More despair at hands of Edwards' Amber Army
Match report by Taimour Lay
A five-minute walk from “The Stadium”, as Cheshunt’s home is functionally known, lie the ruins of Theobalds Palace, originally William Cecil’s 16th century estate. It later became a favourite haunt of Elizabeth I, before King James took it over in 1607. When he died here in 1625, his son Charles was proclaimed King at the gates. Come the Civil War of the 1640s, royal palaces were - to put it mildly - out of fashion and Theobalds was destroyed piecemeal, the red brick taken away and the maze flattened by revolutionary fervour.
In 2020, there are still old walls and foundations peeping through the grass, a Covid-secure café, Lebanese cedar trees and domestic pets pooping behind council bins, all soundtracked by the onrushing M25. William Cecil would be saddened.
But all things must pass. A Cecil for our times, nay a modern-day Ozymandias, Craig Edwards invites us to look on his mighty works and despair. Since saving K’s from relegation and doom in 2017, Edwards has moved on and built a new project at Cheshunt, taking a likeable but unambitious Isthmian North club into Step 3 where they have fast become a bogey team. The Stadium is now an Elizabethan theatre of dreams as the “Cheshunt Youth” pack the small terrace behind the goal to scream for blood and thunder.
As for history, Edwards claims to be 18 matches unbeaten against Hayden Bird, a record stretching back to Cromwell’s Republic, the kind of Isthmian statistic it is almost impossible to fact-check without being able to telephone Alan Turvey – although I think the number of matches without defeat was previously being trumpeted as 21 just last season which may raise doubts as to its veracity.
In any event, it would be true to say that Edwards enjoys beating K’s these days and, following a 3-1 assault in January 2020, when Dan Bennett was sent off for dissent, followed by a home hammering in the final match of the expunged campaign, this was another frustrating day in the historic borough of Broxbourne.
K’s started badly. First former Dynan tyro Taylor Miles curled a tidy effort into the top corner after static defending. Then, a ludicrous penalty decision from the referee, fooled by a dive, allowed Reece Beckles-Richards to make it 2-0 with only 14 minutes on the clock.
To their credit, K’s then spent the rest of the first-half playing some of the best attacking football we’ve seen this season, rampaging through Cheshunt’s defences like well-trained Roundheads, Andre Coker finding pockets to regularly set Tom Richards free down the left while right-back Juevan Spencer showed his prowess on the other side and Kadell Daniel tormented the clumsy Adam Crowther, who proved more space-filler than footballer.
It was Spencer who set up Kingstonian’s first on 16 minutes, dancing down the wing before whipping a ball across the face for Elliot Buchanan to stab home. Five minutes later, it was 2-2, a handball in the box leading to Tom Kavanagh dispatching the penalty low to Mitchell Beaney’s right.
Buchanan hit the bar with a free-kick as K’s ran riot before the half-time whistle. It seemed only a matter of time before we got the winner. But on the hour, Fabio Saraiva received a straight red for an only marginally aggressive sliding tackle. No one was injured. But Edwards and the Cheshunt bench protested as one and the referee reached for his card before you could say “he got the ball!”
Even then, K’s looked the likelier. And just as the away team was launching another counter-attack, a pass hit the referee on his behind. Correctly deciding on an uncontested dropball, the official contrived to throw the ball hysterically to Kavanagh’s left, rather than drop it straight down, which forced the midfielder into an awkward pass to Simon Cooper, who slipped. Cheshunt duly latched onto the loose ball and Anderson Pinto’s shot across Rob Tolfrey snuck in.
Substitute Corie Andrews created two decent chances to equalise but, despite late pressure, it was another defeat to Edwards.
But as the hordes roared at full-time, and the metal and plastic of the renovated ground echoed to a rendition of “Ring-a-ding-ding”, I comforted myself by picturing it all in 500 years from now, perhaps after another English civil war and two more global pandemics, the overgrown grass having long since reclaimed The Stadium, an Edwards statue half-buried beneath toxic soil and a wild dog roaming the barren landscape, sniffing disinterestedly at a rust-eroded sign whose faded letters read “Come on you Ambers!”
Cheshunt: Mitchell Beeney, Ola Williams, Tanasheh Abrahams, Taylor Miles, Jeremy Arthur, Adam Crowther, Nana Adarkwa, Joe Re, Mo Camara, Reece Beckles Richards, Jamie Reynolds.
Subs: Taylor McKenzie, Derek Asamoah (for Nana Adarkwa, 81m), Ayman Charbaoui, Anderson Pinto (for Taylor Miles, 41m), Zack Newton (for Mo Camara, 75m).
Red cards: Fabio Saraiva (58m, foul), Anderson Pinto (84m, second caution)