’Mead dredge out a point
A first trip to Thamesmead had its pleasures...
...contrary to lurid reports (BBC: "a living nightmare"/"credit card fraud capital of the UK"/" a thoroughly bad place") this 1960s new town is also, on a cold sunny day, a place of shimmering canals, grassy verges and a pedestrianised "centre" complete with ornamental tower. Travelling fans were pleasantly surprised.
And then the football started.
The Mead are not Ryman One North champions for nothing. They escaped a league so mean, so dystopian, that only the meanest of the mean emerge from it with a shred of humanity intact.
Direct, aggressive, admirably (almost manically) collective in all they did, the home side made up for being bad at football by being very good at anti-football.
K's still should have won, however. 5-3-2 actually seemed to work for once, with Sean Ray the right man for this particular job, with the ball so often in the air. Two goals up and ambling to three points, we missed a staggering array of chances, and had at least two cleared off the line.
K's took the lead through Josh Casey, who started at left wing-back but thankfully ended up in midfield after Charles Ofusu-Heyne went off with an early injury. K's best player for much of this bleak-ish winter lashed the ball into the top corner on his favoured left side.
Ryman Moss made it two-nil just after half-time, dinking the ball in when one-on-one.
Then something strange happened. Somebody handled in the K's box. The Mead appeal for a spot-kick was reminiscent of the end of the Haka when Kiwi players leap into the air with bloodcurdling screams, their faces contorted into grotesque forms. Time froze, social norms warped, pressure mounted. The referee gave the penalty. I don't blame him.
The penalty was duly missed but K's didn't take the warning. First Shamir Mullings made it 2-1. The No 9 was a controversial scorer, given that he'd kicked out at Ray without receiving a red.
Then there was the semi-inevitable equaliser from Phillips with 6 minutes left.
K's still had time to mess up two late one-on-ones; though, to be fair to Moss, he was hauled down in the box by two Mead defenders. The referee instead pointed for a corner. Perhaps K's players need to learn the Haka.
Report: Taimour Lay