There is Magic in the FA Cup After All
One of the great unheralded pleasures of following K’s in the Conference days (note to new fans: this was a golden period in the last century when Britain was a social democracy, the sun always shone and Jamie Cutteridge only supported Villa) was gathering at the back of comically oversized all-seater stands to survey the football below. None of this “hugging-the-touchline-non-league-intimacy” nonsense; we revelled in panoramic views, cantilever rooves, swathes of empty seats, plastic digging into our knees …
And so a trip to Farnborough’s Cherrywood Road for an FA Cup replay was a perfect opportunity to enjoy their “big stand” behind the goal. It towers absurdly over its three decidedly semi-pro counterparts. A hardy band of Boro fans spend entire matches in one back-corner. We took our places in the back-middle, 7 seats and a row each. It was almost worth the £12 entry fee…
More importantly, just as we were acclimatising to the altitude, K’s, racing around productively at base camp, proceeded to put the tie truly out of sight. With a little help from former Hercules B goalkeeper Victor Brotons.
The Spaniard spilled a hopeful free-kick from Ty Smith and Jake “Kempo” Kempton volleyed into a virtually empty net.
Kempo was at it again in the 11th minute, shooting from distance and forcing Victor into an unconvincing parry which Smith knocked in.
By this stage, Operation “Get Into The Keeper’s Head” was at full throttle as the hapless part-time graphic designer kicked clearance after clearance into touch.
But Boro still somehow kept themselves in the game, pulling one back through Harry Williams on the half-hour.
And poor Victor couldn’t be blamed for K’s third 5 minutes before half-time as Dan Bennett raced into the box, cut inside and did two defenders and the keeper with a near-post clip.
A relaxed second-half of innocent ground-level keeper-baiting ensued… until Boro's CJ Fearn made it 3-2 with 5 minutes remaining.
Back in the familiar surroundings of a tiny stand at the opposite end, Operation “Get Into The Keeper’s Head” urgently mutated into “Operation Time Waste” as at least two K’s fans dawdled shamelessly with stray balls, prompting Victor to jump over the hoardings to retrieve one before we could assist him further. Alas, time was out, the whistle went and K’s were through. I guess cosy terraces do have their uses, after all…
Match report by Taimour Lay.