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Kingstonian 1
Buchanan (92')
1 Bedford Town
Dummett (95')

Two Late Goals Mean a Replay

A thoroughly entertaining FA Trophy tie will have to be decided by a replay after Bedford Town found the time to equalise Elliot Buchanan’s 92nd-minute opener.

It looked like the striker settled this first qualifying round contest with a predatory close-range finish, but there was a sting in the tale as the Eagles went up the other end and levelled following an agonising goalmouth scramble.

Bedford, who ply their trade in the Evo-Stik South Central league, a step below K’s, had won an FA Cup tie 3-0 at hitherto unbeaten Enfield Town earlier in the season, and it was apparent from the off they possessed quality all over the pitch. Inside five minutes, Joel Gyasi fired a free-kick goalwards that Rob Tolfrey got down well to tip wide with his right hand.

But K’s have been in decent form themselves and produced plenty of positive attacking play all afternoon, but especially in the first half. Louie Theophanous poked a finish too close to Niall Cooper, the Bedford keeper. A succession of blocks from the neon-shirted visitors also kept K’s at bay, with Buchanan in particular frustrated.

Were it not for a slight push by Buchanan on Bedford’s enjoyably-named Ben Ford, we would have had a first-half penalty for a blatant handball.

Midway through the half, Jordan Jarrold fired over the bar when a deflected cross reached him racing into the box. That would be the closest Bedford came until the final seconds.

Aaron Lamont, tidy again in central midfield, forced Cooper into flying action with a dipping 20-yarder. Then Alfie Doughty, a menace down our left, squared to Theophanous whose flicked first-time finish crashed against the underside of the bar. The ball bounced back over him but he couldn’t get enough purchase on his subsequent bicycle kick.

Gyasi had an effort deflected over before a very entertaining half of football was out. It had been a proper cup tie.

Clear openings were harder to come by in the second half, but Buchanan will feel he should have done better when Lamont slipped him through after pinching possession. One-on-one, he shot too close to Cooper who smothered.

Apart from a Jermaine Osei effort volleyed wide of the post from a set-piece on the hour, K’s restricted the visitors to long shots.

That being said, Bedford defended very well too and when sub James Daly headed straight at Cooper as the 90-minute mark approached, a goalless draw seemed inevitable.

But an excellent encounter got the goals it deserved in stoppage time. First, K’s struck. Tommy Brewer tried his luck from range, seeking to emulate his heroics against Bishop's Stortford last month, and the ball deflected in the direction of another sub, Greg Cundle. He forced the ball square of Cooper to the lurking Buchanan. He tucked into the unguarded net, sparking great scenes behind the goal.

That was in the second of three minutes added on by the officials. Five had been played by the time Dean Dummett fired into the net after Tolfrey had dropped the ball - possibly caused by a foul - and then veteran Paul Benson had been superbly denied by Lamont on the goal-line. The ball ricocheted around, landed at Dummett’s feet, and like Buchanan he couldn’t miss.

Match report by Rupert Cane.

Published Thursday 1st November 2018