K's shredded by a hungry set of Hawks
Match report by James Maw
Kingstonian were dealt a hefty blow in their push for promotion, after three goals in eleven first-half minutes gave bottom-of-the-table Whitehawk the points at King George's Field.
With many of our promotion rivals also facing sides languishing towards the bottom of the table, it really felt like something approaching a 'must win' match, despite there still being so much of the campaign left to play.
Things had started so well for Leigh Dynan's side, when Elliott Buchanan gave the hosts the lead on 15 minutes. Our No.9 reacted quickest when Louie Theophanous' scuffed shot fell kindly in the area. Despite objections from the visitors, Buchanan was clearly onside, and prodded the ball into the bottom corner to put K's ahead.
Buchanan had a chance to double our advantage, heading just wide from a Sean Clohessy cross. But then suddenly the momentum shifted.
K's totemic centreback Dean Inman appeared to injure himself in the process of defending a Hawks corner, and was clearly in some discomfort as the game continued around him.
Whitehawk seized the opportunity to strike at a moment of weakness, with Lucas Rodrigues bursting past our stricken stopper and firing the ball past Rob Tolfrey to level the scores.
The injured Inman was promptly replaced by Tyler Brown, who slotted in at left-back, with Jay Gasson moving into a central role. And Whitehawk punished the momentary uncertainty, with Henry Muggeridge 'mugging off' K's by striding onto a brilliant long ball from Lewis Unwin, before lofting the ball over Tolfrey and into the net.
Things quickly went from bad to worse, when Sinn’Kaye Christie stuck a hopeful boot in the way of a shot from former-K Aaron Goode, and diverted the ball in off the post.
In the blink of an eye, K's had gone from a goal ahead to two goals down. It left us with an almighty mountain to climb, and sadly we had forgotten our harness and crampons (that's a climbing thing, we looked it up).
Theophanous connected sweetly with a Buchanan cross shortly after the interval, but his volley sailed over the bar.
The hosts largely dominated possession in the second half, but every half-chance fired towards the Whitehawk goal was expertly repelled by visiting keeper Melvin Minter. Theophanous and debutant Dan Darbyshire were among those denied by the Hawks No.1 as the second 45 gradually ticked away. In truth, Whitehawk were more than worthy of their three points.
To compound Kingstonian's misery, there were wins for Haringey Borough, Dorking Wanderers and Lewes, meaning we now sit three points off third, six points off second, and 11 points off the top. It was definitely one of those days...
Kingstonian: Rob Tolfrey, Sean Clohessy, Jay Gasson, Joe Wicks, Dean Inman, Tommy Brewer, Manolis Gogonas, Shaun McAuley, Elliott Buchanan, Louie Theophanous, Rhys Murrell-Williamson.
Subs: Aaron Lamont, Leo Chambers, Tyler Brown (for Dean Inman, 29m), Dan Darbyshire (for Joe Wicks, 59m), Scott Day (for Elliott Buchanan, 71m).
Whitehawk: Melvin Minter, Fintan Walsh, Aaron Goode, Lewis Unwin, Yannis Ambroisine, Sinn'Kaye Christie, Lucas Rodrigues, Rhyle Ovenden, Henry Muggeridge, John Paul Kissock, Ky Marsh-Brown.
Subs: Henry Watson, Connor Tighe (for Ky Marsh-Brown, 62m), Eze Ebuzoeme (for John Paul Kissock, 41m), Reece Hallard (for Lucas Rodrigues, 90+1m), Rob Deda.
Goal scorers: Elliott Buchanan (15m, 1-0), Lucas Rodrigues (27m, 1-1), Henry Muggeridge (30m, 1-2), Sinn'Kaye Christie (37m, 1-3)