K's into second after big win in Hertfordshire
match report by Rupert Cane.
Kingstonian picked up a fifth away win in seven with what ended up being a comfortable victory at Bishop's Stortford.
The tone for what was a very entertaining opening quarter was set from kick-off, when a long punt caused confusion in the Bishops backline nearly giving Alfie Doughty an open goal.
The Charlton loanee, who has since returned to his parent club, was quickly in the thick of the action at the other end, too, heading off the line from a corner. The rebound was lashed goalwards and spectacularly tipped over the bar by Rob Tolfrey to keep the scores level.
Doughty then should have put K’s ahead when Buchanan cutely slipped him in, but the hosts’ keeper Calum Kitscha saved with his feet.
Buchanan had a pair of shots blocked as the chances kept coming. Luke Callandar capitalised on errors from first Dean Inman and then Tommy Brewer to race clear on goal, but on both occasions Tolfrey stood tall to deny the Stortford striker what seemed like an inevitable opening goal.
Theophanous caused Kitcha some bother with a 20-yard snapshot before a sumptuous passing move ended with K’s taking the lead on 38 minutes. McAuley passed to Doughty wide left who slipped it on to Theophanous. He held the ball up before turning inside and finding McAuley, whose first-time pass to Huggins created space on the edge of the box. He had time to pick out Buchanan to his right, and he made no mistake against his former club.
It took less than a minute of the second half for K’s to double the lead. An innocuous hoik forward was misjudged and Theophanous latched on to it before twisting and turning this way and that, sending two Stortford defenders into a headspin as he did, before driving a 20-yard shot past Kitcha, whose hand to the ball was not strong enough to divert it wide.
K’s cruised thereafter. Buchanan had a goal disallowed for offside, Doughty fired into the side-netting and Huggins blasted off-target. Theophanous almost forced an own-goal after rounding Kitcha, and his strike partner Buchanan called the Stortford stopper to make yet another save.
Finally, on 73 minutes, McAuley netted number three after K’s again turned over possession deep in enemy territory. Huggins played him in and he beat Kitcha for power and placement at his near post.
With nine minutes to go, Huggins spoiled what had been a decent debut by lunging in on Jack Thomas, who himself was not on the ground. The noise of the challenge was quite something and the instant dismissal expected.
Still K’s didn’t let up, and Doughty was denied the goal his performance deserved when his arrowed left-footer hit the post. He will certainly be missed, but K’s are up to second and playing some wonderful stuff.
Bishop's Stortford: Calum Kitscha, Ben Sempayo, Isaac Nkosi, Jack Thomas, Sam Robbins, Mark Haines, Olly Miles, Hector Kyprianou, Jamie Cureton, Luke Callander, Chris Gregan.
Subs: Alfie Mason (for Ollie Miles, 46m), Nick Brown (for Chris Gregan, 46m), Alex Warman, Haaroon Belaid (for Isaac Nkosi, 67m), Jordan King.
Subs: Manolis Gogonas (for Elliott Buchanan, 83m), Temi Eweka, Chace Jacquart (for 88m), Josh Kyte.
Goal scorers: Elliott Buchanan (37m, 0-1), Louie Theophanous (47m, 0-2), Shaun McAuley (73m, 0-3)
Red card: Josh Huggins (81m, straight red for foul)