Frustration as K's Exit FA Trophy
Lightning struck thrice, twice, to deposit Ks out of the FA Trophy in Bedfordshire. After the Eagles somehow recovered from Ks taking a 92nd minute lead on Saturday to equalised just two minutes later, they repeated the trick at home, twice more equalising within two minutes after going behind before decisively taking the lead. A third cup defeat to lower-division opponents this season saw Kingstonian crash out of the FA Trophy in the first qualifying round, as Bedford Town earned an entertaining 3-2 replay victory.
Similarly to the first tie, Kingstonian caused problems going forward throughout, and while they doubled their goals tally, they still left a number of chances untaken, while giving up more chances at the other end. And it was the hosts who had the first chance of the evening, as the ball was laid back to Dan Walker at close range, before a brilliant Jay Gasson block forced a corner. At the other end, with their first real sight of goal, Ks opened the scoring. Rob Tolfrey’s punt upfield for once eluded the towering presence of Gavin Hoyte in the heart of Bedford’s backline, allowing Elliot Buchanan the chance to delicately lob the ball over the onrushing Niall Cooper in the host’s goal to give his side the, short-lived, lead. Minutes later, it was level. A quickly taken free kick put Ks on the back foot, and a simple through ball put Walker through to place the ball past Tolfrey and level the tie after 18 minutes. Twice before half time, Cooper denied Ks, firstly brilliantly tipping over a curling Aaron Lamont effort, before getting a strong foot to Louis Theophanous’ powerful drive from a tight angle.
As the second half began, it was Tolfrey’s turn to impressive, as he clawed away a powerful effort from the ever-threatening Joel Gyasi. The hosts were beginning to get on top, and Theophanous firing the ball just wide from distance was a moment of much-needed action in the Bedford half. Minutes later and Ks were back in front. Alfie Doughty sent Theophanous away down the left channel whose cross preposterously found Sean Francis the furthest man forward. The defender had the presence of mind to flick the ball back to the waiting Doughty who slammed the ball past Cooper to break the tie’s third deadlock.
By this point, we all knew the script. Some wags in the away were barely through a rendition of “You’re gonna score in a minute” before the equaliser came. Gyasi’s run into the area caused panic, and his layoff to Matty Harriot gave the midfielder the chance to send the ball home through a maelstrom of Kingstonian bodies.
The final goal of the tie, when it came, was a worthy winner. Jermaine Osei perhaps got the better of Manolis Gogonas too easily, but his screaming effort from the corner of the area was unstoppable. Sadly, Ks were unable to mirror the host’s uncanny knack of scoring immediate replies. In fact, it took a few minutes for Leigh Dynan’s side to recombobulate themselves, but eventually they did, twice coming close in the dying minutes. Mo Faal almost made an immediate impact off the bench; his mazy run gave room for a dipping effort from distance that agonisingly crashed off the bar, and while it fell to Theophanous, by the time it had sat up, he was crowded out. Minutes later, Buchanan found space in the area from a corner, but his free header was flicked wide and the game was up.
Match report by Jamie Cutteridge.