Weston-super-Mare game one report
match report by James Maw
Kingstonian were denied a certain place in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round by a late Weston-super-Mare penalty at King George’s Field.
K’s were battling to reach the final qualifying round for the first time since the famous run on 2000-01, but instead were left facing the prospect of a long midweek journey to the Somerset riviera for a replay.
Hayden Bird - who reached the First Round proper with Merstham in 2016-17 - stayed loyal to the side that had so impressively won at Haringey Borough five nights previously, and his team started strongly once again.
We had the Seagulls very much pinned back in the opening stages of the match, and our early pressure nearly paid off on seven minutes when Louie Theophanous dragged his shot just wide.
The visitors - last season relegated from National League South - managed to wrestle their way back into the game, and George Dowling tested Rob Tolfrey with a 25-yard free-kick on 20 minutes.
Dan Hector had two chances from the edge of the box - one was only just off-target, the other...was slightly more off target - as we reasserted our dominance towards the end of the first half.
Finally the breakthrough came on 56 minutes when Reece Hall’s low drive overpowered Seagulls keeper Luke Purnell.
K’s continued to turn the screw but then unfortunately lost concentration and jammed the screwdriver into their own hand - which is another way of saying right back Jerry Puemo was shown a second yellow for a clumsy challenge, completely changing the dynamic of the tie.
A few bouts of defensive re-shuffling eventually ended with Gus Sow at right back, as Weston heaped on the pressure with the minutes ticking down and tension ramping up.
Kingstonian looked to have seen off the barrage, but a 91st-minute Sow trip on Isaac Pearce was punished with a penalty, coolly converted by Scott Laird to seal the replay.
The life was sucked from the KGF crowd as our fans contemplated that long, long journey, but it could have been even worse had Nick McCootie’s last-gasp header not been disallowed for reasons we don’t understand but nonetheless entirely agree with.
“When you concede a late goal like that you see it as a missed opportunity,” Hayden Bird said after the full-time whistle. “I’m disappointed for the club, the fans and the players, but with 11 v 11 on Tuesday, I have every confidence we’ll go to Weston and finish the job.”
Weston-super-Mare: Luke Purnell, Connor Davies, Scott Laird, Jake Mawford, Aaron Parsons, Charlie Madden, George Dowling, Sam Hendy, Owen Howe, Joel Randall, Ryan Jones.
Subs: Jay Malshanskyj (for George Dowling, 86m), Niall Maher, Nick McCootie (for Connor Davies, 76m), Isaac Pearce (for Ryan Jones, 60m), Tom Llewellyn, Jarrad Welch, Alex Byrne.
Red card: Jerry Puemo (68m, second yellow card)
Goals: Reece Hall (56m, 1-0), Scott Laird (90m penalty, 1-1)