Including the pre-season friendlies, we’ve visited Weymouth, Hastings (twice), Bognor Regis, Brighton (en route to Whitehawk) and now Worthing on the South Coast of England. Zero victories this season. I no longer like visiting the South Coast. It has become synonymous with disappointment. With the FA Trophy draw being made this lunchtime, I am quite sure that we will be drawn away to a South Coast team, and the swearwords flying out of a ninth-floor office near to East Croydon station will be of a standard rarely heard, and will be sure to cause offence.
For me, it was another uncomfortable and dissatisfying weekend. Rosey and I did the usual thing of travelling down on Friday night, I made the ridiculous error when booking of getting a room with two single beds – believe me, this was not intentional and not symptomatic about how I feel about our marriage, that and my relationship with Rosey are probably the only things I am sure about these days. Not as a result of this error, by the way I think this is why we usually let Rosey do the booking as I seem to be rather useless at it, but Friday night was rubbish. I’m not a good sleeper anyway, I’ve lost the art of sleeping since my teenage days, but even by my current low standards this wasn’t a good night. Saturday morning I got up un-refreshed. more moody than normal (how Rosey puts up with my consistently inconsistent crap is beyond me) and something that has been intensifying in recent weeks started interfering, pre-match anxiety.
Pre-match anxiety manifests itself these days in the form of desperately not wanting to be where I currently happen to be. I touched on this two posts ago, but it’s been around for quite a long time, the first time it became slightly unbearable was during the first half of a match away to Leatherhead, this might have been in our last season at Kingsmeadow or even the season before. This was an unusual place to have this happen because I used to be programme editor at Fetcham Grove and I actually really like the place, Leatherhead were good to me and always have been, so I can’t explain why this happened where it did.
One reason why I didn’t sleep well was my back – it is much improved on previous weeks, but it still hurts or gets uncomfortable when trying to sleep. At home, I can retreat to the armchair, where it’s not as uncomfortable but nevertheless my sleeping is still a bit erratic. So, bad mood when getting into the car at the hotel on the Worthing seafront. Many discussions between wife and husband as to whether we should even go. After all, the bird sanctuary at Arundel is not far away, it’s a place I love and don’t visit often enough. We decide to go to the football. We’re there early, the fare at the burger bar is very nice, I want to hide in the main stand, I don’t particularly want to talk to anyone apart from Rosey. It’s unfair on Rosey because most of my conversation revolves around how I don’t feel well. The anxiety builds and I feel more and more tired, it’s absolutely nobody’s fault but I am not enjoying my Worthing experience.
As for the game, it’s a strange one. Both teams have debutant teenage goalkeepers – Worthing were forced into this because their excellent current number one Lucas Covolan has a broken arm, Kingstonian put Sam Mason in between the sticks as Rob Tolfrey is still in concussion protocol. Seeing as I didn’t think football at our level had a concussion protocol, in a weird way this was a good thing to learn. Anyway, we competed well with the team that is second in the table, but didn’t threaten the goal too often. Tactic number one facing a new goalkeeper is to test him, quickly and often. Both sides, to be truthful, mostly failed in this aspect, at the half both teams had scored one quite silly goal to go into the break at 1-1, so whilst we were doing ok, there was definitely room for improvement.
I’m not sure the improvement duly came, we had an issue when Tyler Brown was forced off injured and was replaced by a not-match-fit Andrew Musungu. Unlike the previous week, when the defence protected Sean Francis when he went into goal after Rob’s injury, this time the defence couldn’t do the same, either for the inexperienced Sam Mason or the not-match-fit Andrew Musungu. Both Worthing goals in the second half came down our left hand side where there were yawning gaps between Jay Gasson and Andrew Musungu – poor Sam Mason was completely blameless with all three goals but a little more forethought could have prevented a defeat that went to a scale that our general play didn’t completely deserve. Having said that, we huffed and puffed too much and our front two were given poor service once again, this is something that we absolutely have to rectify very quickly – we have two of the best forwards in the division, yet there’s no point having them if they’re not given enough quality possession in quality areas.
I was pleased when the game was over – maybe we should have gone to Arundel, my stress levels would have gone down significantly in theory, maybe I made a mistake. Maybe I just don’t love non-league football any more, maybe I’m staler than the stalest piece of stale bread. And probably, weather permitting, I’ll be off down to Camberley tomorrow and whatever the result I will be wondering why the heck I did it…I’ve got to somehow work out what the heck I am to do… Anyway, the FA Trophy draw is due very soon, prepare ye for very unusual language flowing from the East Croydon area, unusual even for East Croydon standards…