They leapt above Horndean United into second place in Division 2 at the weekend with a 4-1 victory over Bill Bevan’s side on the 3G surface at Hawks’ Westleigh Park.
It was their third successive win and the margin of victory could easily have been greater against a Horndean side who were a pale shadow of the one that had beaten Rowner 4-2 on the 3G a week earlier.
Lodge were accepted into men’s football last summer after winning the Mid-Solent Youth League’s under-18 division.
Player-boss Jordan Davies - the oldest regular in a youthful squad - freely admits they had a tough baptism of life in the opening weeks of 2020/21.
But their last game before the December lockdown was a 5-1 spanking of Carberry - who top Division 2 - and Lodge returned from ‘hibernation’ with a 2-0 victory over Segensworth.
A third straight victory leaves them two points behind Carberry, having played a game more. But Davies is aiming high. ‘We’re hoping if we can win our last three games we can win the league,’ he said. ‘That’s our aim now.
‘It’s all about confidence. When we can play our football not many teams in this league can live with us.
‘We like to press high, and we like to play out from the back.
‘It’s been good since we’ve got used to playing in men’s football. We’ve won three, drawn two and only lost one of our last six games.’
A fourth straight success against Carberry next Saturday will take them into top spot.
Lodge dominated the first half against a Horndean side who left huge gaps in midfield and defence for their opponents - full of energy and football that was pleasing on the eye - to take advantage of.
At times, it was all too easy for Lodge to break from midfield past statuesque challenges, and the margin of victory could easily have been greater.
The pattern of the game was established early on.
A nice backheel from Taylor Davies - Jordan’s brother - set up Callum Hill for an early shot that was blocked before Lodge took an eighth minute lead.
Josh Bailey’s through ball found Hill unmarked to produce a calm finish past Stuart Rees.
Hill’s run took him past two defenders with Rees producing a good low save for a corner on 13 minutes.
Lodge didn’t have to wait long for a second, though, Bailey collecting a through ball from George Barton and firing across Rees for 2-0 within 60 seconds.
It all looked too easy for Lodge, who continued to attack.
Rees turned Barton’s free-kick wide for another corner, from which Bailey could only guide a free header straight the the keeper.
Defender Kian Murphy saw a shot saved by Rees at his near post before Hill rounded the keeper but was unable to net his second.
Hill, who had been causing Horndean numerous problems, limped off just before the half-hour mark to be replaced by Tom Goddard.
From seemingly out of nowhere, Horndean were back in it four minutes before half-time.
Right wing-back Matt Davison - who had produced a superb chip against Rowner the previous week - reduced the arrears with another fine effort, this time a low half-volley that arrowed into the far corner from a tight angle.
Horndean’s hopes of a good start to the second period evaporated when they conceded a third on 47 minutes.
It was another poor goal to concede, the ball falling to Bailey from a corner.
Seeking his hat-trick, Bailey twice saw shots saved by the over-worked Rees before Lodge netted again on 64 minutes.
Another Bailey shot was saved, but the loose ball only fell to Wade to net from close range.
As Lodge continued to poor forward, Wade and Bailey shot wide while the latter produced a lovely piece of skill to bamboozle Jon Ashford before being fouled - Bailey’s 25-yard free-kick straight at Rees.
At the other end, Horndean striker Steve Mitchell failed to get a header on target and Jason Johnson’s chip sailed just over.
Ashford, pushed up from centre back to central midfield in the second period, dragged one shot wide before another was deflected for a corner as the teams traded attacks in the last 20 minutes.
Mitchell shot just wide from eight yards before Barton conspired to produce one of the misses of the season. Finding himself in the six-yard box with the goal gaping in front of him, he somehow scooped his effort over the bar and out of the stadium.
‘It was a really good performance,’ said Jordan Davies.
‘We went 3-5-2 to try and press them and they couldn’t live with us. I think we thoroughly deserved the 4-1 win.’
It was a view no-one could realistically argue against.
Horndean: Rees, Jamieson, Ashford, Hatherley, Johnson, Davison, Saunders, Cooper, Jenkins, Snaith, Mitchell. Subs: Knight, Funnell, Chivarni, Peters, P Charlton.
East Lodge: Woolger, Martin, J Davies, Murphy, T Davies, Barton, Wade, Bailey, Randall, Hill, Folland. Subs: M Davies, Fitzgerald, Gratton, Goddard.