Early goal seals double over K’s for Brightlingsea Regent
“There were three people in this game of football,” Princess Diana presumably would have said had she been alive to see Kingstonian’s 1-0 defeat to Brightlingsea Regent; “Kingstonian, Brightlingsea and the pitch.”
The pitch was, to put it nicely, incredible. After heavy rain in the 24 hours before the game, no one could quite believe it when the Fetcham Grove bog passed a morning pitch inspection, and the incredulity only grew when you saw the state of one of the goalmouths. Make no mistake, the ground staff did an incredible job to get the game on, but the surface didn’t exactly suit free-flowing football (or as free flowing as the Isthmian ever allows) and so once Brightlingsea took an early lead, a frustrating afternoon for Kingstonian was on the cards.
Ks went behind after an encouraging first few minutes; balls into the box had caused panic among the visiting backline, but from their first attack, Rob Harvey’s flicked header from a left-wing cross beat Tolfrey to score the only goal of the game. Much of the rest of the half took place in the midfield quagmire as both sides sought to try and control both the game and the elements. But for all Ks hard work: the industry of Kevin Maclaren, the drive of Tom Beere and the energy of Manolis Gogonas and Andrew Mugungu at full back all stood out, it was Brightlingsea who came closest to the second goal of the half, as Tolfrey pulled off a diving low stop to keep out Billy Hunt’s drive.
The second period was equally frustrating for Kingstonian. Despite almost all of the play taking place in the Brightlingsea half, Leigh Dynan’s side struggled to create meaningful opportunities as the bobbly pitch prevented any neat interchanges in the final third. And as Ks threw men forward, Brightlingsea looks dangerous on the break, and after a mixup between Manu and the impressive Sean Francis, the Regent’s Harry McDonald had the chance to finish the game off, but he could only place the ball wide from close range.
Down the other end, Ks finally began to test the flappy but nominatively-determined Harry Palmer in the visitor’s goal: Marvin Elliot’s header was acrobatically tipped over; Tom Beere’s free kick comfortably caught before the final chance fell to Louie Theophanous who collected a cross with his back to goal 8 yards out and quickly fired a backheel goalwards. A foot either side would have leveled the scores but to the agony of the home fans, it was close enough to Palmer that the custodian was able to fall on the ball.
For all Ks huff and puff, it was just wasn’t to be. Beaten by some rugged defending and an equally rugged pitch.
Match report by Jamie Cutteridge.