And believe me – “ok” is one heck of an improvement on the last visit, and I’ll take it every day of the week! It was more than “ok” but one cannot get ahead of oneself, yah?
Firstly, ye olde saga about the league sponsor – suffice to say at the moment that this is a very fast moving story. I think a lot of people have not thought through ramifications and consequences of things that have been said and agreed and advised, and alterations are having to be made. Further comments may be scribbled in this blog later, but genuinely things are happening very quickly and it’s a little tough to keep up with it all.
So, our trip to Dorking – easily in my eyes one of the most picturesque visits in the south of England. With Box Hill and the rest of the South Downs in the distance, the Meadowbank is one of those grounds that I enjoy visiting, when we’re not getting stuffed 7-1, that is. Dorking Wanderers are an overnight sensation well over a decade in the making – they have their detractors that say it’s only money that got them to where they are, but the clubs of those detractors usually either don’t have the money or do have the money but not the talent, whilst money alone does help out big time, if you don’t know what to do with it, it’s a waste of resources. The truth is that an enormous amount of hard work has got the Wanderers to where they are, they certainly have my respect, and they fully deserve their success.
The game itself, for a friendly match in the early part of July, wasn’t bad at all. Considering our opponents were the Isthmian League Champions, and were two weeks ahead of us in pre-season schedule (their new league starts before ours does), and we had a few people away on holiday, and it was our first match with an almost totally new squad, and we were let off with a 7-1 defeat by a team who hardly ever got out of first gear last season, it really really wasn’t bad at all. We had the surprise return of Louie Theophanous, who looked as motivated as he was when he was with us on loan from Billericay Town – it must have been so easy to be demotivated last season, after all, most of us watching were certainly that – a motivated Louie is a dangerous one and is to be welcomed. We had some others from last season; Rob Tolfrey as usual, Sean Clohessy looked fit and raring to go, David Fitzpatrick ditto, Leo Chambers came on just after half time.
We took the lead in the 17th minute with a glorious free kick from the mercurial Dan Bennett, back at the K’s having followed Hayden from the Moatside. Elliott Buchanan kept up with tradition and became the latest former Kingstonian player to score against us: though to be honest we’ve had so many players in and out the madhouse in the last few seasons that there’s an excellent chance that absolutely anybody who scores against us is a former K’s player… Tom Richards scored a nice goal not long before half time, and if it had been a league game, I’d have felt a little miffed at being a goal down. Jason Prior scored a penalty around the hour mark, a kick given for something I didn’t very well – I made the mistake of sitting on the very right hand side of the main stand, which meant that any football down that end was viewed through either glass or wibbly perspex, I didn’t worry about what the material was. We got a goal back through our Whyteleafe signing Dan Thompson and could quite easily have equalised late on, but it’s ok, we did very well. An away game, and the local cat population could be assured that it was safe from being kicked, that in itself was unusual.
All in all, therefore, despite losing 2-3 to a team above us in the pyramid, I quite enjoyed what I was watching. The truth was that I didn’t really know who I was watching, after all we had a very large amount of new players and also they were wearing last season’s disastrous away shirts, the shirts where white numbers on yellow background really kept players anonymous. This wasn’t a bad thing for them last season, to be honest, but I am told that the numbers will be legible when the 2019-20 shirts are delivered.
Tonight it’s another trip to 3g-land as we face Walton Casuals, so it will be another friendly against what I believe will be strong opposition. I’m quite looking forward to it, it’s a strange feeling to be a little bit glass half full at the moment, hopefully that will continue.