Marvin Hamilton made a welcome return to Hythe in their big victory at Phoenix Sports.
The veteran midfielder played a key role in the Cannons’ run to the Isthmian South East play-off final last season.
He left Reachfields to play closer to home but appeared as a favour in Hythe’s abandoned match against Ashford in August and was needed again on Saturday.
He’d played a Step 7 match on Friday night but answered the call to fill in for Frannie Collin, who was resting a tight hamstring, and helped the Cannons to a 4-0 Isthmian South East victory.
Ten-man Hythe went on to win 1-0 at promotion rivals Sittingbourne on Tuesday, Aaron Barnes with the injury-time winner after Johan Caney-Bryan was sent off.
Hamilton wasn’t involved against the Brickies but could yet feature in further games.
“As long as we don’t clash with his other team, and he’s available, we’ll try and use him as and when we can,” said Cannons manager Steve Watt.
“It was great having him in there.
“I felt for a couple of boys who probably deserved to start but when you’re taking Frannie out of the middle of the park, I wanted another experienced head in there and Marv was brilliant.
“He played 90 minutes on Friday but he said he felt fine to play and he’s set the second goal up for Jake Embery with a great pass over the top.
“You look at his overall contribution and it makes you wish you had him every game. He brings that element of calmness when he’s on the pitch and he’s such a good character.
“Everyone was so pleased to see him and he was more than happy to come in and help, which we’re thankful for.
“He’s the type of player that when you don’t have him, people appreciate how good he is.
“I appreciate him because I know what he brings.
“There are other players who are maybe more exciting or eye-catching but Marv just does his job superbly.
“It’s like having a coach out there on the pitch.
“Fran’s been playing that position for me for a while now and Marv’s always been that defensive type.”
Embery added to Liam Smith’s opener at Phoenix while Caney-Bryan and a brilliant Barnes strike completed the scoring.
Sports had lost 9-1 to Ramsgate the week before.
Watt said: “It’s always tricky when you play a team who’ve had a result like that because players have a point to prove.
“It was to an extent in that they sat off and tried to frustrate us and catch us on the counter. It was important to get the first goal.
“I always felt the earlier we got the goal, the easier the game would end up being and, luckily enough, we got it in the first 20 minutes.
“Phoenix had their moments but it was a comfortable afternoon in the end and it could have been more.
“Considering we had Frannie out, Lex Allan was still injured and Marcus Goldsmith was away, it was a good performance and a good result.”
Hythe start a run of six successive home games against Broadbridge Heath on Saturday (3pm).