Halfway through…

K’s have now played half their scheduled league fixtures, and currently sit within the play-off places. Most teams have games in hand, and will play them, weather permitting, during the Christmas break, a time when we don’t have a game. As a Boxing Day football hater, I am looking forward to doing virtually nothing.

This is a stupid division this season, there is nobody currently out there that is head and shoulders above the rest (though Haringey Borough could raise a collective hand and shout “oi!” in protest at that comment and they might have a point), and there are fifteen teams currently six points at most outside of the play-off zone. All of them, plus no doubt some others, have legitimate ambitions to get into those play-offs or even better. Happily, Kingstonian is one of them.

Saturday’s game against Bognor Regis Town was wet from the start, the type of weather on a game day that makes a groundsman have a nervous breakdown. Despite the conditions, Kingstonian were excellent almost throughout against a disappointing Rocks team that I expected far more from.

The visitors scored first, but Kingstonian’s almost immediate equaliser turned out to be the turning point of the game after just seven minutes. K’s now have four youngsters on loan from either Crystal Palace or Charlton Athletic, all four have smashed my previous belief that it’s a waste of time taking lads like this from higher clubs, I could not have been more wrong this time. Certainly in the case of the Palace lads, only because they have been with us most of the season, it has felt as if they have grown up very quickly right in front of our eyes, both Tyler Brown and James Daly are very different players from the ones that joined us in September.

Tyler missed Saturday through injury, but James scored his seventh goal of the season in the seventh minute of the Bognor match. I missed his goal against Enfield Town, but this equaliser, a bendy shot with more bend than a very bendy paper clip, against the Rocks was joyous.

We knew we had a bit of a gem with Alfie Doughty, who has been electric since he joined on loan from Charlton Athletic, but on Saturday I got my first glimpse of Ben Dempsey. All I will say is that there is something very good going on at Charlton (and Palace) if they are producing youngsters of this quality, Leigh Dynan has been doing some stonking business by bringing all four in.

Another player I saw for the first time in a K’s shirt was Sean Clohessy, when I first saw him I thought he used to be in either Queens of the Stone Age or System of a Down what with a bald head and goatee. Never mind that, though, based on one look (which I know isn’t the strongest data sample), Leigh has done another bit of shrewd business, the guy can defend and he’s more than useful going forward.

K’s were strong almost all afternoon against Bognor – there was no surprise when Shaun McAuley smashed a second, Louie Theophanous a third and on the hour Elliott Buchanan a glorious fourth. The only concern came from the incessant rain – two games (at Lewes and Whitehawk) had been abandoned already, we didn’t need this one to go the same way. Thankfully it didn’t and we moved back into the play-off zone with the type of fine team performance that gladdens the heart.

The main downer for me from the afternoon was that after the game I realised that I was unable to cheer Elliott’s glorious free kick. I was so busy getting the announcement out on the microphone and I felt that I missed out on the adrenaline surge that happens when you see your team scoring a goal, especially one of that quality.

Analysing what I do instead, it’s basically trying to check who actually scored in the first place, checking the stopwatch, adding 45 to the minute count (if it’s in the second half, but I do have a spreadsheet to help as I continually get it wrong), and then finally making the goal announcement hoping like heck I’ve identified the scorer correctly (there is often a swift attack of panic whilst making the announcement) and at the same time I’m checking to see if one of the teams has made a substitution or two (or three) or not and if they have sorting out who is coming on or going off. No wonder it feels like I get it wrong so frequently.

And it was on this occasion that I severely missed being able to do that loud guttural roar, that release of pent-up emotion and, bizarrely given the 4-1 scoreline and the positive performance of the team, for a while I felt very sad, because I don’t want to bottle it all up all the time and feel that I have no choice – I have an announcement to do and when I’ve done it, it’s too late. Maybe that’s why sometimes the good days fly over my head, almost getting forgotten, and the bad days stick and linger unhealthily.

Ah well, I suppose it’s the choice that I have made. The road that I live in certainly knows when Liverpool score (and when Tranmere Rovers do on the occasion of the Super Whites being on telly like last night), so maybe I make up for it – the wife once made the mistake of coming close to me just as Neil Mellor was scoring a screamer against Arsenal many moons ago, I’m not sure that her hearing returned at any time that week, certainly not in one ear…

So, it’s Corinthian-Casuals away on Saturday. Part of me wants to take a look near the press box to see how my counterpart copes with life in and around there, part of it just wants to watch the game and hope that the team can get another win (maybe an away win with me in attendance? it hasn’t happened yet this season…). I think we’re going to have to be at our very best to win this game, it is possible but it’s going to be very, very hard.

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