28 April 2010

Sutton 2 - 4 Kingstonian

I had not been to see local team Kingstonian play since early in the previous season but the triple whammy of playing our local rivals Sutton United in the Isthmian League Play-off Semi final on a warm sunny evening was simply irresistible.

I have been to the Sutton ground a few times but all my previous visits were to see bands playing in the social club so going in to the stadium was a new experience for me.

So too was the journey by ThamesLink from St Pancras to West Sutton via such unknown outposts of South London as Tulse Hill, Tooting, Wimbledon Chase, Morden and St Helier. It's not a very direct route by any means and it took a leisurely hour to just creep in to Zone 5. Another good reason for not living in Sutton!

The ground is pretty basic, as you would expect for the Isthmian League, but it claims a capacity of over 7,000 so there was plenty of space for the 1,401 of us who braved the sunshine to get there.

I met a few friends, some planned and some unexpected, and with the many fans in red and white hooped tops it felt much like a home match.

There is a covered terrace at one end only and we spent the first half there waiting for the stream of Kingstonian goals.

We did not have long to wait and were up 0 - 1 after little more than ten minutes.

Then things rather fell apart. The Ks looked unthreatening coming forward with long balls punted to the lone striker and his four markers. Defending looked hard too and Sutton often looked like doing scoring. They managed to do so twice and the first half ended at 2 - 1.

We made the long walk to the other end of the ground and starting talking about overtime and penalties and whether the Ks could still come back from a 3 - 1 deficit.

How wrong we were! The game of two halves proved to be a game of two halves with Ks vibrant, aggressive, purposeful and threatening throughout.

A firm shot from the edge of the box made it 2 - 2, a powerful header from almost the same spot made it 2 - 3 and some clever dribbling round the last defender and then the goalkeeper made it 2 - 4 and a convincing win.

The play-off final is on Saturday against Borehamwood and even though I have no idea where that is I shall probably go carrying with me high hopes of another win and expectations of watching Ks play in the Blue Square South next season. Sadly not against Weymouth as they have just been relegated from there.

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