Super K’s Win Replay
After a 3-3 draw in the original tie, K’s fans were approaching this replay at Thurrock (Purfleet till it died) with understandable trepidation. Allied to the news that striker Noel Mbo had returned to parent club Gillingham, the Fleet (as I think they still nickname themselves) were hitherto unbeaten at home, had shown enough three days earlier to suggest they would bulldoze their way through and.. well, it’s the sort of match we lose, isn’t it?
NOT ANY MORE IT ISN’T.
The Leigh Dynan Pace and Power Revolution Part 2 importantly featured the return of Claudiu Vilcu, with Aaron Goode deputising as a makeshift left-back. Sam Alderson, the Leyton Orient youngster, started on the left while Ace’a Laurent played No 10 with Tom Collins and Tom Derry up top. We hadn’t played this personnel or formation before. A few away fans looked scared – and not just because it was Halloween.
The other concern? The substitutes’ bench. After a catalogue of last-minute injuries, accidents and food-poisonings (possibly from a Lakeside fast-food outlet), there was but one potential replacement: Gibraltar international Evan Green. (Green had patiently waited some weeks for his competitive K’s debut, a frustrated unused sub eager to show that what works against Bosnia in Sarajevo can work against Bostik bods in Essex.)
Ultimately, there was nothing to worry about. Three goals in the space of seven first-half minutes did the business and put K’s in the next round to face Ashford Town (Middlesex).
Goode reacted quickest after a half-cleared corner in the 24th minute, before new centre-back Joe Oseyemi completed a similar finish. It was 3-0 just past the half-hour mark when Tom Derry calmly converted a penalty – although the ball disappointingly bounced straight out of the goal frame causing some to doubt whether it had ever gone in.
The second-half wasn’t 5 minutes old before Collins did his jinking-on-edge-of-box routine and then placed a sweet strike beyond the keeper from 20 yards.
All of this was happening while Laurent, in particular, buzzed intelligently in midfield and Alex Fiddes provided consistent width on the right.
So comfortable was it that K's fans could dedicate themselves to debating whether Ship Lane sits inside or outside the M25; and singing for Green's introduction. The left-winger duly entered the field with 20 minutes remaining, entering the Kingstonian International Hall of Fame alongside Amara Simba, Scott Smith and Elvis Hammond.
An Adetayo Osifuwa consolation goal made it 4-1 but this was a comprehensive, surprising, encouraging win for K’s.
Match report by Taimour Lay.