Brightlingsea Regent match report
match report by Phil Murphy
Seven sensational minutes from Daniel Ajakaiye and Elliott Buchanan led K’s to a comeback win against a spirited Brightlingsea Regent. In wintery conditions the double-act’s heroics combined to help K’s to a 4-2 victory in Essex.
Hayden Bird’s side entered the game without the services of Rob Tolfrey and Bryant Akono Bilongo. Serine Sanneh, on loan from Crystal Palace, took the place of the injured Tolfrey, while Kershaney Samuels returned to the side. Rhys Murrell-Williamson deputised for Akono Bilongo at left back. Akono Bilongo is the subject of significant transfer speculation, with further news expected in the coming days.
K’s adjusted quickly to the reshuffling of the pack and made the perfect start in the 3rd minute when Ollie Cook netted the opener. A Beaney corner broke to Banton, whose effort deflected into the path of Cook. The centre-half showed composure from close range to coolly finish through a sea of Regent bodies.
K’s enjoyed the better of the opening half hour, but lacked a finishing touch. Ajakaiye, Buchanan and Sow all spurned decent opportunities.
The hosts gradually found their way into the game and pulled level in the 40th minute when Zack Littlejohn was on hand to fire home the rebound after Sanneh had saved a mid-range effort.
On the stroke of half-time Regent had a golden opportunity to add a second. Dom Locke was hauled down by Jerry Puemo when in on goal, leaving the referee with no option but to point to the spot. Cachicote da Rocha shot to the left but Sanneh guessed the right way and saved. K’s scrambled it clear and were off the hook.
Half-Time: Brightlingsea Regent 1-1 Kingstonian
Regent maintained the upper-hand and were rewarded in the 52nd minute when Aaron Blair raced ahead of the K’s defence and fired into the top corner.
The home side were growing in confidence. Bell and Blair both went close before Sow made a vital interception to keep the deficit to one goal.
It looked like it might be one of those days for the K’s until Ajakaiye and Buchanan took over.
The comeback commenced on 72 minutes. Buchanan started the move, spraying wide to Murrell-Williamson, who beat his man and fired across goal. The ball bounced off Buchanan, into the path of Ajakaiye, who fired home the equaliser.
Just two minutes later, Jason Banton found space and played an inch-perfect pass in behind to put Buchanan through on goal. Buchanan’s initial shot was well saved, but the striker buried the rebound into the roof of the net to give K’s the lead.
10 minutes from time, Ajakaiye, operating on the right, raced down the wing, turned his man inside out, calmly waited for support to arrive and laid it on a plate for Buchanan. The K’s No. 9 made no mistake with his close-range finish to give K’s breathing room. Ajakaiye, typically selfless; Buchanan, characteristically clinical; K’s in command.
Ekpiteta had opportunities off the bench to put the game beyond doubt but twice blazed over. The visitors meanwhile squandered a late free-kick from a dangerous position to avoid a nervy finish and ensure that K’s held on for the 4-2 victory.
Speaking after the game, boss Hayden Bird admitted that in the circumstances he would have settled for a share of the spoils with 20 minutes remaining, but was delighted with his side’s character in securing the three points. It wasn’t vintage K’s but Bird’s men showed their quality in the end and were clinical when it counted.
Next up for Kingstonian is short the trip to The Colston Avenue Football Stadium on Monday night as K’s take on a Carshalton Athletic side featuring familiar faces in the form of Daniel Bennett and Dan Hector.
Brightlingsea Regent: Charlie Turner, Andy George, Theo Osinfolarin, Charlie Durling, Chris Ribchester, Zack Littlejohn, Dom Locke, Luke Skinner, Aaron Blair, Ollie Bell, Valter Cachicote da Rocha.
Subs: Kane Gilbert (for Andy George, 81m), Tim Ogunrinde, Jamie Bennett, Connor Barnby (for Ollie Bell, 78m), Brett Munyard.