1. Another 2-1 home win, but that doesn’t even begin to tell the story of an almost farcical afternoon at Kingsmeadow. K’s made 7 (SEVEN (in videprinter style)) clear-cut chances as well as several further half-chances, yet through a combination of dire finishing, poor decision-making, and good goalkeeping, the home team somehow contrived to turn what should have been a thrashing into a nervous last few minutes.
2. This really should have been a rout. McCollin missed from three yards during the K’s onslaught during the first 15 minutes; Wade Small forgot his shooting boots or else he would have a hat-trick; Pattison hit the woodwork twice; Burnham scrambled THREE off the line over the 90 minutes; and just in the last 10 minutes, Dean Lodge managed to waste two or three fantastic situations on the counter attack by shooting instead of passing, and vice versa. The hoops picked a very good game in which to be this profligate, as Burnham offered little, but let’s hope this was a one-off.
3. More was expected from Burnham, who have a fine goalscoring record in the Southern League Central. But then, a tougher game was expected in the FA Cup in September against Guildford City – above Burnham in the same league table – and that game also turned into a mismatch, providing more evidence to fuel the suspicion among non-league followers that the Southern League is weak below its Premier Division at the moment. Burnham were a big, strong side who put their all into every tackle and fought over every blade of grass – but they had no class, no flair and no imagination going forward. Their goal was scored via an extremely fortunate deflection which wrong-footed Rob Tolfrey; their other chances, bar one, were created via (yet again) lapses in concentration at the back. That “bar one” in the previous sentence was the critical moment of the match: a good through ball split the K’s defence mid-way through the second half, and Burnham’s striker found himself clean through on goal with the chance to make it 2-2. On such moments are cup-ties decided, and Tolfrey was up to the challenge, as usual, blocking the goal-bound effort.
4. Alan Dowson must be enjoying himself at the moment: when was the last time he had so many good tactical and personnel selection options? We played a genuine wide 4-4-2 on Saturday, with two out-and-out strikers, two wingers, and only one ‘holding’ player (Huckle), meaning that we usually had five players forward, which occasionally became six or even seven – and Burnham simply couldn’t cope with it. But if Dowse wants to be more solid, we can either play a more narrow 4-4-2, as we did at Lowestoft – with Pattison out wide and another ‘holder’ in the middle, such as Somner – and we’ve got the players and ability to play 4-2-3-1, as we have already done successfully this season, at home to Lewes, for instance. It’s looking good.
5. Finally, I implore the players: please, please PLEASE can we win in the next round and actually go on a cup run? We have an exciting, attacking team, playing great football – and the only way more people are going to come and watch it is via a cup run. Wealdstone have taken a substantial number of their new/returning fans from their Trophy run last term into this season as regulars, and there’s no reason why we couldn’t do the same. This club has a fantastic heritage in the Trophy and it really is about time that we lived up to it – starting with despatching Lewes/Brentwood in the next round.
Man Of The Match: Matt Pattison. Outstanding throughout – and managed to hit the bar from the halfway line!
Key Moment: The missed Burnham one-on-one, when K’s were teetering mid-way through the second half.
Away Fans: 2/10 – there were two of them. Still, they both seemed to enjoy themselves.