“Never write anything whilst you are angry.” That, basically, is my cardinal rule for writing my editor’s notes for the Kingstonian programme over the years (it was never 100% followed, probably not remotely close to that, but the rule is there.). Two days after the opening day of the season, I reckon I might be breaking that rule at the first opportunity in this blog.
It’s all too easy to snap and go overboard when a result goes either way on opening day – remember last season we beat Billericay Town, thought we were going to be in for a decent season (and that Billericay might struggle a bit more than expected) – we went on to use well over seventy players and struggled for most of the season, Billericay did indeed win the title (in fact we kept the only clean sheet against Billericay all season in the league, I still don’t believe that stat), and the joke that we had peaked when Lewis Taylor scored that remarkable 90th minute goal probably turned out to be true.
We’ve tried not to make massive noises during the summer, but the long list of signings that we made for genuinely talented players with oodles of experiences can’t fail to make some ripples. And we couldn’t fail to feel confident that something good is about to happen.
I believe something good is still on its way, but the danger always persists that confidence can move over to something less palatable, either it can manifest itself into pressure or into some form of arrogance. Ever the glass-half-empty person, I was concerned that we might underestimate Brightlingsea Regent, we might take them lightly, and if we did, then we would get burned. Were we arrogant? Did we take them lightly? I don’t know, I have my suspicions with some of the squad, but I’m 200% sure that Leigh Dynan didn’t take them lightly one little bit. What I do know is that we got burned, and Brightlingsea Regent got a win that they thoroughly deserved.
The three goals we conceded, though, should never have happened. You can point an accusatory finger at the defence for all three goals, as well as they were all taken by our visitors. Our midfield was mostly dominated, we didn’t pass the ball around as well as we know we can, in fact we resorted far too quickly to the good old-fashioned hoof, which never did work. For his part, the referee didn’t have his best day, getting several important calls wrong, especially the last minute red card for Elliott Buchanan, which was one of the poorest calls I’ve seen in many a campaign, but his performance (he is normally a darn good referee, and referees are entitled to the occasional bad day as well) can’t be allowed to mask how ordinary Kingstonian were on the day. It was probably only when we went down to ten men that we finally got a grip on the game, and we could easily have stolen a point before Elliott’s red card, but truth be told whilst I would have been delighted to take it, it would have been in the knowledge that we didn’t deserve it.
So yes, there are definite concerns, but it’s just one game. A lot of the footballing world wet themselves laughing at Billericay Town this time last year, yet here they are in the top three of the National League South. Maybe, to open up Ye Olde Book of Cliches, we needed this, despite the closeness of the scoreline, caning. It’s away to Potters Bar Town tomorrow night, a promoted side that finished second in their division behind AFC Hornchurch last time out and defeated Burgess Hill Town at the home of the Hillians (something we have a habit of spectacularly failing to do in recent seasons). It will be their first home game at this level of football and they will be massively up for the battle.
We had better be ready.