Leamington match report
Match report by Jamie Cutteridge.
It’s difficult to figure out exactly how, but Kingstonian just about forced a replay in their FA Trophy second round tie against Leamington. There have been games this season where Hayden Bird’s side have blown the opposition away, footballed them to death, passed their way to victory. But the 1-1 draw they shared with their National League North opponents was not one of those occasions. This game was a victory (or, to be precise, a draw) for hard work and determination. It was a game of two fluke goals, an own goal and a cross-cum-shot-cum-never-in-a-million-years-is-that-going-in.
If the surprise departure of Louis Theophanous and suspension of Dan Bennett left Ks short-handed up front, they were dealt a further blow after Reece Hall went off injured within 20 minutes. It had been Hall who had looked most lively early on, twice testing the Brakes’ keeper. At the other end, Jack Edwards twice missed the target with good chances before Connor Taylor did find the target from point blank range, but was inexplicably denied by a Rob Tolfrey special to keep the score goalless at the interval. For all Ks’ hard work, since the departure of Hall they had struggled to create any meaningful chances.
The second half began in a similar vein, plenty of bite in midfield, but Leamington with much more quality in the final third. Twice in opening five minutes of the half Harry Osbourne crucially intervened to deny the visitors, first hooking the ball clear off the line after the ball found its way past Tolfrey before recovering brilliantly to tackle Kyle McFarlane who was through on goal minutes later.
Sadly, Ks resistance finally failed. A short corner caught Ks by surprise and with attackers lurking, all Fabio could do was turn the ball into his own net from Joe Clarke’s cross. The visitors finally led, and as the half wore on, they looked more likely to extend their lead than Ks did to cancel it out.
However, Dan Hector, and the wind, were to have the final word. Hector had been Ks’ most promising outlet all afternoon, consistently beating his man and causing problems. And he did so again as the clock ticked into injury time. He was almost at the byline by the time he swung in his cross, and his left-footed ball swung outwards from Ks left. Except, it didn’t swing outwards. A combination of luck, swerve, wind and, as Tim Wells suggested, an extra blow from Jack Goodchild saw the ball curve back towards the goal, and over the head of the Leamington keeper. Time seemed to slow down. The ball thudded off the inside of the post. Internal calculations in everyone’s head seemed to suggest the ball had to surely bounce outwards. It didn’t. Cross. Post. Thud. Over the line. Back of the net. Delirium behind the goal. Delirium in the main stain. Delirium in the royal enclosure. Bundles upon bundles upon bundles. Hayden maniacally ran down the touchline. Smuggled beers were split. Voices were lost. Ks cup run continued.
Leamington: Jake Weaver, Junior English, Stephan Morley, Joe Clarke, James Mace, Jack Lane, Kaiman Anderson, Callum Maycock, Connor Taylor, Jake Edwards, Dexter Walters.
Subs: Kieran Dunbar, Callum Gittings (for Callum Maycock, 80m), Jordan Murphy, Kyle McFarlane (for Dexter Walters, 52m), Reece Rawlings, Tom James, Josh Allen.