Penny Hits Last Minute Goal to Win Pulsating Match
The Isthmian League is governed by shadowy codes. Scorelines may appear to fluctuate wildly but iron laws, girded by karmic patterns, are in fact operating over every match of the season, fuelling the betting excesses behind the goal as seasoned observers compete to read the runes.
While K’s 3-2 win over Wingate & Finchley was, at one level, a thrilling comeback for a critical three points, it was also, ultimately, the mere fulfilment of the Ryman League’s own playbook – and all the more satisfying for being so.
Ryman League Rule 21: “A shot is more likely to be rewarded with a score if it is struck close to the goalkeeper and pitched, like an optimistic off-spin, into the rough at his feet, allowing for unexpected bounce beyond flailing limbs. Aiming for the corners will only result in the ball reaching the car park.” [Malachi Hudson gives K’s the lead after 7 minutes]
Ryman League Rule 34A(i): “If home fans mock a former player, then he will score.”/Ryman League Rule 34A(ii): “If home fans mock a player who appeared on loan more than 5 years ago as a callow youth then he will score.” [Former K’s loanee Ola Sogbanmu, who last appeared in red and white in 2010, took on board the cries of ‘Kingston reject!’ and repaid the jibes with a pea-roller strike from 20 yards which snuck in past an injured Rob Tolfrey. It was, as one fan correctly observed, “inevitable”].
Ryman League Rule 34A(iii): “If home fans mock a former player who last appeared more than 10 years ago, making fewer than a dozen appearances, he will score after a catastrophic error and celebrate shamelessly.” [Ahmet Rifat, whom records show scored a creditable two goals in 10 games for K’s in 2004, duly made it 2-1 to Wingate before half-time, tapping in after Tolfrey spilled a cross.]
Ryman League Rule 67: “The arrival of a previously unknown striker in January will always lead to success, particularly if they bear the face of a World War One hero-soldier”. [Charlie Penny, on loan from Welling, is, not to put too much pressure on him, the answer to our prayers. His equaliser before the break, a curled shot into the top-corner was so good it broke Ryman League Rule 21. His winner in the 93rd minute abided by Rule 21, slipping a rebound through the keeper and into net.]
Ryman League Rule 123: “Every season a team which is bottom of the form guide at Christmas will somehow be top of the form guide by March and thereby sneak into the playoffs.” [K’s].
Match report by Taimour Lay.