K's Keep Clean Sheet to Guarantee Survival
A big goal from Mo Faal gives K's a big result at Wingate and Finchley.
Match report by Jamie Cutteridge.
You may not have noticed it as the season has dwindled towards a quiet finish, but Kingstonian have sneakily built up quite an impressive away record over the last few months of the season. Leigh Dynan's side's 1-0 win at Wingate and Finchley was their fifth away win in their last seven trips, the best record in the league over that spell. (It's worth noting that the performances in the two defeats in that span, both in Kent, have merited more than the 3-0 and 3-1 defeats.)
The first half had all the hallmarks of a Ks home game - plenty of possession, good chances, a new player in the team and no goals. Greg Cundle, playing in a deeper role than his Gillinghamfootballclub.com profile suggests, ran the show from deep, while the pace of Daniel Ajakaiye and Muhammadu Faal caused problems for Wingate's Claudiu Vilcu-less backline.
It was Faal, as in his debut against Worthing, who was presented with Kingstonian's best chances. His early shot when through on goal was beaten away by Shane Gore before he twice failed to hit the target in promising positions. Gore also kept out the impressive Cundle while at the other end, Rob Tolfrey had to be quick off his line to block Afolabi Obafemi's flick.
Tolfrey denied Obafemi again in the opening seconds of the second half after the winger found himself in behind, but the Ks stopper was equal to a tame effort. It was a rare chance afforded to the hosts, as Charlton-loanee and Antiguan international Dan Bowry made an impressive Ks debut at the heart of the back four. (A sidenote: Bowry kept ex-K and fellow Antiguan Reece Beckles quiet during the game, perhaps the first time international colleagues have faced off in the Isthmian?)
Eight minutes into the second half, the breakthrough came. Michael West's freekick was whipped into the box and the giraffe-like height of Faal paid off as he flicked a header past Gore to score the only goal of the afternoon.
From then on, it was an impressively disciplined display from Kingstonian, barely allowing a sniff to either Wingate or Finchley, and despite posing less of a threat themselves after taking the lead, the Ks saw out another away win with a degree of comfort.
Wingate and Finchley: Shane Gore, Luke Ifil, Layne Eadie, Jake Eales, Sean Cronin, Ahmet Rifat, Afolabi Obafemi, Freddy Moncur, Marc Charles-Smith, Reece Beckles-Richards, Irnti Rapai.
Subs: Jack Humphrey, Ola Williams, Rob Laney (for Irnti Rapai, HT), Tommy Tejan-Sie (for Freddy Moncur, HT), Ben Pattie (for Afolabi Obafemi, 69m)
Kingstonian: Rob Tolfrey, Leo Chambers, Chris Arthur, Manolis Gogonas, Mark Philips, Dan Bowry, Daniel Ajakaiye, Greg Cundle, Jason Williams, Michael West, Muhammadu Faal.
Subs: Freddy Yao (for Michael West, 79m), Tom Beere (for Greg Cundle, 87m), Rob Bartley, Connor Hunte, Alex Willis (for Jason Williams, 65m).
Goalscorers: Muhammadu Faal (53m, 0-1)