Worthing match report
match report by Eleanor Winter, end of report note by Jamie Cutteridge
The K's have the wind with them in the first half. They also had more cute children during the walk-out, so that immediately puts them at an advantage. Within the opening ten minutes I am a) surprised that the ball is yellow and b) impressed at how fast everyone can run backwards.
I've never seen a football match before, but I'm dating a K's fan who has dedicated two decades worth of weekends to these grounds. I planned to write a joke report, but I'm so immediately charmed by two elderly men with their granddaughters that I've changed my mind. In a city with a loneliness epidemic, cross-generational community spaces like these are to be treasured. This is going to be the best goddam match report you've ever read.
Initially, Kingstonian and the wind keep the action tight at Worthing's net. Gus Sow (8) does a really impressive back roll onto his head at one point, and I find myself really rooting for Andre Coker (10) simply because he's the closest person to me. And because he's the best at running backwards.
Before long Fabio Saraiva (3) attempts to score but it sails over the goal. This is a move I used in PE so I could spend the rest of the lesson pretending to look for the ball in the hedge. My notes tell me that at 3.15 there was a really cool bit where 6 people did a header in a row which made it feel like we were momentarily watching volleyball.
22 minutes in and we have a red card. Nobody at our end could see what happened, but we're convinced it was unjust. A free kick from Worthing prompts everyone around me to do a joint “ooh that was a good save”.
The Worthing fans start singing ''you're a knob of butter''. It is very catchy and I join in. The man in next to me thinks they're singing 'you're all a lot of bastards' but I prefer my version. On the whole, Kingstonian fans are louder but Worthing has a drum (extra points for being prepared). I propose a trombone next time to highlight comedy moments such as people falling over.
At 3.44 Worthing gets a boot at an open goal but skims the top. Within 60 seconds, Saraiva (3) has the ball back at Worthing's net but narrowly misses. At this point I realise I am completely sat with Worthing fans because everyone around me cheers.
My friend Jamie comes to find me at the interval and recommends that I stay in Block D. The action is likely to cluster at my end. Although Kingstonian is on a 12-match winning streak (ed: it's an unbeaten streak, but I prefer this version...!), Worthing are top of the league. The wind will now also be with them, rather than blowing bits of leaves into their eyes.
The whistle goes. Annoyed at the current 0:0 score, the goalkeepers take matters into their own hands and start booting it to each other for a bit. A Worthing player accidentally falls and trips over about 4 people. The ref is to blame, naturally.
The second half turns into a battle, as desperation spirals into grabbing. Worthing get a yellow card even though their player's shirt is literally ripped in half. The eight year olds in front of me are purple with rage.
Jamie was right: attacks come in hard and fast at Kingstonian's goal, but there are like 30 people and 300 legs in the way. Every single person apart from Worthing's goalie seems to be in the penalty box right now. I'm so stressed I start laughing uncontrollably.
In the final minute it starts being a game of 'everyone kick the ball at random' until it ends as abruptly as it started. I ask the kids in front of me if they'll have to come back and play each other again and they laugh like I've made an excellent joke.
Final score: 0:0
Final thoughts: I have literally nothing to compare this with this so 9/10
NB: Ks put in a really good performance against the league leaders Worthing, after playing for 70 minutes with 10 men after Harry Osborne was harshly sent off. New signing Andre Coker missed a great chance, Fabio missed a penalty, Simon Cooper hit the post. If it was 3-0 at half time, Worthing couldn’t have moaned. In the second half, Ks dug in and got a creditable point.
Worthing: 1 - Carl Rushworth, 2 - Jasper Pattenden, 4 - Danny Barker, 5 - Alfie Young, 6 - Aarran Racine, 7 - Fin Stevens, 8 - Ricky Aguiar, 10 - Connor Hunte, 11 - Reece Myles-Meekums, 14 - Alex Parsons, 16 - Ollie Pearce.
Subs: 3 - Joel Colran, 9 - Tom Chalaye (for Fin Stevens, 85m), 12 - Darren Budd, 15 - Marvin Armstrong (for Reece Myles-Meekums, 77m), 17 - Kieron Pamment (for Connor Hunte, 61m).
Red card: Harry Osborne (21m, denying goalscoring opportunity)