It was always going to be difficult, Lewes have started their first season back in the Premier Division like a house on fire and can rightly be regarded as one of those clubs who are shooting for promotion. For Kingstonian to categorise themselves in that echelon, then a win was absolutely necessary.
We got it, and it was done in a very impressive and downright gutsy way, as we were a man down for the whole of the second half, having lost the influential Tommy Brewer to two yellow cards in the first stanza. The referee made a hash of his first booking, as he blew for a foul just as Tommy was clearing the ball into row Z – to me the two things happened at the same time, so the card was mightily harsh. The second yellow to me didn’t look harsh, unfortunately; you could possibly moan that Tommy shouldn’t have dived in like that, but then that’s symptomatic of how he plays and to attempt to get him to calm it down a little is a) a waste of breath as he wouldn’t do that anyway and b) not doing us any favours anyway as he’s probably not going to be as influential if he does that and in turn that hurts the team. It was one of those things, he apologised on Twitter, really he had nothing to apologise for.
We were already 1-0 up by then, thanks to a close range James Daly poached-type goals. After Tommy’s red card, we hung on nicely before the break, but immediately after the break, roughly thirty seconds or so, Lewes equalised. I missed the goal as I was busy putting my laptop speakers away, or more accurately trying to unravel myself from all the leads from my laptop speakers. The situation regarding these is that in order to play music at King George’s Field, I have to blast it out of my laptop and point the microphone at the speakers. Because there’s so many wires and leads flying around where I sit, things can get messy very quickly, and as a result I missed the Lewes goal…
For much of the second half, it felt as if it would be a matter of time before Lewes took all the points, but there (very slowly in my case) became this realisation that Lewes really didn’t have all that much on the day to hurt us. And when the catastrophic defensive error looked less and less likely to happen, I even afforded myself the sneaking suspicion that we possibly had the chance to win the game. A very strange glass-half-full feeling, surely something would occur to batter that feeling into submission.
And then it happened, one of the very best goals I’ve seen in a long while, especially for K’s, especially given the situation of the match, the quality of opponent and how late in the game it was. With just six minutes remaining, Alfie Doughty zoomed down the right wing, launched the sweetest of sweet first time crosses into the box, where Elliott Buchanan was on hand to power a header home. You can’t defend that when it’s that good. It was glorious, beautiful, wondrous, poetry in footballing motion. And it felt rather important as well.
Time now slowed down to a crawl, I had too much respect for Lewes to believe that they were done for, and we know from our Bedford escapades that hanging on to a one-goal lead is not the easiest thing for Kingstonian to do in recent weeks. Nerves got ever more frayed, glances at the stopwatch more frequent, when we went past the minimum three minutes of added time, the fearfulness of a Bedford game one repeat was screaming louder and louder and then…
A massive win. A brave and gutsy win, full of desire, team ethic, hard work, (dare I say “pace and power”? Maybe not…), the players just wanted it so bad. There’s something good beginning to happen, but tomorrow night is the biggest test of all so far when the league leaders Tonbridge Angels come to town. The Angels’ current away form is apparently equally as good as our current home form, so maybe a 0-0 draw is guaranteed, but regardless of result, both teams will know that they will have been in a battle.
And yet, two and a bit hours earlier, I was 99% sure that I was going home without attending the match. Nothing anyone did, nothing anyone said, my current home game anxiety almost got the better of me, I didn’t want to get out of the car and I was asking to go back from whence we came, the anxiety was overwhelming. It was really only when Rosey made up her mind and refused to drive home (for she wasn’t feeling the best before the game either) that we left the car and got on with what we do. Rosey got on with helping with the club shop, I got on with connecting all the wires and leads in and around the press box, and before we knew it, it was nearly game time. Might as well stay, then. Very pleased we stayed, thank you wifey for the good call!
It is fun watching a Kingstonian team giving it everything and a bit more. It would have been a darn shame had I missed it, and I’m still pleased and grateful to Rosey that I didn’t.