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Kingstonian 2
Grant (41'), Derry (61')
0 Ashford Town (Middx)

K’s Move into the Third Qualifying Round

There was a moment, with about 20 minutes to go, in Kingstonian’s 2-0 win over Ashford Town (Mx) where it was easy to wonder if it was all about to go to pot. A daft two-footed tackle from Mitchal Gough got himself sent off, and Ks’ two-goal lead against scrappy opponents felt a lot less comfortable, especially with the previous week’s late collapse against Met Police still fresh in the memory. History never looked remotely like repeating itself.

In truth, as harsh as it may sound on Ks’ lower-ranked opponents, Leigh Dynan’s side dominated throughout despite it taking a while to break the deadlock. The host’s first chance fell to Smith Tiesse, who bombed forward from left back before having a shot smartly turned behind by Tyler Tobin in the Ashford goal. The rest of the first half quickly became the Reece Grant show, as Ks’ new forward could have had four before the interval. A header from a great Alec Fiddes cross bounced narrowly wide, a snapshot on the turn was straight at the keeper before another effort was lashed over after Tobin denied Jerry Amoo. Finally Grant’s goal came, as he leapt brilliantly to finally beat Tobin with a bullet header into the bottom corner from Tiesse’s cross.

There was no let from either Ks or the wintery temperatures as the second half began. Tobin once again had to work out to deny Grant and Amoo during a near-post scramble but minutes later Ks had the chance to double their lead. It seemed as if Fiddes had wasted a good chance but a late tackle from behind brought him down inside the area. Tom Derry, whose hard work all evening merited a goal, stepped up and while Tobin saved his effort, Derry reacted quickest and slid in to beat Tobin’s second, despairing, dive.

While all looked momentarily well, a seed of doubt at least started to creep in before the red card, as Tolfrey was forced into his first meaningful action, palming Jack Beadle’s effort wide with a strong hand. Gough’s twin-footed lunge created at least a moment of uncertainty, and the dismissal wasn’t helped by Gough’s argument with a Ks’ fan while making his way off the pitch, before continuing the argument by shouting from the tunnel to behind the goal for a while. (Gough has since apologised, to be fair.) In fact, despite being a man light, it was Ks who once again came closest, as Tobin continued his strong showing by brilliantly parrying Derry’s header away. A comfortable victory was seen out by Dynan’s side who will host Heybridge in the next round.

Match report by Jamie Cutteridge.

Published Wednesday 12th September 2018