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Kingstonian 0
3 Billericay Town
Bricknell (35' pen, 45'), McLeod (90')

Billericay Prove Too Strong for Plummeting K’s

It used to be fine to write a match report two weeks late. Not any more. Events occur. They overtake. I mean, what ever happened to routine wins/defeats followed by news-free days in which the most important off-the-field discussion revolved around Butterworth’s racing tips? Now it’s all local council skulduggery, Leatherhead banners made out of fitted bedsheets, Nigel Farage stickers, Jon Tolley breaking into a co-Chairman’s house, a relegation scrap and the manager fighting off rumours of imminent departure.

The thing is: up to and including this Billericay match (on 18 March, since I suspect you may need reminding), I still had no concerns we would go down. I didn’t see the game for what it was: late-era TommyBall, a tragic last Act in a play where the audience knew all the lines.

We had hit 42 points in mid-January. Easy. Three more wins and we’re safe. Three months and more than a dozen matches to get a couple of wins. Not even K’s could contrive to spend a quarter of a season without further reward. Blood some youngsters, cement mid-table, plan for next season; sod it, give Peter Dean a few starts, call Max Hustwick, perfect that corner routine where everyone runs outside the box and charges together but the ball is played short and rolls out for a throw-in.

And then, as if my thoughts had leached complacency throughout the squad, there followed a defeat, a defeat, a draw, a draw, then a defeat, a defeat, a defeat and, er, a defeat. And I’m not even including the morale-sapping friendly defeat at Southern League Farnborough.

Like an oblivious crustacean slowly boiling in a pot, the danger crept imperceptibly until, finally, Billericay arrived. There was something so inevitable about this latest defeat that, midway through the second-half, as the moneyed Essex ballers toyed arrogantly with Charlie “Wazza” Wassmer, I suddenly realised that K’s were in hot water with the lid screwed tight.

“Do something!” came the cry from the John Smiths Stand, the confused rallying call of post-Brexit Britain rattling round a funereal Kingsmeadow. “Do something!”

Nothing was done.

It was too late anyway. Ricay, managed and funded by Glenn Tamplin, were already two-up, proving once again that cash means points in the Ryman league. Billy Bricknell had opened the scoring with a first-half penalty when Wassmer none too subtly tugged a blue shirt in the box and the Ricay striker made it two before the break after one ball forward exposed a K’s defence that hasn’t kept a clean sheet (fitted or otherwise) since the signing of the Maastricht Treaty.

A small, notable consolation of the match was watching former England international Paul Konchesky loafing admirably at left-back, collecting a wage for merely occupying space and occasionally laughing at the poor quality of football around him.

When Mekhi McLeod made it 3-0 in injury time, striking low and hard across Rob Tolfrey, a hush went through the stand as Gary Ekins announced that the Ryman Premier League table, as updated, put us just three points above the relegation zone.

“Yeah, but we’ll beat Dulwich and Burgess Hill and Tommy’s army will march on to mid-table obscurity”, someone didn’t say.

And, then, after another defeat and then another defeat, something was done.

Match report by Taimour Lay.

Published Wednesday 12th September 2018