Saturday 7 September was non-league
day. There were no Premiership fixtures and Kingstonian FC had a
number of offers to attract football supporters down to Kingsmeadow
(half price admission for any season ticket holder).
I had attended Kingstonian’s opening home league fixture and been
pretty impressed by the new players recruited by Alan Dowse and the
quality of the play in a 3-0 victory over Enfield Town so, on a sunny
afternoon, I paid my second visit of the season to watch the K’s.
I like to stand behind the dugouts as you get a good view of all of
the pitch and have the added bonus of hearing the manager’s and
coaches shrewed tactical thinking as the game unfolds.
Kingston started quite sluggishly and fell behind after 15 minutes
when Dee Okojie carelessly lost possession on the halfway line and
Duru took advantage by firing past Rob Tolfrey to give the visitors a
Kingston came back without creating many clear cut chances and the
Grays goalkeeper embarked on time-wasting often taking a lengthy drink
and applying sun tan lotion before finally taking each goal kick.
Dowse tirelessly urged his team on shouting ‘Keep going - it’ll come’
and sure enough, on the stroke of half-time, it did come when Andre
McCollin met a decent cross and planted the ball back past the keeper
into the corner with a firm header.
It wasn’t a dirty game was spoiled by some rather fussy and at times
inept refereeeing. In addition, there were a couple of ‘handbags at
six paces’ confrontrations where all 20 outfield players foolishly
chose to get involved screaming ‘Leave it - he’s just not worth
it’. Not a great advert for non-league football.
The second half got underway and Gary Abbott, Dowse’s Number 2, rather
aptly kept on screaming ‘Second ball now, lads’, ‘Seconds’, ‘Let’s
have seconds’. Martin Tyler (first team coach and Sky commentator)
who has probably had enough of constantly talking during a football
match, remained seated in the dugout for the most part keeping a
dignified silence. The other theme for the day seemed to be
‘Squeezing’. Dowse and Abbott repeatedly and loudly kept urging the
players to ‘Squeeze’. Sometimes, it was to ‘Squeeze ‘em’ or ‘Squeeze
up’ or occasionally ‘Just fucking SQUEEZE !’.
When his team is defending, Dowse also uses a very strange phrase to
his defenders - it sounds like ‘Good foul, good foul now’. As Alan
Dowse has a heavy Geordie accent, I can’t make it out properly - it
might be ‘Go on now, tackle him and dinnae give away a foul, man’ or
it might just be ‘Commit a good foul but disguise it so no free-kick
Anyway, I digress - Kingston opened the second half quite brightly
and, after 53 minutes, took a rather undeserved lead given that Grays
had been on top for the first half hour. A carefully rehearsed
free-kick routine saw two players both go to take it simultaneously,
everyone laughed and while Grays were distracted, the ball was thread
past on the blindside of the defensive wall for McCollin to net his
second and put Kingston into the lead.
Five minutes later, McCollin completed a fine hat-trick when some neat
passing from the midfield launched a lightning counter-attack as Grays
were pressing forward for an equaliser and McCollin again finished
with great efficiency.
3-1 to Kingston. Some Grays’ heads went down, they lost shape and some
discipline and for a while it looked like Kingston were going to score
every time they crossed the half-way line. The Grays goalkeeper seemed
oblivious to his side”s predicament and continued his infuriating
K’s secured victory with a brilliant fourth goal as McCollin completed
a delightful passing move that got most of the coaching staff off
their feet and celebrating with the players. As the chap next to me
said ‘It’s just like watching Brazil’.
All of this proved just too much for the Grays No. 5. After being run
ragged by McCollin and conceding 4 goals in a match they looked
capable of winning, he finally snapped and, after being penalised for
yet another clumsy foul, yet another pushing and shoving episode
ensued with both linesmen enterting the field of play to try to
Shortly after, both protagonists (McCollin and the No. 5) were
withdrawn by their respective coaches. K’s promising midfieder, Dan
Sweeney, picked up a knock which meant he hobbled through the last 15
minutes. The fussy ref made some more bookings and kept marching out
the 10 yards at every single free-kick and a lot of late substitutions
were made by both sides.
K’s cruised home and the 4 goal hero, McCollin, ensured that
Kingstonian extended their lead at the top of the Ryman Premier to 1
point over Wealdstone.
An exciting, eventful game packed with incident and goals. Pity only 394
people were there to see it.
Next fixture: Monday 9 September, 19:45 - Bognor Regis (H)