klass had earlier seen a header ping off the post.
And Carlse admits the goal settled the hosts down.
“It was a big one. When we create so many chances and they don’t go in, the longer it goes at 0-0 the more the pressure builds,” he adds.
“But to go in at half time with that goal – we knew we hadn’t played very well. We created the chances but sometimes you just need that scrappy one to put everyone at ease.”
‘We’ve got goals in our squad’
As for his own POTM performance, Carlse says it was the type of game where defensive confidence shone through.
“I enjoyed it! Sometimes you’ve just got to grind it out. It wasn’t a pretty game but three points is what we needed,” he adds.
“As a defender you pride yourself on clean sheets, and as a left-back you also pride yourself on getting forward. When you keep a clean sheet it’s always nice because when you’ve got that firepower up front – JT, Ollie, Raz, Iffy – you know that so long as we keep it tight, we’ve got goals in our squad.
“It’s a case of us defenders doing our job and giving the lads the platform to do theirs. That’s what we said before the game in our huddle: clean sheet wins the game because we know we’ve got goals.”
‘He’s a pest but I like it’
For Lewes boss Tony Russell, Carlse’s performance against Cray was nothing new. In fact, it is his energy and passion for the club that makes him such a valuable player.
“He is Mr Consistent on the pitch and one of the best left-backs in our league,” says Russell of his defender.
“Off the pitch, he drives me mad! He is like a Duracell bunny. He has far too much energy.
“He doesn’t just drive me mad… no one is safe! He is never in the wrong and has something to say about everything. Even if he is in the wrong, he will come back with a reason as to why he isn’t wrong, even though he knows he is in the wrong.
“I hope you are getting the picture and the headaches I have to endure with him! I walk into the changing room or into training, and I hear “Hello Mr Russell”, and I just think ‘oh here we go’.
“Saying all that, I wouldn’t change him though. He is a pest, granted, but I still really like him and when the chips are down in a game Tom will be at the very front trying to push the team forwards.”
Highlights from Your Instant Replay can be viewed here.
You can read the progcast here.
More pictures from James Boyes can be found here.
Next up for the Rooks is a trip to Hornchurch on Saturday, kick-off at 3pm.