K’s Fight Back to Force Replay
After Kingstonian (Mole Valley) played Lynx FC (Gibraltar) last August, fans would be forgiven if they thought that the most challenging journey of the season had already been negotiated. But the Robert Parker Stadium sits in a curious public transport no-man’s land between Heathrow Terminal 4’s Animal Reception Centre and a vast estate of aviation fuel cylinders (fireworks displays are thus banned in and around the football ground, a prohibition which may or may not have led to unusual caution by the K’s away support).
Concerns over an upset were somewhat alleviated by the shock morning news that former Millwall, Bristol City and Jamaica international, Marvin Elliott, had just signed for Kingstonian (Mole Valley) and would start. This was a midfielder who marked Ryan Giggs in the 2004 FA Cup final. Frantic research also revealed David Pleat’s “scouting report” on Elliott in the Guardian on 13 September 2005 in which the then youngster is sincerely compared to Ossie Ardiles, Alan Ball and Patrick Vieira. “This is the type of player whose appetite and enthusiasm shows itself in a confidence to want to run the game.”
Opponents Ashford Town (Middlesex), meanwhile, whose namesake rivals Ashford Town (Kent) are now Ashford United in the interests of ending years of parenthetical confusion, are going well in the Evo-stik South East at Step 4, banged 10 past Fleet but a fortnight ago and usually boast Mark “the new Bobby Traynor” Bitmead in their ranks.
“We’re the underdogs,” one Kingstonian (Mole Valley) fan duly remarked at kick-off. And so it proved when Ashford Town (Middlesex) took a first-half lead, Jabir capitalising on hesitant defending.
Five minutes later it was two when Alex Fisher’s low cross was turned in by Jack Beadle.
All of K’s sorry decade of Cup/Trophy defeats started to swirl through the mind but this always threatened to be a bit different. Elliott was, after all, using power and sheer will to keep the midfield together, Tom Derry kept the home defence on the edge of error and Jerry Amoo, starting on the left, was cutting in with menace.
Tom Collins, who had hitherto flitted rather than threatened, found himself clean through in the 57th minute and did well to carry the ball calmly into the box before side-footing past the keeper.
Suddenly the momentum had turned and Kingstonian (Mole Valley) looked likely to equalise. A succession of Manu Goganas long-throws, quick switches of play from wing to wing, and the tirelesnesss of Derry, built the pressure until an error by the Ashford Town (Middlesex) backline allowed Derry to poke the ball round the keeper and then into an empty net.
The two sides go again at Fetcham Grove (Leatherhead) on Monday night.
Match report by Taimour Lay.