K’s Hit for Four by Leaders Dulwich
2017 was Kingstonian’s worst calendar year for some time: leaving Kingsmeadow, plunging from playoff contention last January to near-relegation and, despite staving off the threat of the drop, now again finding themselves at the wrong end of the table.
The hope is of course that 2018 will be better but it started in a manner suggesting more of the same. The 4-0 defeat by Dulwich Hamlet was the fifth time this season that Ks have lost by four goals or more – a terrible statistic in any circumstances – and can only be somewhat mitigated by the fact that Dulwich are clearly an excellent team.
The game did not start too badly for Ks, who seemed reasonably assured in keeping Dulwich quiet for the first 25 minutes. They even had the best chance of the opening period, when excellent work by Andre McCollin to win the ball deep in Dulwich territory led to Alec Fiddes firing narrowly wide from the edge of the box.
But on 27 minutes the breakthrough came for the home side, former Ks man Michael Onovwigun feeding Reise Allassani who broke into the Ks box and slid the ball across Rob Tolfrey into the bottom corner. That Allassani, who is attracting reported interest from Football League clubs, would score seemed inevitable.
Allassani had the ball in the net again before half time only for it to be ruled out for offside but Dulwich were soon two up after the break. Paul Rodgers intercepted a cross but the Ks defence was unable to clear its lines and Allassani guided Nathan Green’s powerful low cross in at the far post.
Tolfrey saved well among a goalmouth scramble and Dulwich had another goal chalked off by the linesman’s flag to keep the score respectable going into the last ten minutes. Ks then enjoyed their best spell of the game, albeit a brief one, finally putting Dulwich under some pressure by winning some set pieces in dangerous areas.
When they created an opening though goalkeeper Preston Edwards did superbly to fingertip Kevin McLaren’s vicious strike onto the underside of the bar. Had that gone in then it might have led to a nervy finish for the home side but instead Allassani again got in behind the visiting defence, beating Tolfrey to complete his hat-trick.
Nana Boakye-Yiadom made it four a minute from time after a pinpoint pass from Ashley Carew. The 4-0 scoreline was in some senses a touch harsh on Ks, who by no means spent a whole 90 minutes under constant pressure – but on the other hand they offered precious little themselves and it was hard to escape the feeling that Dulwich were operating in third gear at most.
Dulwich are clearly a good side and even in times of good form Ks would probably not have expected to get anything out of the game – this was Gavin Rose’s side’s ninth consecutive home win. But there will be no such mitigation going forwards as Ks now have five games coming up, four of them at home, against opponents who are no higher than 12th in the league. In 2018 Leigh Dynan’s new look side needs to quickly start demonstrating its worth.
Match report by Simon Grier.