K's beaten by late Boateng strike
match report by James Maw
Kingstonian succumbed to their first defeat of this delayed pre-season, losing 1-0 to a strong Crystal Palace under-23 side at King George's Field on Saturday afternoon.
The hosts started brightly, flying out of the blocks, with Harry Osborne surging forward into space down our right, before crossing for Elliott Buchanan to head just over.
Much of what K's did well in the early stages involved our new No 10 Kadell Daniel, who regularly drifted into pockets of space and bamboozled opposition defenders by quickly shifting through the gears to evade their challenges. The early signs are that he'll be a key creative force for K's in the season ahead.
A neat interchange with Andre Coker gave Daniel the chance to get a shot of his own away on 30 minutes, cutting inside onto his left foot from the right-hand channel, before firing over.
Palace also had chances of their own in the early stages, with their No 9 twice firing over the bar in the first half hour. Firstly after dispossessing Simon Cooper on the edge of the box, and secondly from a free-kick 30 yards from goal.
But an intervention from Rob Tolfrey was required when Palace's TQ Addy was sent through, only to be denied by a Neuer-esque act of sweeper-keeping from our No 1.
K's, who were already without Fabio Saraiva, Ollie Cook, Kenny Beaney and Tom Richards through various knocks, then lost Coker to a hamstring twinge towards the end of the first half - although Hayden later insisted his withdrawal was only a precaution.
This being a pre-season friendly, the flow of the second half was regularly interrupted by substitutions, but Kingstonian still managed to put some good moves together and carve a few openings.
The best came when Daniel drifted over to the left, tricked a defender with a drop of a shoulder, and picked out Buchanan with a left-footed cross. Sadly our No 9's powerfully-hit volley ricocheted off the turf and just over the crossbar.
The visiting keeper then did well to tip a deflected shot over the bar, before denying second-half sub Corie Andrews a goal against his former club after K's had won the ball high up the pitch.
Yet K's were punished for failing to grasp one of the chances, and for falling asleep at a set-piece.
Palace were awarded a free-kick for a foul near the half-way line, which was taken quickly enough to find David Boateng in enough space to set himself and fire a left-footed strike across Tolfrey and into the bottom corner.
It was to prove enough to win Palace the match, and speaking to Mick Sullivan after the full-time whistle [LINK = https://twitter.com/micksullivan33/status/1297212174927048710], Hayden Bird lamented those missed chances.
"I think the performance showed we're very much a work in progress," said Hayden. "I didn't think the game had any sort of tempo - it was a bit pre-seasonish, it was laboured...
"I didn't feel we had the intensity to work as we would like to, and ultimately we've missed a number of good chances and then switched off at a key moment which has cost us the result."
K's will next be in action away to Cobham on Tuesday evening, and yes you are allowed to come along...
Kingstonian: Rob Tolfrey, Harry Osbourne, Ben Harrison, Simon Cooper, Jake Hutchings, Tom Kavanagh, Andre Coker, Gus Sow, Elliott Buchanan, Kadell Daniel, Omarr Lawson.
Subs: Jerry Puemo (for Jake Hutchings, 59m), Mason Whitnell, Corie Andrews (for Omarr Lawson, HT), Tom Howard (for Andre Coker, 36m), Lewis Pearch (for Elliott Buchanan, 71m), Michael Kamara (for Simon Cooper, 59m), Juevan Spencer (for Harry Osborne, HT), Adam Neale, Jay Bradley.
Crystal Palace: numbered 1 to 11 - Jacob Russell, trialist, trialist, trialist, Lewis Hobbs, Jude Russell, trialist, Jake Giddings, trialist, TQ Addy, trialist.
Subs: numbered 12 to 22 - David Boateng, trialist (gk), Cardo Siddik, trialist, Rian Flanagan, trialist, Rob Street, trialist, Scott Banks, trialist, Brandon Aveiro - Crystal Palace made one change at half time (no.21 trialist for no.9 trialist), all other subs replaced all other starters in the 59th minute.
Goal scorer: David Boateng (82m, 0-1)