K’s Take Their Chances and Hold On For Win
For the second home game in a row, Kingstonian made a meal of converting a fine start into a victory. But, despite a late wobble, they held on to defeat Staines Town 3-2 and get back into the top ten of the league.
It took only five minutes for Ks to take the lead. Youssef Bamba, newly signed on a contract, was the architect cutting in from the right with an aggressive run. A brave lunging tackle from a defender took the ball away from him before he could shoot but it only teed up Shaun Bonnett-Johnson, playing further forward to accommodate new signing Lewis Taylor, who neatly curled it beyond goalkeeper Jack Turner.
Mohammed Bettamer gave Ks a scare when he broke free on goal in the 25th minute but Rob Tolfrey did well to deny him. And Ks settled their nerves four minutes later when they doubled their advantage.
Bamba was again involved, getting into the box and seeing his shot blocked. It fell for Tom Derry in front of goal but Turner did superbly to block the close-range effort with his foot, the ball spinning agonisingly away for a corner. But Ks didn't have long to wait.
The corner came into the box from Joe Turner and Alan Inns met it with a forceful header. Jack Turner and Tommy Brewer just about combined to keep it out but Derry slammed the rebound through the gaggle of bodies on the Staines goalline to put Ks two to the good.
But, just as against Merstham on Boxing Day, an early 2-0 lead was not going to translate into plain sailing. On 32 minutes Aaron Goode brought a Staines player down in the box and Bettamer blasted his penalty down the middle to halve Ks' lead.
Unlike against Merstham though, this time it generated a rapid response from Ks. Once again the Swans were unable to contain Inns from a corner with his forceful header finding its way in between Jack Turner and Chinua Cole on the post. Taylor might have made it 4-1 just before half time but lashed wide of the near post.
But Staines were much the better side in the second half. Almost straight away Goode had to clear an effort off the line, before Tolfrey saved from Lauren Hamici and Adrian Clifton had an effort deflected narrowly wide. Meanwhile Ks created little all half, a left-footed Goode effort that Jack Turner was comfortably equal to being the biggest challenge for the visitors.
They eventually pulled a goal back three minutes from time, substitute Bayley Brown bundling home after a goalmouth scramble, the linesman awarding it after it was not initially clear if the whole ball had crossed the line in the melee. It had, but it was academic as Staines were not able to muster the clear chance they needed in injury time and Ks held on for a win that was hairier than it might have been.
Match report by Simon Grier.