Two goals for Mbo but Thurrock earn replay
Kingstonian’s Leigh Dynan era started with bang on and off the pitch as they shared a six goal thriller with Thurrock to take the FA Trophy first qualifying round tie to a replay.
The two sides were greeted with an impromptu firework display as they entered the field but despite the final score line the game took a while to take off. When the opening goal did come, it was from the most harmless of circumstances. An aimless Ks’ long ball should have presented no problems, but Thurrock’s header back to Lewis Down forced him to scramble to prevent the corner. At this point, poor Down suffered a monstrous brain fart, forgetting he could pick the ball up, and instead lunging to keep the ball in play, presenting it to the waiting Noel Mbo, who with the goalkeeper spreadeagled on the byline had the simple job of jogging infield and rolling the ball into the empty net to break the deadlock.
The lead lasted barely two minutes. In hindsight, Joe Christou was afforded too much space 30 yards from goal, but in the moment, the danger seemed limited. Christou strode forward and unleashed a pile-driver beyond Rob Tolfrey who might be disappointed to be beaten so centrally despite the wicked swerve. Eager not to be upstaged, Mbo quickly restored his sides lead, cutting inside from the left before smashing the ball high into the top corner past Down. It almost got worse for the glovesman, who allowed a tame Tom Collins shot to squirm through his legs before just about recovering. Ks should have doubled their lead before the interval, but Mbo fluffed his lines after brilliant work from Alec Fiddes before Tom Derry took too long with his follow up effort.
While Dynan might have been encouraged by the first half in his new job, the second period was a different story. Right from the off Thurrock were on the front foot as Ks sat deeper and deeper as their legs got heavier and heavier. Ronnie Winn and Lewis Spence both came close from distance before the leveller. Tolfrey palmed away another Spence effort but Jordan Clark was the first to react, poking the ball past the South London stopper to restore parity.
Ks best hope seemed to lie with the beleaguered ‘stopper’ in the Thurrock goal, and once again Down was culpable for Ks’ third, as a weak punch fell to Paul Rodgers who lashed home. Sadly that was not the end of the scoring as Jordan Clark doubled his tally, nodding a powerful header into the bottom corner after a clever tee up from Leon Antoine. The final word almost belonged to Spence who channelled his inner David Beckham to launch an audacious effort from half way, only to be denied by a back-pedalling Tolfrey to ensure Ks fought on to Tuesday’s replay.
Match report by Jamie Cutteridge.