Kingstonian and Romford Have To Go Again
It took quite the battle, but an injury-depleted Kingstonian ensured their FA Cup survival with a battling 0-0 draw at Romford.
Against lower division opposition, Ks might have hoped for the sort of stroll into the next round that they enjoyed at Horsham. Instead, however, they ran into well-organised opponents and saw matters immensely complicated when both Rob Tolfrey and Aaron Goode were carried off injured within the opening fifteen minutes. They nonetheless might consider themselves unlucky, given that they rattled Aaron Omand’s woodwork three times.
The injury to Tolfrey was particularly alarming. He appeared to take an accidental knee to the head while contesting the rebound from a longshot he parried out in the tenth minute. The blow left him seeming alarmingly unsure of his surroundings and it was a relief to see the ambulance that arrived depart without him following a quick check-up, although it remains to be see how quickly he can return to action.
Goalkeeping coach Matt Lovett replaced him in goal – a fine stalwart of the non-league scene, albeit one who has not played at this level for some years. He acquitted himself well however, his initially wayward kicking improving through the game and he could ultimately be proud of his clean sheet.
Within barely a minute of play restarting after Tolfrey’s injury, Goode’s game was also ended, a twisted knee the result of a firm Romford tackle. Josh Casey also required treatment after a late, high tackle but Ks gave as good as they got in the fouling stakes, Steve Laidler and Tommy Kavanagh both picking up yellow cards for flattening opponents with late challenges.
It was not until the 32nd minute that the first decent chance was created, Andre McCollin firing wide from an angle after a nice ball from Tyrone Berry. And as half-time approached Ks enjoyed their best, and most frustrating, spell of the game.
First, Elvis Hammond poked an Alan Inns flick-on onto the post, and then in the nine minutes of injury time McCollin lashed a fierce twenty-yarder against the underside of the crossbar, an unfortunate end to what will surely be one of Ks’ best passing moves of the season.
Laidler became the latest injury casualty at half-time, departing with a dead leg to leave the Ks midfield with the unusual lineup of Alex Addai, Pico Gomes, Kavanagh and Berry. And things went from bad to worse five minutes after the break when McCollin went down holding his thigh. Unable to be subbed, he was rendered a peripheral figure for the rest of the game.
Jack Barry fired over from close range for Romford and then Hammond chipped over when through on goal. Lovett saved a Reece Tranter effort and then Tranter contributed well at the other end, bravely putting his body in the way of a brutally powerful McCollin shot.
Given the circumstances neither side probably minded a draw and that was the result that duly arrived, despite Berry floating a late effort onto the crossbar. Ks, with whatever team they manage to piece together, will hope to finish the job in Monday’s replay.
Match report by Simon Grier.