Walton Casuals match report
Second-half goals from Ollie Cook and Louie Theophanous were enough for Kingstonian to get the better of Walton Casuals in the FA Cup first qualifying round.
It was far from a vintage K’s performance, but the result was most welcome as the club go in search of the Cup run that has eluded them for so many years. It also backed up the win over Merstham the weekend before.
Hayden Bird fielded an attacking-looking line-up, with Fabio Saraiva in central midfield alongside Tom Kavanagh. Theophanous had the first shot of the day, put past the post, and then Reece Hall tested Walton keeper Alex Tokarczyk with a 20-yarder.
The visitors, pointless in their league games so far, had a great chance to open the scoring midway through the first half after hitting K’s on the counter, but Rob Tolfrey stood tall and blocked with his body to deny Andrew Ofusu.
Then Dan Thompson, partnering Theophanous in a 4-4-2, cleverly headed a corner back across goal only to see it cleared off the line.
The game got scrappy, but as half-time approached Theophanous had a great chance to put us ahead. Kavanagh whipped in an inviting low cross that the unmarked striker could only divert over the crossbar.
Walton came out of the blocks the quicker after the interval and it needed a decent Tolfrey stop to tip Stephen Ward’s effort over. On the hour, Ben Harrison was at his best to clear a threatening low cross before a Stag could convert.
K’s had soaked up the pressure and made some of their own count on 67 minutes. Tokarczyk couldn’t palm a corner fully away and after the ball was kept alive, Cook forced it over the line from a couple of yards out for his first K’s goal.
Walton didn’t make the most of a counter-attacking opportunity to level, and with 15 minutes to go they were duly punished. Theophanous, who had hit the top of a bar with an unusual header shortly before, was the scorer, but the goal owed much to the magic feet and vision of Dan Bennett out on the right. His floated pass was weighted perfectly for the no.9 who confidently poked his finish past Tokarczyk.
Sub Youssef Bamba had the ball in the net only to see his celebrations curtailed by the offside flag. A third goal wasn’t needed, though, as the K’s edged a tight game of non-league football, something they have struggled to do in 2019. A substantial wedge of prize money and a date with Grays Athletic in the next round is the reward for their endeavours.
Subs: Youssef Bamba (for Dan Bennett, 76m), Calum Davies (for Dan Thompson, 70m), Jerry Puemo (for Ben Harrison, 83m), Jon Tadafe, Victor Fundi, Tutu Henriques, Amadou Tangara.
Walton Casuals: Alex Tokarczyk, Joe Morrison, Jude Mason, Jorell Johnson, Jay Gasson, Michael Atkinson, Stevie Ward, David Fitzpatrick, Rene Howe, Andrew Ofusu, Rohdell Gordon.
Subs: Brendan Murphy-McVey (for Michael Atkinson, 84m), Cheyce Grant (for Stevie Ward, 72m), Crossley Lema, George Burnham, Sam Amure, Harry Shepherd (for Andrew Ofusu, 81m).
Goal scorers: Ollie Cook (67m, 1-0), Louie Theophanous (75m, 2-0)