Faal on Fire as K's Earn Another Home Win
K's are now unbeaten in eight at home as Mo Faal is the catalyst for another important victory.
Match report by James Maw.
Two moments of brilliance from fan-favourite Muhammadu Faal gave Kingstonian an important victory over Margate on a crisp autumn afternoon at King George's Field.
The Gate had lost just once in their last seven Bostik League matches, but once again it was Leigh Dynan's side who bagged the points on their own patch, earning their sixth home win of the campaign.
Faal, starting his first league game since mid August, lined-up on the right wing in an attack-minded 4-4-2 formation that also saw recent loan signing Delano Sam-Yorke come in for Elliott Buchanan up front.
The hosts largely dominated the early exchanges. On 18 minutes, Louie Theophanous was denied when Margate keeper Henry Newcombe parried his stinging shot, with Faal unable to beat the visiting stopper with his own shot on the rebound.
Kingstonian really should've gone ahead minutes later, when Tommy Brewer headed wide after a well-worked short corner saw Alfie Doughty find acres of space on the corner of the box. The on-loan Charlton youngster swung in a precision cross to the back stick, but our versatile midfielder-cum-defender couldn't hit the target.
After a bright start (and we mean that literally - the setting sun left those fans behind the Margate goal all but blinded), the game slowly receded into a stodgy, one-paced affair for the remainder of the first half, with both teams struggling to find their rhythm.
Fortunately, there was a marked improvement in the second half. In the early moments of the second period Shaun McAuley fired over from the edge of the box after a neat interchange of passes between Doughty and Theophanous. It was a sign of things to come.
The hosts flew forward again minutes later, Brewer finding Doughty with a cross this time, with the latter nodding the ball back across the area and into the path of Faal. In one elegantly smooth motion, the winger swept the ball across the keeper and into the bottom corner.
K's pushed hard to double their advantage, but frustratingly were pegged back on 71 minutes, when George Brown bundled the ball over the line after a spot of six-yard box pinball.
But Kingstonian - and Faal - weren't about to give up. He picked up the ball near half way, cut inside and surged towards the opposition goal, bamboozling defenders with his fancy footwork all the way. As he approached the D, he picked out the run of Theophanous, who sent the visiting keeper to ground with a dummy before getting a shot away from an acute angle.
Gate defender Jack Paxman threatened to overrule him, desperately straining to hack the shot off the line, but it was in vain.
There were further chances to add some gloss to the scoreline, with substitute James Daly perhaps coming closest to making it 3-1 late on, but in the end two goals were enough.
The victory saw K's climb to eighth in the table, just one point outside the playoff places ahead of back-to-back away games at Wingate & Finchley and Enfield.
Kingstonian: Rob Tolfrey, Manolis Gogonas, Tyler Brown, Aaron Lamont, Tommy Brewer, Jay Gasson, Muhammadu Faal, Shaun McAuley, Delano Sam-Yorke, Louie Theophanous, Alfie Doughty.
Subs: Connor Dymond (for Delano Sam-Yorke, 86m), Elliott Buchanan, James Daly (for Muhammadu Faal, 88m), Temi Eweka, Josh Kyte.
Margate: Henry Newcombe, Jack Paxman, Tom Mills, Jordan Robins, Liam Friend, Ben Swift, George Brown, Lee Prescott, Alex Flisher, Frannie Collin, Chris Barnard.
Subs: Owen Kallameier, Harvey Brand, Sid Sollis, Joe Taylor (for Jordan Robins, 61m)
Goal scorers: Muhammadu Faal (53m, 1-0), George Brown (71m, 1-1), Louie Theophanous (78m, 2-1)