K’s Win Big at the Longmead Stadium
Well. Well. Well. Myth-busting 2016: K’s are bad in BIG games. Myth-busted. Or maybe K’s really are bad in BIG games (1921-31; 1970-83; 2002-2016) and that’s not a myth and this was an exception and now we'll go back to being bad. Either way, this was BIG. It was so BIG a game, we didn’t even sing that much. Long periods were spent anxiously peering into the night air, praying for a Tolfrey save or a Goode intervention. “Game management” came the cry as the players expertly time-wasted in the closing stages. And, then, suddenly, perhaps two minutes earlier than we thought, the referee blew his whistle. Wemberley, Wemberley, We’re the famous Kingstonian and we’re going to … watch North Leigh. One game from the first round proper. Maybe two games from National League giants Sutton United. BIG dreams. A BIG crowd. BIG. BIG. BIG.
This was a game of BIG calls. 1-0 down to BIG Nathan Elder’s header with 35 minutes remaining, and with Angels dominating all over the pitch, manager Tommy Williams made an early double-change, swapping Youssef Bamba for the new Womble loanee Toyosi Olusanya to raid down the right and bringing off Aaron “Azza”/ “Norman” Lamont for Pelayo Pico Gomez.
Pico immediately made an impact, latching on to ball over the last man and doing superbly to control a low right-footed shot across the keeper while falling to the ground. 1-1. BIG goal.
But it didn’t end there. Joe Turner, a man who would run 500 miles and then probably run 500 more, just to be a man who ran 1000 miles to help Kingstonian score, started running on the edge of the K’s box. Then he ran a bit more. Then he ran a bit more. Then he ran a lot more. Then he ran a bit more. A decoy run from Pico dragged a centre-back wide and suddenly Turner was into the box with only the keeper to beat. There was something about the whole 15 mad seconds that decreed he surely would not miss and he duly struck the ball low and hard into the corner. Then, incredibly, he kept running. He ran and ran and ran, racing off like a brakeless car down Kingston Hill. As we jumped and laughed and sang. "That was... BIG", said a wise man behind the goal. And it was. It really was.
Tonbridge never responded. There were still 15 minutes left but K’s controlled the remainder and could easily have got a third. Tom Derry had a neat finish disallowed for offside while Olusanya squared for Ryan Moss after haring down on goal.
The Trophy means something this season, more than any other. All the talk of homelessness and the precarious future is always a stark reminder of the glorious past. We won’t have 1999 & 2000 ever again but now we’ve got a shot at one more BIG Trophy tie at Kingsmeadow. . if we can see off a Step 4 side from Oxfordshire on 27 November. BIG game.
Match report by Taimour Lay.