You Have Entered the Twilight Zone...
...beyond this realm strange things are known...
match report by Jamie Cutteridge
Kingstonian’s 2-1 win over Merstham won’t be remembered for a first home win since January. It won’t be remembered for ensuring their longest unbeaten run of the season. It won’t even be remembered for a last minute penalty winner. It’ll be remembered for the floodlights. Well, specifically one pesky corner floodlight which refused to come on all night.
As the game started, all seemed normal, before the lights went out. This didn’t seem an immediate problem on a light April evening and after a short stoppage we were back underway. Briefly. The game was stopped as the floodlights began to creep one, with just one problem. Literally. One problem floodlight in the corner. Again, not an immediate problem, but one looming in the dark.
After getting back underway, in the end, it was Daniel Ajakaiye who injected some much needed electricity to proceedings, beating his defender with a brilliant first touch before missing the target with a shot. Minutes later he was instrumental putting Ks in front, edging out Merstham’s Ben Harrison at the byline and whipping in an inch-perfect cross for Greg Cundle to head home.
Half time came and the referee’s exit from the pitch was filled with negotiations, the word seemed to be that the second half wouldn’t get underway without the light being sorted. Apparently the only way to turn one light on was to reset the whole system. So the lights went out. All of them. Which, for those not aware of Fetcham Grove’s lighting system produced more confusion. Eventually, 15 minutes since the end of the first half some lights crept back on. Some lights. Not all, some. The players, management and officials came back out and the back and fro began. In fairness, that corner WAS very dark. But it was less than two weeks before the end of the season, Ks still had four games still to play and, to be honest, neither team really had anything to play for. In essence, let’s get it done ref. And so, after disagreements, phone calls and, well, everything short of a cricketing light meter, 40 minutes later, we got the second half underway.
Typically, after Ks protestations to get the game going, Merstham equalized. Some fine work down the right flank from Alex Addai saw the ball eventually fall to fellow ex-K Tom Kavanagh. Kav’s shot took a few deflections before eventually nestling in the bottom corner, the first goal Ks had conceded in almost 500 minutes of football.
The second half, taking its queue from the overhead issue, began to fizzle out. Both teams seemed more concerned about getting through the game than the three points. However, deep into injury, the always threatening Muhammadu Faal got in behind the full back but as he made his way into the area, was bundled over and the ref pointed to the spot. Faal picked himself up, dusted himself down and dispatched the penalty into the bottom corner to give Ks the win and a rare chink of a light in a disappointing season at the Grove.
Kingstonian: Rob Tolfrey, Toby Ajala, Chris Arthur, Manolis Gogonas, Leo Chambers, Dan Bowry, Daniel Ajakaiye, Greg Cundle, Alex Willis, Freddy Yao, Muhammadu Faal.
Subs: Jason Williams (for Daniel Ajakaiye, 67m), Sean Francis (for Chris Arthur, 60m), Connor Hunte (for Alex Willis, 79m), Tom Beere, Michael West.
Merstham: Ashlee Jones, Michael Abnett, Ben Harrison, Tom Kavanagh, Liam Harwood, Jelan Jones, Alex Addai, Sean Bonnett-Johnson, Deon Moore, Tom Collins, Tayshan Hayden-Smith.
Subs: Charlie Penny (for Deon Moore, 67m), Dan Bennett (for Sean Bonnett-Johnson, 78m), Alberto Lubango (for Tayshan Hayden-Smith, 67m), Malik Onwugbonu, Michael Hill.
Goalscorers: Greg Cundle (28m, 1-0), Tom Kavanagh (56m, 1-1), Muhammadu Faal (92m pen, 2-1)