Merstham Velocity Trophy match report
match report by James Maw
Kingstonian crashed out of the Velocity Trophy (nee the Alan Turvey Trophy) with a suitably topsy-turvey 3-2 defeat to Merstham.
Just four days after K's had thumped Merstham 4-0 in the Isthmian Premier Division at King George's Field, the Moatsiders returned for a re-match.
With one eye on the upcoming FA Trophy clash with Woking, K's boss Hayden Bird made six changes from the team that started Saturday's league match, although the starting XI still looked strong. He brought in Jerry Puemo, Harry Osbourne, Gus Sow, Dan Thompson, Calum Davies and Youssef Bamba.
And Kingstonian got off to a stunning start when, after incessent early pressure, the hosts took the lead on seven minutes when Calum Davies rifled a powerful 20-yard strike in off the underside of the crossbar.
It looked like being another comfortable 90 minutes for K's, but there was a shock in store. Merstham No.10 Shola Ayoola climbed highest at a corner to head in an equaliser on 12 minutes. Ten minutes later, Ayoola exploited some poor K's defending to blast home his second of the evening.
That did at least see K's snap back to life, and soon Davies joined Ayoola on two goals. His smart right-footed strike on the turn beating Merstham keeper Matte Pierson to see the scores level at 2-2 at the interval. The first half action certainly helped distract the crowd from the bitter, bitter cold (particularly as the burger van wasn't open to dish out warm treats).
Kingstonian once again flew out of the traps after the break. We should have gone back in front when Dan Bennett skipped past the keeper and played the ball to Sow, who was unable to get a shot away before being set up by three Merstham defenders.
Yet despite all the huffing and puffing, K's couldn't find a third goal. As the game became more stretched with both teams seeking a winner, K's were caught on the break, with Ellis Brown firing the visitors into a 83rd-minute lead.
With a second eye perhaps now also on Woking, K's didn't really ever threaten to force an equaliser, and having suffered a humbling on our patch on the Saturday, it was Merstham who left King George's Field victorious this time around.
Subs: Eddie Dsane (for Dan Thompson, 59m), Dan Hector (for Dan Bennett, 59m), Tutu Henriques (for Calum Davies, 79m), Lewis Pearch (for Tom Kavanagh, 86m), Cameron Reardon. (NB: In this competition, teams can choose five substitutes and use them all if required.)
Merstham: Matte Pierson, EJ Mensah, James O'Halloran, Pochu Mendes-Calucane, James Richmond, Jalen Jones, Ellis Brown, Chace Jacquart, Omar Folkes, Shola Ayoola, Marco Sousa-Pina.
Subs: Christian Gitau Eneremadu (for Marco Sousa-Pina, 59m), Theo Kersuzan, Barry Hayles, Yannick Monga.