K's outlast Clarets to advance to First Qualifying Round
match report by Rupert Cane
After six long months, Kingstonian returned to competitive action with a comfortable 4-1 victory over Horley Town in the FA Cup preliminary round.
For much of the afternoon, the world felt normal again. The sun shone, K’s fans wore their hoops with pride, and Hayden Bird’s side outplayed their Southern Combination Premier opponents.
Sure, wearing masks in certain areas and having a temperature gun pointed at your forehead shook up the matchday experience a little, but all in all this was a joyous afternoon, the like of which we must enjoy while we can.
K’s starting XI including two debutants, Tom Richards and Jake Hutchings, and two ‘second’ debutants, Elliot Buchanan and Corie Andrews.
It was the lesser-known man to the home fans, Andrews, who stood out from the get-go, displaying sharp movement and, on 12 minutes, outstanding finishing ability. Kenny Beaney slipped a pass in the direction of our new attacker, who rolled his defender before larruping a finish high into the roof of the net on his left.
You can be forgiven for not remembering Andrews’ 17-minute substitute appearance in a 0-4 thrashing at Dulwich on the first day of 2018, but if he keeps up this level of performance, he’ll soon be the talk of the Kingston town.
He came close to adding a second K’s goal on a couple of occasions, as did Buchanan, who partnered him up front in a 4-diamond-2 shape preferred on this occasion by the tactically flexible Bird. Omarr Lawson also threatened from range, before captain Simon Cooper did make it 2-0 with a glancing near-post header from Tom Richards’ inviting corner shortly before the interval.
In the second half, Andrews unselfishly picked out Buchanan 12 yards out, but a Horley defender threw himself in the line of fire to prevent a first goal for our no.9 since his move from Dorking.
Midway through the second half, Cooper was at it again, this time looping his header into the net after Horley had failed to clear their lines from a Kenny Beaney corner.
The Clarets were no pushovers, it must be said, and probably merited the goal they scored on 74 minutes. Richard Pingling pung one in from close range.
Any Horley hopes of a remarkable comeback were extinguished four minutes later when youngster Lewis Pearch scored his first K’s goal. Not long off the bench, it was a sweet strike, driven across the goalkeeper first time. Pearch’s celebrations showed just what it meant to him, and crowned a fine return to competitive football for the K’s.
Horley Town: George Hyde, Chaven Xavier, Ryan Brackpool, Chad Goulter, Bradley Peters, Ryan Smith, James McElligott, Gavin Quintyne, Kofi Quartey, Adam Grant, Kevin Moreno Gomez.
Subs: Jack Poplett (for James McElligott, 90m), Richard Pingling (for Gavin Quintyne, HT), Jamile Johnson (for Kofi Quartey, HT), Tom Hayden, Victor Naranjo, Tyrese Marshalleck, Tyrese Miller.