No goals at the New Lodge
The Non League Paper gave this match one star out of five and chose “Bore Draw” as the headline. What the report failed to notice was that the encounter was in fact packed with incidental interest, albeit not of the conventional sort.
A rumour swirled through the away support [much diminished by yet another train-cancellation weekend] that Billericay goalkeeper Jack Giddens was being watched by a scout from the England C staff. Why England C need keepers from Step 3 of the pyramid is a mystery. Why they would look any further than Rob Tolfrey is another. In any event, this was Giddens' big chance to shine and he was reminded of this repeatedly just in case he'd forgotten. He had the mental fortitude to execute his kicks well but as the half went on, and K's began to pass the ball on an appalling pitch, his real problem wasn't the away support as much as his own defenders, who more than once received frustrated abuse for failing to keep their shape.
His bad mood continued into the second-half and culminated, fittingly, given his international ambitions, in the consensual recreation of the infamous 1996 “Dentist Chair”, the spray from his water bottle forming a beautiful arc right into a K's supporter's mouth [and face].
If only this ribaldry could have been topped off with a late Kingstonian winner but, alas, when substitute Sean Bonnett-Johnson superbly controlled a raking cross-field pass, advancing on the run into the box in the dying moments, he shot straight at a newly re-focused Giddens.
But the real chance of the game had come on the hour when a K's corner somehow made its way low to the backpost and Andre McCollin, in an awkward position, with the ball just behind him, couldn't adjust his right-foot to place it in the open goal. [One of the highlights of Andre's ever purposeful performance was a mid-match trip to the gents, leaping gracefully over the barrier and into the terrace urinals during an injury break.]
“Ricay” had their chances too, it must be said, but, without Ricky Sappleton in their ranks, they look relatively toothless and, on this showing, are unlikely to be serious playoff contenders. It was of moderate interest that their club bar sells bottles of Prosecco for £8 and, like all Essex nightclubs, boasts a VIP mezzanine, all features to bear in mind for K's new ground.
We, on the other hand, seemed ultimately happy with a grizzly point on a day when others also failed to win. The Predicted Final Table on FWP has us finishing 6th with 80 points. For 81 points and 5th place we need 8 wins and two draws from our last 15 league games, eminently do-able on current form and with a favourable run-in.
But the significant news of the day? A tweet from Burnham Ramblers, of the Essex Senior League, announcing the loan signing of one Stephen Butterworth....
Match report by Taimour Lay.