K’s leave no Stoner unturned
Kingstonian emerged with a home victory, and with a rare clean sheet to boot, in a tale of two penalties. Kingstonian scored theirs whilst Tolfrey brilliantly denied Bognor with theirs.
It was a much changed line up for Kingstonian with three debutants – Nathan Green at left back, Callum McNaughton at centre back and Harry Harding in midfield. The changes certainly led to a vast improvement defensively, with McNaughton in particular looking to have struck up a good understanding with Murphy in the centre of defence.
The visitors started well and set the pattern for the whole game as it transpired. They held the ball well with Kane Wills dictating play in a very impressive display of central midfield craft. However Bognor generally failed to create many clear openings. In contrast, Kingstonian struggled to retain the ball but were a constant threat upfront, with McCollin yet again very prominent.
A seemingly re-energised Aaron Goode, taking over the captain’s armband, was generally the source of Kingstonian’s early opportunities. Indeed following one of his mazy runs in the ninth minute, the ball eventually found its way to McCollin who still managed to get a shot away in the act of falling over, which came back off the post.
The match turned in the thirty eighth minute as McCollin raced onto a through ball, which he reached fractionally before the Bognor keeper Stoner, who brought him down. The referee paused before awarding a penalty and then after further consideration produced a red card. The decision incensed the vocal away support and was perhaps harsh as McCollin’s touch seemed to take the ball away from goal, although the keeper was the last defender. It took five minutes from the infringement before the penalty was taken as substitute goalkeeper, Boyle, was totally unprepared for his impromptu appearance. In total contrast to his previous effort, McCollin ruthlessly despatched the penalty low and hard to the keepers left.
Anyone who thought Kingstonian would use their numerical advantage to dominate possession in the second half were mistaken. The match carried on much as before with Bognor enjoying the lions share of possession.
However they almost went further behind in the sixty third minute from a rapid Kingstonian counter attack which culminated in Lodge producing a sublime chip over the keeper, only to see his effort cleared off the line.
Bognor almost struck straight back as their elusive winger, Whyte, dribbled into the area where he was clumsily body checked by Taylor, resulting in the award of a penalty. Centre half Jason Crane stepped up but saw his well struck effort brilliantly saved by Tolfrey low to his right.
As Bognor pressed in search of an equaliser they left themselves exposed at the back as Kingstonian counter attacked again and again. A number of chances came and went before substitute keeper Boyle produced an outstanding save in the dying seconds from a McCollin shot.
Having conceded twelve goals in three recent games and not kept a clean sheet in the league since August, this was a massive step forward in defensive terms. Whilst Bognor dominated possession, a resolute Kingstonian side did well to deny them many meaningful chances. The red card undoubtedly changed the match but the Kingstonian faithful will probably feel they deserved some luck after having seen precious little recently.
Report: Peter Allan