1. A very, very easy win for Kingstonian in an FA Cup tie against lower league opposition: yes, you weren’t dreaming, it really did happen. With no disrespect to East Thurrock – and how could we underestimate a side who beat us 5-2 the last time they came to Kingsmeadow? – a home tie against a side in our league counts as a kind draw. Now, can we actually go on a cup run please?
2. Were K’s very good or were Guildford not very good? I’m inclined to say the latter, because the overall quality of the match was poor. Yes, the dry, bobbly pitch certainly didn’t help either side when they tried to get the ball down and pass it, and yes, it was a hot day, but K’s were vastly superior despite not getting out of second gear. Perhaps the Southern League is a lot weaker than the Ryman League at the moment – I certainly can’t imagine K’s getting such an easy game against Dulwich, for instance – or perhaps Guildford’s players simply underperformed. Either way, it wasn’t much of a spectacle.
3. The biggest bright spot from a Kingstonian perspective aside from the result was the performance of Craig Mullen, who led the line with energy and enthusiasm and also managed to get on the scoresheet twice. Against better opposition, it’s difficult to see Mullen playing on his own up front in a 4-2-3-1 as he did after Wade Small went off injured on Saturday – his lack of pace would allow superior centre halves playing in front of a less rotund keeper to step higher up the pitch – but on this showing he could certainly play a prominent role as a proper target man alongside a speedy centre forward. He gives Dowse another option, a plan B, and that can only be a good thing.
4. The big negative from the game was the nasty looking injury to Rob Tolfrey. Get back to fitness soon, Rob: there aren’t many better keepers at this level, that’s for sure. Let’s hope Jake Whincup performs admirably if he’s called on at Bury Town.
5. Finally, a word about the matchday experience at the Spectrum, because it’s nothing if not remarkable. In fact, apart from the hilarious PA announcer (“Going off for Kingstonian, Rob, err, Tolfroy…and coming on is, err, err, err, Jake Wherrycup”) it felt exactly like watching a county cricket game: a sunny summer’s day, a sparse crowd (many of whom were actually sunbathing), a distant viewing position, spectators drinking cans of lager in the stand, and a sense that the action on the field of play wasn’t the be-all and end-all of the day out. As someone who likes county cricket, I really enjoyed myself. But how the 100 or so Guildford fans motivate themselves to watch football there in Winter – and pay £8 for the privilege – remains a mystery. I salute each and every one of them for their loyalty, because there’s no way I’d do it.
Man of the Match: Dean Lodge. Far, far too good for Guildford. It was like going back to the Ryman One South Championship season
Key Moment: Pattison’s left-foot finish into the bottom corner which put K’s 2-0 up and finished the tie as a contest