Tanning season not over with Ks still on beach
‘Turn the floodlights on!’ bellowed a Main Stander. Or a Paul Stranker, if you will.
Half-time was imminent and you couldn’t help but wonder why anybody, bar the travelling Tanners, would want to see the action in any more clarity than they already were. Ks were a man down, three goals down, and an injured Sam Page down. Probably only the floodlights going down would have saved Ks. Where’s a Brighton-based electrician when you need one?
A little further along the Main Stand, closer to the Athletics End and nearer the back, Alan Dowson couldn’t help but let out a wry smile. His former left-back, George Wells, was having a second consecutive game to forget. Both of Leatherhead’s early goals, scored in near-identical fashion by Vas Karagiannis, were clinically despatched from his side of the pitch.
Then, in the midst of a mad couple of minutes, Wells was sent off for what appeared to be a late, high tackle. The 19-year-old had no complaints.
In the build-up to that incident near the touchline, Leatherhead were denied a clear penalty and both Elvis Putnins in goal and Sam Page went down injured. The defender was off the pitch getting treatment when the free-kick, given for Wells’s foul, was swung over and punched by the limping Putnins against Phil Walsh’s head and back into the net. This is non-league, bellowed Gerard Butler, somewhere.
What else? Well, 10-man Ks didn’t concede in the second half, rallying and generally ‘being plucky’. Indeed, Alan Inns came close to scoring with a powerful header. Earlier in the game, at 2-0 down, the otherwise sharp Dan Bennett hadn’t been able to match the outstanding Karagiannis’s early antics, not getting enough bend or direction on his left-footed curler when slipped in on goal.
Dan Sweeney was excellent in central midfield, often doing two players’ jobs at once – handy considering we were a man light for almost an hour. He hustled defensively, frequently winning possession back before driving the hooped shirts forward when a rare attacking opportunity presented itself. Page’s replacement, Jeffrey Imudia, looked composed and quick.
After strong starts to our last three seasons, there can be no accusations that the Ks are peaking too soon this time around. However strange this may sound, though, it almost feels like this team has more potential than any of those. Time will tell.
Match report by Rupert Cane.