A decent afternoon

Saturday’s game against Folkestone Invicta was overall very good. The weather was foul as it chucked it down all day, the adjustment to a 2pm kick-off was actually more difficult to cope with than I thought, but when the game did start, it was good.

It was more like the Kingstonian that we thought we were going to get when that conveyor belt of players was signed up during the summer; I know we haven’t had a man of the match award for a long time, mostly in my opinion because at most home games it would have been difficult to find one (many a time I would have voted for an unused substitute for his supreme skill of hiding himself away from the manager), but on Saturday it would have been difficult to leave one out. There was a lot to admire in the way of attitude, determination and sheer bloody-minded desire to win – this can be most of the battle and you could easily say that this is where we have lacked so often.

Admittedly, Folkestone Invicta looked like a team that is very short of form and confidence (we know all too well what that looks like…), and the fixture computer gave them the wrong date to face a K’s side that was in the mood to do something good for themselves. Louie Theophanous came back from suspension and looked like the Louie that we had last season, the rest of the team joined in with this attitude and flew around the pitch for the whole time.

The biggest setback was when Rob Tolfrey went off the pitch with what looked like a concussion (proving that goalkeepers do indeed have brains) – I’m not sure if he’s going to be ok for the trip to Worthing, I haven’t heard anything myself, but from years of watching American football, rugby and other sports with heavy collisions, concussions are scary things. In retrospect I was surprised that he played on initially after his original injury, but players can be, shall we say, stubbornly stubborn when it comes to refusing to come off. I think in future it should be drummed into players that whatever physios say always should be immediately heeded, health before match result every time.

I still have a problem thinking about the Champions League Final between my beloved Liverpool and Real Madrid – when Loris Karius got that blow on the head, I do wonder why the Liverpool medical team didn’t drag him off immediately, after all we had Simon Mignolet on the bench and surely there must have been even the smallest suspicion about a concussion even though allegedly the symptoms didn’t show for a few days despite two of the worst goalkeeping errors you could ever want to see in a cup final (merci to Hugo Lloris and David de Gea for making bigger clangers in the FIFA World Cup). I’m still not sure that we lost because of this, it certainly didn’t help but anyway I thought we were decidedly second best on the night. On a slight aside, what a weird choice of goal of the season from whoever does the voting for the FIFA awards – I’m certainly pleased that Mo Salah got the award and goals against Everton are always special ones, but for me it was a run-of-the-mill goal for the Liverpool man and in my eyes the best goal, certainly in club football, was Gareth Bale’s overhead goal in that final against Liverpool. As Andy Gray used to say: “You don’t defend those.” It wasn’t as good as Bobby Traynor’s in the play-off against Sutton United, though…

Anyway, I’m writing about stuff for which I do not know the full story and could easily be a pile of platypus poo. What I do know is what I saw, which was a Kingstonian team that stood up and was counted when Tolfs went off, and for the most part they protected Sean Francis, who lost the game of rock-paper-scissors and went in goal, quite magnificently. Elliott Buchanan got himself another goal and I was delighted that James Daly finally got off the mark – James and the other Crystal Palace lad, full back Tyler Brown, have been outstanding for us and they are two very positive examples of how sometimes loans from bigger clubs do work (I’m usually skeptical, but Leigh has done some good business with these lads).

If only we could bottle this attitude that the guys showed on Saturday and reproduce it for them every single game, we would be in the finest of fettles.

It was an improved afternoon as well for at King George’s Field, mostly because Rosey found a large cardboard box for me to use as a makeshift table. This meant that I could put my laptop on said box and have it sitting in front of me. This in turn meant that I could see the laptop screen, do my typing when I needed to and didn’t have to twist around all the time trying to enter data into whatever system I happen to be using. This twisting and turning doesn’t help my back, which is still not so good, but the doctor said that it was merely a “mechanical back pain”, nothing more serious and here’s some stronger pain killers. I would have had to miss the Tonbridge Angels game because of the back, going from work in Croydon to Tolworth on the train carrying a very heavy rucksack full of equipment would have been impossible, but the strange floodlight issues we encountered last week meant that there would be no game. I was happy with that.

So, the pain killers, the cardboard box, the football, the result, they all made for a decent afternoon. Here’s to a lot more of them.

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