K's get a draw after a mad final ten minutes
Sometimes you'll see a team snatch a positive result from the jaws of defeat. On other occasions you'll see a team snatch a defeat from the jaws of near-certain glory. What you don't often see is a team snatching an underwhelming draw from the jaws of defeat from the jaws of victory.
The latter was what the travelling fans of Kingstonian witnessed on Saturday afternoon, as James Daly's late strike secured a point that could easily have been none, but should probably have been three.
Our hosts, AFC Hornchurch, had taken just two points from their previous eight league matches, a run that led to former Thurrock boss Mark Stimson taking over at the helm in the days before our visit to East London.
Leigh Dynan handed a K's debut to experienced former Gillingham, Colchester and Leyton Orient right back Sean Clohessy, who had joined the club on Friday after a short spell with Concord Rangers. Dean Inman was joined in the heart of defence by Jay Gasson, with Tommy Brewer shunting up into midfield.
The visitors dominated the early exchanges. Louie Theophanous fired over from a fifth-minute free-kick, before Brewer dragged a shot wide five minutes later.
Hornchurch's best chance of the first half came in the 23rd minute, when a rapid move down the Urchin's left flank saw George Winn cross for George Saunders, who rattled the post with a finely-struck effort.
On 35 minutes, K's were awarded a penalty after Shaun McAuley was felled in the hosts' box, giving Theophanous a golden chance to put us ahead.
Urchins keeper Callum Chafer read our No.10’s intentions, however, and palmed the spotkick to safety.
Fortunately for K’s, it wasn’t long before they did take the lead. Neat interplay between Clohessy and McAuley saw the latter find space out on the right, and swing a dangerous cross over the head of Chafer. The ball clipped the top of the bar and fell kindly for Louie, who slotted home to put Kingstonian ahead seconds before the break.
The visitors looked well in control for the ‘third quarter’ of the game’ holding onto the ball, and creating a few chances. Not taking one of them would quickly come back to bite them.
Hornchurch winger Porter's 81st-minute cross was only half-cleared, and Saunders elegantly spun and shot past Rob Tolfrey. Suddenly, the momentum was all with the hosts. With the home fans baying for blood, things were about to get even worse for Kingstonian.
Theo Fairweather-Johnson played a neat through ball to Saunders, who squared for George Purcell to tuck home at the far post. With three minutes left of the regulation 90, K’s were behind.
Daly fired over the bar to cries of “all day long” from the hosts’ keeper, and it looked as though we were beaten. But we weren’t.
Chafer failed to hold a stinging Buchanan drive, and who else but James Daly was there to smash home an equaliser they couldn’t have imagined they’d need ten minutes earlier.
In the Bostik, it ain’t over til it’s over.
AFC Hornchurch: Callum Chafer, Alex Bentley, Jay Porter, Kenzer Lee, Connor Hogan, Jordan Clark, George Saunders, Lewwis Spence, Nana Boakye-Yiadom, George Purcell, Ronnie Winn.
Subs: Jamie Hursit, Theo Fairweather-Johnson (for Nana Boakye-Yiadom, 82m), George Winn.
Kingstonian: Rob Tolfrey, Sean Clohessy, Tyler Brown, Tommy Brewer, Dean Inman, Jay Gasson, James Daly, Shaun McAuley, Delano Sam-Yorke, Louie Theophanous, Alfie Doughty.
Subs: Elliott Buchanan (for Louie Theophanous, 68m), Ben Dempsey (for Shaun McAuley, 74m), Manolis Gogonas, Temi Eweka, Aaron Lamont.
Goal scorers: Louie Theophanous (45m, 0-1), George Saunders (81m, 1-1), George Purcell (86m, 2-1), James Daly (88m, 2-2)