Early Goal Puts K’s Out of Contention
At the conclusion of the corresponding fixture back in mid-December, K’s were joint-top of the Ryman Premier Division on the back of a solitary defeat in 16 games.
Retrospectively, that 2-0 win at Wheatsheaf Park (the goals scored, incidentally, by Ricky Sappleton and Malachi Hudson, both since shipped off to VCD) might well mark the zenith of Kingstonian’s 2015/16 campaign.
For K’s followed it up with three heavy and morale-sapping defeats to teams around them, all of which – East Thurrock, Dulwich and Hampton and Richmond – will finish the season above K’s, an outcome rubberstamped by a second home defeat in seven days.
There has also only been one win away from Kingsmeadow in the league since that victory further west along the Thames in Staines, that in Andre McCollin’s first match back, at Burgess Hill. So it is probably our away form that is more to blame for not finishing in the top five, though accruing a single point from home games this month against Lewes, Farnborough and, on a sunny Surrey Sunday, Staines, hasn’t helped.
Farnborough scored with more or less the last kick of the game on Monday, and Kingsmeadow had that sinking feeling again with barely a minute played on Sunday. There was controversy surrounding the goal, as Aaron Goode was down with a head injury when Daniel Brown nodded in to the net from close range.
The first opportunity to level arrived courtesy of a Pico Gomez volley, well saved. Joe Turner kneed the rebound wide. Gomez drew an even better stop from Jake Turner in the Staines goal with a powerful header, and then Ryan Newman crashed a volley of his own against the left-hand post.
Staines occasionally threatened against a K’s defence who lost Alan Inns to injury early on. Jonathan Hippolyte missed a glorious chance to double the lead early in the second period, and then K’s inexplicably, and rather comically, didn’t equalise with any of the four clear-cut chances that arrived in about as many seconds on the hour. Turner, Mitch Pinnock and Gomez (twice) were those kept out by a combination of the goalkeeper, some last—ditch defending and the woodwork.
That was as good as it got as the season ended, in true non-league style, with both a whimper and a bang. The vocal travelling support let off a flare as the game entered stoppage time, halting play for a while and allowing K’s fans to dream about an abandonment. But it was not to be, and as the yellow smoke wafted away, with it went any lingering hopes of promotion.
Match report by Rupert Cane.