Kingstonian Crash Out of Trophy to Barkingside
On the Saturday after Halloween, with a clear view of Ilford cemetery from the terrace, this was a fittingly ghoulish result.
A 3-1 defeat at Barkingside means K’s are out of the Trophy at the very first qualifying round hurdle. It’s the sixth time in nine seasons that it’s happened, as if the ghosts of 1999 and 2000 keep returning to spook our current players.
A special “alternative programme” for the fixture (its production values and 50p price-tag reminded me of the early issues of defunct K's fanzine “Weaving In and Out” which Ollie Steele would run off on the Tiffin School photocopiers) focused on an encounter between Barkingside and K’s reserves in the London Intermediate Cup of 1955. Leaving aside the novelty of reading about a K’s reserve team, the local press match report of the 3-2 home win at Richmond Road was notable for its opening line: “This was a thriller all the way”.
The same could not be said of the November 2014 contest. Barkingside, 20th in Ryman One North, play at Ilford FC’s Cricklefield Athletic Stadium. While we tried to enjoy the “Curva” terrace behind the goal, it surely set a record for “distance between spectator and goal”, an accolade hitherto held by Hornchurch and Guildford (and, presumably, the top tier of Camp Nou). With the wind swirling, the sun glaring and the pitch a-bobblin’, this was, to put it mildly, always going to be messy.
Fortunately, for the hardy few in the ground peering towards the discus cage, there wasn’t much worth looking at in an abysmal first-half. The pitch was more bobble than non-bobble; or, to put it another way, there were bobbles on bobbles. The ball would bobble and then re-bobble, requiring the hapless player to change feet position more than once before shanking the ball high into the sandpit/running track/Isaac Newton Academy car park.
After a listless hour of bobble-ball, K’s in fact somehow took the lead. New midfielder Luke Pigden, signed from Wealdstone, swung in a corner and Sam Page headed it inside the far post.
Then the strange collapse began. Within a minute, Barkingside were level, Dion Polius capitalising on a mistake down the left before beating Rob Tolfrey from 12 yards out. Calvin Poku then gave the Essex team the lead after more dodgy defending.
And the same striker finished the game off 3 minutes from the end. Despite Tolfrey making a brilliant save in the build-up, the ball ended up at Poku’s feet and he calmly completed the upset.
For K’s there simply wasn’t hope of a comeback. Apart from a Daniel Sweeney chance in the first-half, barely a shot was mustered before or after Page’s header.
I rather fancy a Surrey Senior Cup run. See you at Badshot Lea on 2 December.
Match report by Taimour Lay.