It’s amazing how often this happens – momentous history-making result followed rapidly by reality grabbing an electric eel and slapping you in the face with it. But, to the Bognor game last night a little later.
Monday night was FA Cup First Round draw night, and it was absolutely bloody terrifying. Firstly, there was desperation to avoid a long list of clubs (I’ve said previously that I didn’t care who we got, but that was just a plain old fib of the highest order), then there was equal desperation to be drawn against someone really big like Sunderland, Portsmouth, etc., the dream of getting Tranmere Rovers away went away, and then there was the chance of getting the bye as it felt like everyone else was being drawn out of the bowl. The bye would have been very nice, some free money and also (with a secretary’s hat on) the chance to not postpone our game with Folkestone Invicta.
Every time a club from one of these lists were drawn out, there were internal cries of “No! No! No!” or “Please yes! Gimme them!” – thankfully the cries were internal otherwise there would have been some serious questions being asked by the wife. If the last few minutes of the Dartford game were stressful, they were nothing compared to the horrendously long wait for ball number 78 to be revealed.
In the end, Chichester City were last out of the bowl and gained the bye plus First Round winners’ prize money. And I’m genuinely pleased for them, it just feels right that this should happen to a club where this money (and the money gained from whatever happens in Round Two to them) is almost certainly going to make a massive difference and leave some kind of legacy for them. Good luck to them, says I.
Kingstonian did eventually get a tie, and it wasn’t one that would have been on many people’s wish lists, but nonetheless I am very excited to have been drawn away to Macclesfield Town. The league that we play in is relatively parochial compared to the other two divisions at our level, and one of the perks of being in the FA Cup is to boldly go where no K has gone before (or at least for a heck of a long time) – so to go up north to play a Football League club for the first time in a competitive match since I joined the K’s is absolutely something to look forward to.
I was wanting to go up to Liverpool for a few days surrounding the game – I am still, very impatiently like every other K’s supporter, waiting for the FA to reveal precisely what day and time the game will be, so it’s frustrating to not be able to book either a hotel or time off work… – but I’ve just noticed that Liverpool are at home to Manchester City that Sunday. That means that the chances of finding a hotel will be not that great, so I guess the holiday will be nearer to Macclesfield that intended, but that is not going to be a bad thing. Jodrell Bank is reasonably close, that’s right up my alley for tourist attraction-type things…
Away to Macclesfield Town is going to be an adventure and that’s the type of thing that the FA Cup can bring, and I’m so pleased that for once it’s happening to us.
Last night’s game against Bognor Regis Town saw us fall back to earth after the ecstaticness of the away win at Dartford. We certainly didn’t underestimate the Rocks, and I don’t think that we weren’t up for it because the work rate was still there. We lacked a little bit of quality, missed several glorious chances, switched off at the start of the second half and duly conceded the only goal just fifty-one seconds after the re-start. Let’s be fair, Bognor worked their backsides off, could easily have scored one or two more goals themselves, but we’ve really got little excuse for losing that game.
There’s been a number of games where we’ve said that the opposition goalkeeper played a blinder, and yes, last night Amadou Tangara was excellent as expected, and put the blame on that whilst shrugging our shoulders. But there comes a time, and it was quite obvious last night, when you have to point at your own players and tell them to be more clinical, stop trying to complicate matters, just get those crosses in, populate the penalty area, shoot on sight, get your headers on target and stop being so darn afraid to make a mistake, quit with trying to score the perfect goal, anything off your behind is just as good as the thirty yard screamer. If we have a Plan A and it doesn’t work, try Plan B for a little bit, sticking to the one plan makes you easy to defend, you can always go back to Plan A, or maybe there’s a Plan A+ that comes out of it. It can’t be the opposition goalkeeper having a blinder every time, we need to stick the round faux-leathery thing into the netty thing, it’s as simple as that.
I know we’re a work in progress and I know that it can’t go swimmingly every game, but there’s this hesitancy sometimes, mostly in league games so far, there doesn’t need to be and it’s frustrating.
It’ll click soon, in fact it’s beginning to click far more often than not, and results have shown that to be the case, it’s a pity that our league position is not currently reflecting that.
And so to this Saturday – firstly I have to thank all my contributors and also Stuart Tree from Corinthian-Casuals, having home games on Wednesday and Saturday brings with it much deadline angst in compiling programmes that come anywhere close to being decent. So, most of Saturday’s programme was finished on Tuesday night thanks to my contributors and Stuart, so hopefully I won’t be up at one in the morning actually sending the thing to the printer (there is an NFL game on that late tonight, but it’s my Washington Redskins and they are so very horrible this year / decade / century / millennium and it’s so disappointing to see them even worse than usual, historically so, this season).
The game itself, an FA Trophy First Qualifying Round tie against landlords Corinthian-Casuals is going to be harder than a Samoan headbutt (pro wrestling fans might understand that…). It’s the most local of local derbies, form (whether good or bad) does go right out of the window, and recent history shows a pretty ordinary record against our opponents. I’m still not sure how we managed to do the double over them last season, both games were dreadful and we squeaked home in both of them. Forget the fact that Cor-Cas are bottom of the league without a win, this is a team that beat Chelmsford City in the FA Cup and I’m sure that they will be more than ready to turn us over. We have to be disciplined, professional and, more to the point, good to win the game. Let’s go do it.