Nightmare In Norbiton
Saturday 9th November 2013
—Kingstonian 2 Margate FC 0—
And the weekend had started so promisingly too…
After a Friday night spent with my girlfriend (who is currently in the process of being converted into a Margate fan!) Saturday morning was spent meeting the ‘Three Amigos’ – aka Dan, George & Stu, beaming after celebrating his 23rd birthday, outside Broadstairs station on a sunny but slightly chilly day.
Hopping on the 10:11 train, it wasn’t long before the banter was flying from the lads – being serenaded with a chorus of ‘It Must Be Love’ as I sent a text to a certain someone, and Stu & George engaging in some friendly ribbing with some Chelsea fans who were sitting opposite us, on the way to Stamford Bridge where I believe they played West Bromwich Albion.
Incidentally, the Chelsea fans were interested in our new mascot – an inflatable alligator by the original name of Margator – lovingly bedecked in an XXL 2012/2013 Margate home shirt with the squad number #22 on the back. I was planning to call him Desmond because of said squad number – I’ll leave that one with you – but Margator was the overwhelming favourite, closely followed by Ali.
Pulling into London Victoria, we said our farewells & made our way to Clapham Junction, in order to get the train to Norbiton. After some first class navigational skills from Stu – “I know where we’re going lads, I used to go out with a bird who lived here” – we managed to make our way into Norbiton, but not before having an old fashioned MFC sing-song on the train to some bemused looks from passengers – echoes of our return journey from the Ashford United game in pre-season!
Sadly my directions weren’t up to much, as we proceeded to make a 15 minute walk into a half hour one, owing to leaving the station by the wrong exit. This was of no hardship to the MFC quartet, not forgetting Margator – as after a fruitless quest to find a McDonalds, we stumbled upon the Cambridge Fish Bar, which in my humble opinion served the hottest chilli sauce ever.
While placing my order, Stu & George beckoned me outside with sorrowful looks and informed me that Margator had been stolen – the barely disguised panic in my voice as I squeaked “What? How?” was there for all to see before I promptly realised they’d hidden him out of sight. Well played lads!
As we reached the ground, Stu took a peek inside & proclaimed it to be the nicest ground in our League – Kingstonian of course groundshare with AFC Wimbledon of League Two. Despite the rainy conditions in Surrey, the pitch looked very much up to scratch, and as 2PM rolled around, following the routine exchange of pleasantries with Jim, Mick, Mark & Steve, we walked into Kingsmeadow to be met with a plush, nearly all-seated stadium ( Wealdstone-style terracing being behind one of the goals) and a biting wind, which made me grateful for Terry’s vital information last season about the need to layer up from October onwards!
There was an excellent turnout of Margate fans – having not had the chance for a headcount, I’d say that my estimate was 40-50 out of the overall attendance of 284 – feel free to correct me here though, as I could be way off! A superb effort from the travelling Gate faithful, regardless.
Not long after George had spotted Sky pundit & FIFA commentator Martin Tyler, who works as a coach at the K’s, the teams trotted out to begin a hotly anticipated contest, Kingstonian being 3rd in the league with two highly scoring dangermen up front were always going to be a tough proposition.
It must be said that the first half was very much ‘even-stevens’ territory, both sides giving as good as they got – Holloway being tested a couple of times in the Gate goal, but as always, our goalie & player-manager proving his worth between the sticks. K’s keeper Rob Tolfrey was tested too, with a venomous strike from Ryan Dolby warming his palms, while Cesc Fakinos also had a shot parried away. Charles Ademeno had the best chance of the half, but after being played through, he shot wide from a tight angle.
Disaster struck on half-time, Richard Avery (partnered by new signing Gary Borrowdale in the makeshift Gate defence) missing a tackle at the crucial second, which allowed K’s striker Ryan Moss to captalise & finish with aplomb past Holloway. 1-0 down at halftime, but the lads were well applauded off for their efforts – extremely unlucky to be behind.
All to play for in the second half – or so you would assume, as the travelling Gate contingent were treated to an insipid display by the Blues. In fairness, the squad did seem shell shocked by conceding on half-time, but unfortunately this was a shock that they never managed to get over, the K’s having much the better of the play & chances.
Lack of confidence & lack of width seemed to be a major issue, in my opinion – with mecurial winger Matt Bodkin seeming to see little to none of the ball, as a mixture of Holloway’s goalkeeping prowess & wayward finishing by the K’s kept the score down to 1-0, although save the occasional half chance, we never looked like scoring, or indeed troubling Tolfrey in the K’s goal. A nonsensical offside position that would have put substitute Warren Whitely through on goal, had the linesman fully understood the laws of the game, seemed to sum it all up – an increasing surly front two of Phil Walsh (whose frustration was evident, winning flick ons all day only for no-one to be following up) and Charles Ademeno, who generally looked disinterested & lethargic all game – a frustrating sight when he’s a player of undoubted talent, toiled fruitlessly throughout.
With 5 minutes left, Kingstonian hammered the final nail into our coffin, a flick on from a corner finding their striker who slotted past Holloway from close range. 2-0, and to quote the infamous catchphrase of Porky Pig, “That’s all folks!”
Two of our travelling party decided to explore the delights of London, George & Stu heading off into the bright lights of London Victoria – but for me and Dan, a sullen journey home with an equally sullen Margator was our destination for the evening, the final, farcical twist of the day coming in a conversation between me and a Chelsea fan who seemed to be somewhat ‘Oliver Twist’
Chelsea Fan (on spotting my blue & white hooped Gate shirt) “QPR?! F**k off!”
Me: “No mate, Margate. I’m a Margate fan.”
At this point, the Chelsea fan considered his response, the peanut shell rattling around in his head, and offered this sparkling riposte –
Chelsea Fan – “Margate?! F**k off!”
Discretion being the better part of valour, I decided to leave him to it.
In short, ‘Eff off’ is what I was told, and ‘Effed off’ was a fitting summary of how I felt after the day’s events.
Here’s hoping we can pick up our League form soon – currently lying in 12th place is a travesty for a side brimming with this much talent. The power of a good run would do us wonders, with only 8 points separating us & the playoff pack.
With our next League game being at home to strugglers Carshalton Athletic on Tuesday week, it’s an ideal time to start making inroads & getting points on the board.
In the absence of Terry (her Margate U10 squad notching an excellent 9-2 win against Herne Bay – well done lads!) this weekends burger critique was bought to you by Stu.
Stu’s Away Day Burger Review –
“Cheap bun, crap burger. £4, they’re having a laugh!”
Burger Rating – 3 out of 10
Some photos of our day out are posted below, as indeed the video with our MFC song antics will be when George uploads the footage onto YouTube (are you watching Simon Cowell?)