No fun for K's in this season's FA Trophy
Match report by Taimour Lay
Something we said to ourselves during the first lockdown: “When K’s returns, we won’t care so much about winning because we’ll just enjoy football being back.”
I hold true to this thought. The Halloween visit to Maldon & Tiptree, a mysterious Essex estuary which was – fittingly - the location of several notorious 16th century witch-trials, ended in a 3-2 defeat but, as usual, this K’s team proved itself reliably entertaining, if slightly dysfunctional. Two headed goals from Shomari Barnwell set the Step 4 Saltminers on their way. But substitute Corie Andrews came on after just 30 minutes and ran them ragged, culminating on the hour with a deserved goal to make it 2-1. As K’s fans found their voice, it seemed like the comeback was on. But Rob Tolfrey somehow got tackled in his own box and Hamza Kaid took advantage. 3-1. Fifteen minutes remaining and Simon Cooper received a straight red for a wild hip-high challenge on the run. Game over? Still K’s advanced: Andrews nipped in for his brace with 5 minutes left. 3-2. We couldn’t, could we?
No, we couldn’t. But we all had a nice day. Isn’t that enough?
Something else we said to ourselves during the first lockdown: “The next league season probably won’t finish nor will the knockout competitions so let’s save our energies until 2021/2022 when things are clearer and our glories will be undisputed.”
This third qualifying round FA Trophy tie was taking place at a time when the final of the 2019/2020 FA Trophy had still not been played. As the second half wore on, and Mr Johnson’s imminent press conference threatened another national pause, there was the distinct possibility of both the 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 FA Trophies ending without a winner, a set of unique circumstances that no doubt distracted Elliott Buchanan as he advanced on goal in the final seconds – after a fine Teo Kurtaran reverse pass - to make it 3-3 but instead aimed the ball at the Jammers’ keeper Ben McNamara.
Something further we said to ourselves during the first lockdown: “It was exquisitely well-timed that our best season in 20 years occurred in 2019/2020 just before a global pandemic struck and beautifully well-judged by Hayden Bird to have us sitting in inconsequential midtable in March 2020 when expungement could do us no harm”.
And once again we find ourselves nestled comfortably in 10th position. If Wednesday’s London derby against Haringey proves the final Isthmian contest of the season, let’s win 2-0 and end in 6th. (A 3-0 win would put us in 5th, triggering decades of terrace discussion about how the Winter of Discontent No2 robbed us of promotion.)
Something I said to myself during the first lockdown: “In the great span of Kingstonian’s history, this is a mere blip. Let’s use the time to delve into the past, appreciate that the club still exists and bring the fans together”.
So it was pleasing somehow that three generations of K’s fans got stuck on the 18.02 Colchester to London train - multiple signal failures at Shenfield - and gathered as one – like hardy wartime evacuees - around a transistor radio (well, Josh Bell’s smartphone) to hear Mr Johnson announce a new national lockdown from ….. Thursday! “Haringey’s still on! Get in!”…. No mention of Step 3 of the pyramid? Surely, as the ancient legal dictum states, “that which is not expressly prohibited is permitted”. Hope wavered in the air for a fun-filled November. “But if we’re off for a month, we return just in time for Lewes away!” The Royal Enclosure, by this stage, chose to look on the bright side and cranked up the volume on a sunny Beatles song to drown out the sorrowful news. The tech-savvy K’s Youth correctly pointed out that it’s hard to trust a government that doesn’t know how to operate powerpoint slides with a clicker. And the Pups treated the other side of the train carriage, thought to be populated by East Thurrock United fans, to a rousing rendition of “We are the K’s!”, a typically arrogant move which led a maskless Hackney Wick FC committee member – on his way back from their “home” game at Witham Town – to join us on for a heated and potentially life-threatening discussion about Step 6 ground gradings.
A final thing I said to myself during the first lockdown: “Life’s short. Let’s spend more time with loved ones and much less time at K’s”.
But see you all Wednesday night.
Maldon and Tiptree: Ben McNamara, Niran Butler, Alfie Mason, Sam Cornish, Joseph Turpin, Martyn Stokes, Aaron William-Bushell, Bradley McClenaghan, Shomari Barnwell, Hamza Kaid, Scott Kemp.
Subs: Rhamar Garrett-Douglas (for Alfie Mason, 20m), Andre Hasanally, Kojo Awotwi (for Aaron William-Bushell, 61m), Adam Vyse (for Shomari Barnwell, 77m), Sam Coombes, James Conway.
Red card: Simon Cooper (74m, foul)