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Canvey Island 1
Showunmi (11')
3 Kingstonian
Pico Gomez (58' pen, 71', 75')

Pico Gomez Hat Trick Defeats Gulls

It was the last Saturday before Christmas - a time when the shops groan with panicked hordes piling Jamie Oliver recipe books into trolleys while tinny renditions of Slade numb the ears and the soul - so there was no better to place to embrace the true spirit of the festive season than Canvey Island.

There were free mince pies in the bar, competitively priced mulled wine, a Xmas compilations album on the tannoy and, perhaps most importantly, a chance for K’s fans to sing/chant “Jingle bells, jingle bells jingle all the way, oh what fun it is to watch Kingstonian win away.”  There was even the customary second-half sighting of a huge container ship, which may or may not have been carrying children’s toys along the Thames estuary from distant lands via foreign seas (Santa having long since contracted out delivery of presents to a global chain of logistics companies).

Christmas should also be about surprises and hope and joy and dysfunctional solidarity. Well, we got the surprise when Enoch Showunmi struck a tame shot from 12 yards which hit a bobble so pronounced that the ball flew over Rob Tolfrey’s right shoulder into the net. It was a goal so absurd it was difficult to feel angry about it.

Indeed, K’s had started the game well, with the Casey’s, Dylan and Josh, running the left-hand side while Pelayo Pico Gomez and Elvis Hammond stretched and strained the Canvey backline. So devoid of confidence were the Gulls that they were clearly under instruction to carry out that most shameless of Ryman stratagems – “first-half time-wasting”.

With the second-half came the hope. Gomez drifted into the box, bamboozled two Canvey defenders with some nifty footwork and fell to the ground. If truth be told, it didn’t look a penalty but the referee seemed convinced and before long Gomez stepped up and rolled the ball confidently to Tim Brown’s left, having “given him the eyes” all the way.

Immediately, K’s went for the win as the Gulls collapsed, No 5 Rio Bryan-Edwards being particularly culpable for aimless hoofing and cynical fouling.

Gomez’s second was the joy. He chased down yet another half-ball, ghosted past keeper and defender, cut inside and curled a beautiful left-footed shot into the far corner.

By the 75th minute, it was three. Casey (Josh) fed Gomez on the edge of the box. He turned, set himself on his right foot and curled the ball past Brown at pace to send the 8 K’s fans behind the goal into raptures, who were then joined by the players at the edge of the pitch for the best fan-player bundle since I hugged Ian Gayle in the autumn of 2012. This was the solidarity.

Merry Xmas.

Match report by Taimour Lay.

Published Wednesday 12th September 2018