Leiston or Great Wakering, Here We Come!
In a week when the Football League has been roundly mocked for its rebranding exercise (the “E” in “EFL” stands for “English” by the way, despite Cardiff City and Newport's involvement in the competitions), it's worth being reminded that a mere change of name can sometimes do wonders for reputation, value and interest. I can't explain it but I definitely care more about the Alan Turvey Trophy than I ever cared about the Isthmian League Cup. It's the same mid-week marathon to dubious glory. Same teams, same format, same depressed crowds.
But something has changed. Let's call it the Magic of the Turvey. And we could be inaugural winners... The Monday night visit of Farnborough had us one game from the quarter-finals, ie. four games from Turvey triumph. I dreamed of Alan placing the Trophy in Alan Inns' grateful hands. I even tweeted: “It's Turvey Time!” [No one "liked" it.]
Some 149 people were equally excited to attend this game, in which K's dominated a flakey Farnborough with bigger things on their mind, not least recent confirmation that they will be relegated from the Ryman Prem whatever happens this season. In fact, in order to qualify for the Turvey next season, they need to finish outside the bottom four, thus being placed in the Ryman One South. If they go down on their own[dis]merits, they'll face a double-relegation to the Combined Counties, cast into Step 5 but, worse, exiled from Turvey Time for at least a year.
It took a while for this Trophy fever to translate into on-pitch action but eventually Aaron Goode advanced 30 yards and belted the ball in off the post to make it 1-0.
Credit to Brendan Murphy-McVey who had a good game in midfield, Dylan Casey, Bruce Hogg and Ricky Sappleton, all of whom have been waiting patiently for a game in the past few weeks and did not disappoint.
Before the end, substitute Pelayo Pico Gomez converted a penalty – a bonus goal which proved important after Bogdan Vastsuk scored a consolation in injury time.
The prize in the next round? A trip to Leiston or Great Wakering Rovers. See you all there.
Match report by Taimour Lay.