K’s Ride Their Luck To Reach Final
An occasion unquestionably befitting of the great Alan Turvey - and Robert Dyas too, for that matter, with his lawnmowers and his kettles and his many sexualities.
Forget the Football League Cup and its final 24 hours earlier. Forget the FA Cup, the Champions League and the Europa League. Forget too the Trophy and the Vase and the Surrey Senior. When it comes to knockout cup competitions, none holds the guts, the glamour, and the glorious unpredictably of the Alan Turvey Trophy sponsored by Robert Dyas.
Exhibit one. Collective mire breaks out behind the goal when one supporter suggests we will not test Wingate’s stand-in keeper, striker Rob Laney, who has donned the gloves with 70 minutes to play after a nasty-looking injury to Bobby Smith (thankfully okay). Oh how we laughed.
But this is the Turvey we are talking about. This is Alan Turvey we are talking about. So rather than K’s being waved through to plunder goals left right and centre, instead Tommy Williams’s men had a spell cast over them. It must have been Turvey’s doing. The ensuing collective incompetence was somewhat alarming. Laney did not have a meaningful save to make. The tie was alive.
It didn’t look like that would necessarily be the case in an exciting opening quarter-of-an-hour which mirrored the league fixture four weeks earlier. Andre McCollin struck twice, the first a cute finish with 33 seconds on the clock, the second a tame but effective free-kick that made a mockery of Smith’s wall.
Between those goals, McCollin’s eighth and ninth since returning, Wingate equalised through Leyton Orient loanee Freddie Moncur, who converted a rebound in the box. But mostly K’s were free-flowing and a threat. That all changed with the injury.
We stuttered our way to the break. Then, 10 minutes into the second half, an underhit header from stand-in right-back Sean Bonnett-Johnson allowed Billy Healey the cheapest of levellers.
The only positive to be gleaned from the final half-hour or so was that we didn’t concede again. Sub Reece Beckles headed our only chance wide, and that was it. Penalties. It’s what Turvey would have wanted.
He might too have hoped the fairytale would be completed by a string of spectacular Laney stops, and Wingate progression. But as it turns out, K’s tactics had been perfect all along. Laney had had so little to do, and absolutely no saves of note to make, than when it came to penalties he was clearly not warmed up.
And then alongside him, one of the great non-league keepers, and an outstanding penalty-saver to boot. So it was that Rob Tolfrey kept spot-kicks one and four out, while Laney couldn’t do anything about those struck by McCollin, Aaron Goode, Harold Odametey and Pico Gomez.
Tolfrey’s fine save which clinched the tie – denying Laney, of all people - was met with such a muted response by those in hoops on the halfway line one suspected, like for most of the match, they hadn’t really been paying attention, and thus hadn’t realised we had won. However, on the terraces of the Athletics End, behind the goal the kicks were being taken, the K’s fans roared and embraced. They knew immediately their team had taken another mighty step forward on the illustrious Turvey Trail. Now only Faversham Town stand between K’s and the greatest glory of them all.
Match report by Robert Dyas.