K’s Come Back For Big Win
We do like a trip to Enfield. Well, apart from that grim 4-0 defeat in March 2016 which formed part of TommyBall’s fatal decline. Perhaps the exception proving the rule, the Queen Elizabeth Stadium somehow manages to turn an athletics stadium into an intimate arena. This was somewhat helped by the incessant, driving rain which forced almost the entire 300-strong crowd under the covers behind each goal.
There was also much pre-match excitement at the friendly programme table in the art deco clubhouse when suddenly there emerged a copy of something called the “Kingstonian Football Club Official Handbook” for 1974, which featured, among other things, a history of the K’s Supporters Club whose “inaugural meeting was arranged for November 1947 at the Public Library, with nearly 200 people in the hall and another 300 or so listening outside by means of loudspeakers”. Some inspiration to renew your membership in 2018…
And then, on page 16, a large photo with the following caption: “Trevor Waughman gets a hug from fan Graham Wood after scoring in the 3-2 Surrey Senior Cup win over Leatherhead on 31 March 1973”. A quick double-take later, we realised that the very same Graham Wood was standing just yards away from us, 45 years later, in attendance - as always - at a K’s away game. So there you have it: bundles with players weren’t invented on the Kingston Road End and Andre McCollin is just the latest in a proud line of player-fan unions.
Andre would be embracing the fans soon enough, as it turned out. But the opening of the match certainly didn’t promise hugs and happiness. First, Marvin Elliott pulled his hamstring within a couple of minutes, forcing manager Leigh Dynan to bring Connor Hunte on and shift Nic Ciardini into an unfamiliar central midfield role. With other regulars also missing, Freddie Yao was already at right-back and new signings Greg Cundle and Peter West started upfront and on the right, respectively.
Much has been made of K’s having used 68 players this season and there appears to be an improvised approach to the attacking shape at times, as if the 10 outfield players could do with a couple of nights in the Hippodrome getting to know each other.
And when Tyler Campbell gave Enfield the lead after 11 minutes, with a neat right-footed finish past Rob Tolfrey, the odd groan in the away support could be heard.
Those groans soon became cheers when Hunte cut inside from the right and drove a perfect, low, diagonal-line, left-footed, 25-yard strike into Joe Wright’s bottom corner.
Still, Enfield remained the better side for long spells, hitting the woodwork twice as K’s looked to break on an increasingly boggy surface.
The second-half turned on K’s best move of the match. Yao galloped down the right, found West in an advanced position near the touchline and the Chelmsford winger, whose set-piece delivery impressed all afternoon, cut the ball back intelligently across the area to McCollin, who readjusted slightly before placing the ball past Wright’s despairing dive. 2-1, a bundle and it was like Fetcham Grove 1973 all over again…
Still Enfield came and Tolfrey made at least two fine saves to keep K’s ahead before substitute Jerry Amoo was felled in the box on the break with 3 minutes remaining. Amoo it was who grabbed the ball to take the penalty and just about forced it under the keeper who guessed the right way, choosing to celebrate with a knee-slide to the corner flag.
So K’s climb to 15th, probably three or four good hugs from Isthmian safety.
Match report by Taimour Lay.