Corinthian-Casuals FA Trophy report
match report by Michael Cox.
It’s beginning to feel like a season that will be most memorable for Kingstonian’s performance in the cup competitions.
On the weekend the clocks went back, Ks collected their sixth cup win of the season - four in the FA Cup, one in the Surrey Senior Cup and this one in the FA Trophy - which is three times as many Isthmian League victories they’ve recorded. After recent under-performances in the cups, it’s long overdue return to the spirit of the late 1990s.
This was an entertaining victory in a local derby played in horribly rainy, blustery conditions at King George’s Field. It’s probably no coincidence that five of the game’s six goals were scored towards the goal the wind was blowing towards - Ks won the first half 3-0 kicking that way, then Casuals won the second half 2-1 after the change of ends.
Kingstonian eased into a comfortable 3-0 victory within 25 minutes. Louie Theophanous spent the opening minutes constantly on the shoulder of the last defender, and after good work from Gus Sow and Dan Hector down the left, found himself through on goal to dink over Danny Bracken with typical calmness.
The second was a different type of goal entirely. Harry Osborne, who returned to right-back after a midweek outing at the heart of the defence, blasted at goal with his left foot from 25 yards. Bracken got both hands to the ball, but only succeeded in tipping it up and over the goal-line, probably assisted by the wind.
Osborne’s overlapping allowed Dan Bennett to play more centrally than usual in a fluid Kingstonian attack, and Bennett created the third from an inside-right position, playing a clever pass to Tom Kavanagh, making a good run from midfield, to finish. Kavanagh, and his teammates, ran to Bennett in celebration, a recognition of a fine assist.
At 3-0 up, the game felt over, and - perhaps having witnessed Leicester’s 9-0 victory at Southampton the previous evening - Ks supporters optimistically chanted “we want ten”. But Casuals threatened before half-time when midfielder Bradley Wilson hooked a crossed free-kick towards goal, with Tolfrey re-adjusting impressively and palming away.
The ‘visitors’ came out strongly at the start of the second half. Ollie Cook made a rare double error, conceding possession then bringing down Gabriel Odunaike, allowing Shaun Okojie to score from the spot.
Ks substitute Youssef Bamba injected some extra speed down the left, and won a penalty 10 minutes from time. From the spot, Kavanagh smashed home his second of the game, with a no-nonsense technique familiar from last weekend’s memorable win at Dartford.
But man-of-the-match was arguably Tolfrey, who made three outstanding saves from Wilson, Coskun Ekum and Juevan Spencer. He was, however, beaten from the spot for a second time, with ex-Ks striker Nathaniel Pinney converting in the closing stages after another silly penalty concession.
Ks are now into the second qualifying round, although the scheduled fixture date clashes with the FA Cup trip to Macclesfield, which means it will be played at a later date, with an Isthmian fixture likely to be postponed for a second time. At this rate, it will be a long time before Ks’ tally of league victories matches the number they’ve achieved in the cup.
Corinthian-Casuals: Danny Bracken, Warren Morgan, Ollie Sitch, Andrew Mills, Robert Jamison, Coskum Ekim, Juevan Spencer, Bradley Wilson, Shaun Okojie, Kevant Serbony, Gabriel Odunaike.
Subs: James Fitzgibbon, Jack Tucker, Ben Cheklit (for Kevant Serbony, 80m), Nathaniel Pinney (for Shaun Okojie, 85m), Hakeem Adelakun (for Ollie Sitch, HT).