RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
KINGSTONIAN – 1 [Sills 43]
SUTTON UNITED – 1 [Akuamouah 86]
Typical, you wait months for your Ryman League designated ‘derby’ fixture and then 2 come along in the space of 8 days. Oooooh the excitement. In fact we’re almost whipped into a frenzy of anticipation for this return fixture after the enthralling 0-0 draw at GGL on Easter Monday.
Well, maybe not, but we certainly felt the return of 3 senior players could swing this local encounter our way and go into the home straight of a somewhat crappy season having taken 3 points off K’s.
Well, that was the idea anyway.
Ambling into the Kings Tun by the station at half five, I’m in the unusual position of having some 2 hours drinking time before a game. A midweek away game no less! Naturally the serious pissheads have been in since before 5 so I grab a beer and join Jules and Bob.
With as much beer on board as we can muster in a little over a football match’s worth of time, we wander down towards K’s, stopping briefly in the Newt & Ferret for a bottle of some weird fruity Badger beer. As it turns out, the beer is more interesting than the game.
Our arrival at the ground is greeted by an expensive entry fee and some blokes selling 3 month old programs as the cash strapped home side have decided to ‘recycle’ the unused Boxing Day publication with a somewhat more up to date ‘insert’ inside. And by ‘insert’ we mean ‘bit of A5 with a welcome message and updated teams’. This doesn’t impress any of the visiting fans I see approach the sellers. Pretty much all of them turning on their heels and going sans-proggy rather than pay a couple of quid for a small sheet of paper.
Our spirits are raised when the teams are announced. Corbett, Wingfield and Timothy all return to the starting line up. We all know they’re probably not 100% but as this is the only match of any interest whatsoever left this season, we reason gambling on their experience could give us the edge. And hopefully a bloody goal, as we’re now just over the 500 minute mark since our last one was insterted into an onion bag.
Things get underway and very quickly the U’s game plan emerges. Go all out from the off and try to catch ‘em cold as Choc n Amber shirts swarm forwards looking for a goal.
Dave Timothy in particular is causing some massive problems down the right with some direct attacking runs at the opposing full back. Several corners are forced but are not delivered well enough of too close to Key in the K’s goal. Ex-K Phil Wingfield has some early joy down the left flank and after 10 minutes or so is involved in the U’s best chance so far. A sweeping ball finds Timothy on the far side and he skips past the full back to deliver a great teasing cross to the heart of the penalty area. Unfortunately both Wingfield and Haworth are waiting and neither calls for the ball. So rather than one of the U’s attackers leaving well alone so the other can nut the ball past a stranded ‘keeper, they both get in each others way and Key tips the weak looping effort over the bar for safety’s sake.
Undeterred, Sutton keep pressing but despite producing several good openings, the final touch is always lacking. Which you’d probably find hard to believe for a team that’s well towards it’s sixth match without a goal.
20 minutes in and our niggling fear that going all out for the first part of the half is pretty much plan A and that there is absolutely fuck all sign of a plan B is realised when the attacks dry up and the home side finally get their arses into gear.
For the remainder of the half, K’s own assaults on our goal become more frequent, but like ourselves force loads of corners but create few real chances. Then with half-time just 2 minutes away, the lads break out the sellotape, wrapping paper with a nice big silk bow and hand a complete gift of a goal to the opposition.
A long ball forwards is aimed at the U’s penalty area, but Mison is underneath and under no pressure. Normally a routine headed clearance, but not tonight. He completely misjudges the flight of the ball and can only get a slight touch on it. Which helps it into the path of the somewhat unmarked Tim Sills, who proceeds to thump a rather crisp first time effort past a completely stranded Dunn from the edge of the box. If we were wondering where Arkwright had left his toblerone shaped hat, it would appear it was obviously in Mr Mison’s kitbag.
While we’re on the subject, does anyone have the number for Guinness? I’m sure we’ve set an all time record for the number of totally pointless errors converted into goals during a season anywhere in the known footballing world this season. If Ryman League clubs recorded assists in their stats, we’d be well up there in most team’s figures I reckon given the amount of teeing up we do for the oppo.
To make matters worse, Dunn and Mison then engage in not their first toe to toe slanging match as to whose fault the fuck up was. As with the last time this happened against Gravesend, we at the far end unanimously chalk it up to the big bloke who is supposed to be a defender. Your header, your fuck up Mike, sorry!
So having had the lions share of the half, it’s yet again another unforced error by a so called defender that sends us in a goal down at the break. We wander dejectedly round to the open end of the ground for the second half wondering if we’ll come out and give it another go. Fat chance.
What we get is another abject display of incredibly poor passing, non-existant tackling and pissing away more possession than you can shake a stick at. Corbett and Wingfield are both visibly shagged out not even 10 minutes into the half, the gamble on two lads being less than 100% having failed somewhat. Timothy is still going, but is now facing two oppo players each time he gets the ball and is now totally ineffective as an attacking force.
The home side move the ball fairly well, but rely on knocking passes over the heads of our flat footed defence for their lively forwards to run onto as their main source of supply. This is particularly effective on the left where Gonsalves is having an absolute nightmare, being constantly pulled all over the place before having it popped over his head for a runner in behind.
Quite how K’s fail to add to their tally is beyond me. No less than 4 times Dunn denies their strikers in one on one situations during the half, whilst our defenders back off in other situations around our own area when we should really be a tadge tighter & pressing the attacking hooped shirts.
The half is summed up when with 15 minutes to play, the U’s win their first corner of the half. Little comes of it, easily headed away with minimal fuss.
Wingfield and Timothy are withdrawn soon after and replaced by Gray and Fowler. Fowler again has little to do, but Matt Gray gets straight into the action and once again looks the only player remotely capable of causing the oppo any real problems.
The fact is bourne out when a good tricky run down the right ends in a low ball to the near post. A defender misses his clearance completely and Corbett slides in to get his toe to the ball. It bobbles up and straight into the arms of a grounded Lance Key. We sigh and mutter about ‘no luck’ and wonder just where our next goal will come from.
K’s blow a couple more opportunities, including yet another one on one with Dunn which he just gets enough on the save to make the ball bobble the wrong side of the post for a corner. Then, with 4 minutes left on the clock, a big hoof is played upfield out to the left. Pushing up, the K’s defence is caught a bit too deep and the so far quiet Ex-Kingstonian hero, Eddie Akuamouah races after the ball. He collects and drives straight towards the penalty area and with the home defence far too slow to react to the danger, he has a free run in before applying the coupe de grace by thumping a low angled drive under the dive of Key and into the bottom corner of the net.
Woooo Hoo! We’ve scored! An actual goal! We go mental as Eddie spins away in delight. And he’s already on his way to the left hand touchline, with his shirt half off as the K’s defenders finally finish tracking back.
On he goes, sprinting up the touchline whirling his Choc n Amber shirt above his head, celebrating not only the first Sutton goal in nearly 10 hours, but a late solo equaliser against the club who dumped him during the summer. “They won’t like that!” comments Chalmers. “Yeah, but do we really give a shit?” Bob and I reply. The evil cackle that follows adequately answers the question.
A frantic last couple of minutes follow as both sides hunt for a clincher, but for us to hope for a winner is probably taking the piss a bit too much and the ref blows for time with honours satisfyingly (for us anyway) even. Although, quite how, we’re not too sure yet!
We trudge down Jack Goodchild Way, heading for Chalmers car and a “first goal for 588 minutes” celebratory pint in the Newt & Ferret on our minds, smirking like people who have just got away with something a bit on the sneaky side, when we hear a shout from the opposite pavement.
Bob’s response is instant and completely without irony whatsoever.
“Bollocks, we won on away goals.”
And you know, I think he has a point there.
One thing’s for sure, with that goal tonight and his less than subdued celebration after it, I think we can safely say that Mr Akuamouah, to coin a chant recently heard at GGL, most certainly is “not Kingston any more”.
Aye. He’s moved up in the world lads.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Dave Timothy. Only really effective man on the pitch for most of the game.
ENTERTAINMENT : 7. Just for Eddies goal and celebration. Rest was pants.
TEAM : Dunn, Mison, Palmer, Gonsalves, Drew, Timothy, Corbett, Honey, Wingfield, Haworth, Akuamouah. SUBS : Gray, Fowler, Bailey