Weston-super-Mare game two report
match report by Simon Grier
During the 18 and a half years since Eddie Saunders conceded a corner deep into injury time at Ashton Gate, Kingstonian’s FA Cup exploits have only brought despair (*that* equaliser), frustration (St Albans, Hayes and Yeading) or outright embarrassment (far too many to list). But finally, thanks to a 4-1 win over 100 miles from home in Weston-super-Mare, Ks are back in the fourth qualifying round for the first time since they used to get a bye into it as a Conference Club.
They did it in style, too. Hayden Bird seemed confident after the drawn home tie that with 11 men Ks would win the replay, but recent form suggested otherwise. This, however, was a fine performance, particularly in the second half. Combined with the league win at Haringey it’s a sign that, perhaps, things are starting to click for Bird’s side.
Ks started brightly in front of a loud travelling support but it was the hosts who were first to come close, Rob Tolfrey having to tip a Connor Davies effort from the right flank over his bar. Joel Randall fired wide from the corner.
Ks took the lead though on 18 minutes. An underhit corner from Kenny Beaney wasn’t fully cleared and Ks returned the ball high into the box. Ollie Cook headed it down for Fabio Saraiva who lashed home a brutal volley from the edge of the box.
The lead lasted just four minutes though. Ks conceded a free kick on the corner of their own box and George Dowling fired it past the wall and straight into Tolfrey’s far corner.
Often in such circumstances Ks’ heads have dropped but not this time; instead, they restored the lead almost immediately. This time Beaney’s corner was inch-perfect and Jerry Puemo made amends for his costly error in the home game by heading straight past Luke Purnell.
After the break, Ks did a much better job of controlling the game. With the exception of a Weston header that came back off the crossbar Tolfrey was rarely tested and as the game wore on Ks become increasingly dangerous on the counter-attack.
The danger told on 64 minutes when Dan Bennett deftly played Reece Hall in on goal and despite being at an extremely acute angle he managed to beat Purnell.
Chances came and went to wrap the game up; Hall had a 20-yard volley deflected narrowly wide and when vicious wind caught the ball Beaney almost scored direct from a corner, Purnell scrambling to keep the ball out.
Theophanous fired wide and Purnell parried out a Bennett free kick before Ks eventually sealed their progress in the last minute, Beaney and Youssef Bamba combining to tee Theophanous up for a fine finish. Ks have finally produced an FA Cup performance to be proud of.
Weston-super-Mare: Luke Purnell, Connor Davies, Jake Mawford, Scott Laird, Aaron Parsons, Greg Tindle, George Dowling, Sam Hendy, Nick McCootie, Joel Randall, Isaac Pearce.
Subs: Charlie Madden, Jarrad Welch, Ryan Jones, Owen Howe (for Sam Hendy, 71m), Jay Malshanskyj (for Nick McCootie, 71m), Alex Byrne, Niall Maher.
Kingstonian: Rob Tolfrey, Gus Sow, Fabio Saraiva, Jerry Puemo, Ollie Cook, Tom Kavanagh, Dan Bennett, Kenny Beaney, Louie Theophanous, Reece Hall, Dan Hector.
Subs: Calum Davies, Dan Thompson, Ben Harrison, Youssef Bamba (for Reece Hall, 79m), Lewis Pearch,
Goals: Fabio Saraiva (18m, 0-1), Ryan Dowling (22m, 1-1), Jerry Puemo (27m, 1-2), Reece Hall (64m, 1-3), Louie Theophanous (89m, 1-4)