Kingstonian’s players at least have gotten used to the idea of King George’s Field as a home venue – the guys have been outstanding in a large number of recent home games. The latest one, against a very good Tonbridge Angels team, can be classed ultimately a point gained, though initially it didn’t feel that way.
To have lost Rob Tolfrey through illness, Shaun McAuley through injury (he was on the bench but I’d have been surprised if he was risked) and then in the second half Elliott Buchanan through injury, and still get a positive scoreline out of the game in the shape of a 1-1 draw, that’s a fine result. Yes, it was frustrating when Tonbridge equalised with just four minutes remaining, but to be truthful, their equaliser had been coming for at least twenty minutes. It was both our inability to keep possession and our brave and, at times, desperate defending that held the Angels out for so long.
Tonbridge Angels are probably the best team I have seen us play so far. Mentally on Wednesday night they were spot on, they never panicked when one down and they never gave up for a second. And, certainly in the case of their left back Sammy Knott, very brave too. The Angels’ player hurt himself early in the second half with what looked like an ankle or heel problem, fought through obvious pain for the rest of the game and played very well indeed. He deserves a lot of credit.
Anyway, K’s know now for sure that they can hang with the best in the division, and K’s also still know that there is room for improvement. Obvious destination for where the improvement should lie is on our travels. The only away game we have won so far this season, and I missed it, was away to Camberley Town in the Surrey Senior Cup. We have a large goose egg in the away win column and that needs to go away. We have two away games coming up in quick succession, against Burgess Hill Town on Saturday, Leatherhead on Wednesday.
Despite both the Hillians and the Tanners sitting too low in the table for their liking, both teams have a good recent record against us, two years in a row we’ve gone to the Green Elephant Stadium and stunk the place out both times (Tommy Williams sacked after the first one, Craig Edwards walking not long after the second one), and last season in games against Leatherhead, at times you couldn’t see our guys because they were in Tanners’ players pockets. Obviously it’s different times, different squads, but if we play with the same attitude that we’ve had in recent weeks, then I like our chances of getting off the mark when it comes to away wins. They are both big games and we need to perform.
The First Round of the FA Cup apparently begins tonight, I say apparently because I’m only interested in how Tranmere Rovers do against Oxford City tomorrow, but I am guessing that we’ll get the usual claptrap from the media. It’s normally overbearing stuff about clubs being dubbed as “minnows” and how players from non-league clubs are not full time (and then insist on telling us their occupation), or how the Football League player has dropped down twenty-three divisions (“no, I’m not using this as a stepping stone back into the league.” Yeah, right.) and the media loves being condescending, etc., etc., and I find it all to be an almighty turn-off. And the first person who states “The FA Cup starts here” desperately needs to be tarred and feathered.
The Third Round can be even worse – Liverpool’s game is usually televised, and if it’s against a team outside the Premier League then it’s the biggest game in the opposition’s history, ground X is packed to the rafters, haven’t seen a night like this – let’s face it, the TV cameras turn up because they want Liverpool to get beat and if they don’t then Liverpool did what they are supposed to do, the opposition are plucky and get all the credit anyway. It’s a no-win situation.
And, to be truthful, I am filled with nothing but jealousy for these clubs who successfully battle their way through to the First Round – I joined Kingstonian in 2001, the previous year they reached the Fourth Round and those that can remember still think that Graham Poll robbed them of a Fifth Round berth. Since 2001, the K’s have gone no further than the Third Qualifying Round, and this stat drives me around the bend – sadly, as I’ve said before, the FA Cup happens to other people…so does the FA Trophy it seems… I’m not fond of jealousy, so with due respect to everyone, I think I’ll avoid as much of the coverage as I can and concentrate on watching either American Football, qualifying for the Grand Prix if I get home in time from Burgess Hill, or some cooking show safe in the knowledge that I’ll never do the recipe whilst at the same time ordering a kebab with extra chili sauce. Well, it ain’t going to be anything with coriander, artichoke hearts or broccoli stems in an aromatic chocolate, miniature cactus spikes (ground down to a powder, naturally) and antelope kidney jus, that’s for sure.