Sow chips in with vital penalty
match report by James Maw, photos by Simon Roe
Kingstonian remain top of the Isthmian Premier League after a hard-fought win over our landlords Corinthian-Casuals in the now-traditional(ish) August Bank Holiday derby.
A second-half Gus Sow penalty was enough to seal the points just 48 hours after our win over Hornchurch, extending our 100% record into a fourth match, making this our best start to a league season since 1938-39.
In truth it was a game of few chances, with Casuals preventing K's from playing the kind of free-flowing football they had displayed in previous matches. Daniel Ajakaiye and Juevan Spencer both drew saves from Daniel Bracken when through one-on-one in the first half, while Casuals had the ball in the net at the other end, only to be denied by the linesman's flag.
K's found something more like their rhythm in the second half, but it wasn't until the hour mark that they produced the decisive moment. A Casuals defender felled Ajakaiye as he surged through on goal, and the referee pointed to the spot.
Fresh from coolly lifting a penalty over Haringey keeper Jonathan Miles in our opening day victory two weeks earlier, Sow stepped up again.
This time, the midfielder nonchalantly dinked a Panenka over Bracken to give us the lead, much to the delight of the K's fans behind the goal, who were completely head over heels at the sight of Sow's moment of brilliance.
Suddenly, Casuals flew forward in search of a goal of their own, and there were more than a couple of uncomfortable moments for K's to endure
A powerful drive by Warren Mfula brought a reflex save from Tolfrey, as our hosts pushed hard for an equaliser with the clock ticking down. And it looked for all the world like Casuals would get it when a cross found the head of Nathaniel Pinney in the dying seconds, but the former K glanced just inches wide.
Speaking after the match, assistant manager Jamie Howell was just happy K's held on.
"It wasn't a vintage performance," said Howell. "I thought we played well [against Hornchurch] in lots of areas and I don't think we did that today. But a win's a win. We've got loads of things to improve on. We're not getting carried away by any stretch of the imagination, we're pleased to just get a win."
Corinthian-Casuals: Danny Bracken, Jack Tucker, Warren Morgan, Ola Williams, Jack Strange, Alfie Bendle, Elliot Bolton, Emmanuel Mensah, Warren Mfula, Bobby Mills, Ben Cheklit.
Subs: Nathaniel Pinney (for Alfie Bendle, 87m), Coskun Ekim, Ricardo Thompson (for Warren Morgan, 65m), Kieron Cadogan (for Bobby Mills, 78m), Andrew Mills.
Subs: Elliott Buchanan (for Daniel Ajakaiye, 73m), Jerry Puemo, Teo Kurtaran, Aaron Lamont (for Juevan Spencer, 67m), Simon Cooper (for Rhys Murrell-Williamson, 56m)
Goal scorer: Gus Sow (61m pen, 1-0)