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Kingstonian 2
Clunis (8'), Saraiva (39')
0 Hornchurch
Fabio Saraiva's outrageous free kick leaves Hornchurch keeper Noah Phillips flailing.

Are K's Good? We Might Be.

match report by Jamie Cutteridge

Around this time of year, there’s a question whispered around a select group of non-league clubs. As fans check their teams results on their way back from holiday, without the luxury of streams and TV coverage (KTV COMING TO A YOUTUBE SCREEN NEAR YOU SOON!), a query fills the forums and whatsapp groups of teams who have made a positive start: “Are we… good?”

Kingstonian’s 2-0 win over Hornchurch was an “are we… good?” kind of game. After a scrappy win over Haringey, the previous week’s 5-2 victory at Bishop’s Stortford prompted plenty of questions and excitement from those who hadn’t travelled round the M25 to Hertfordshire. And, lets face it after two games, you can’t answer that question with any level of confidence. But if ever there was a game to flesh out one’s response, it was the visit of unlikely lockdown FA Trophy winners, and perennial thorn in Ks’ side, Hornchurch.

It didn’t take long for the question to be repeated among the attendees. Rhys Murrell-Williamson had already stung the palms of Noah Phillips in the Urchins’ goal before Nyren Clunis put Ks ahead after 8 minutes. It was RMW’s brilliantly whipped cross that caused problems for the Essex side, and while Phillips was able to get two hands to Daniel Ajakaiye’s header, he couldn’t prevent Clunis from sweeping the rebound home from a tight angle to give Ks the lead.

Minutes later Ks could have doubled their lead; Jason Banton was the dangerman, but his curled effort was palmed around the post by Palmer as the pulsating period of play was prolonged. Eventually, the Trophy-holders hit their stride as Rob Tolfrey had to react quickly to smother a chance for Liam Nash before Chris Dickson blazed over from close range. Dickson’s frustration only grew after he had goals disallowed for offside twice in quick succession.

An entertaining half continued as Phillips produced a marvellous stop, reacting brilliantly to get a hand to Murrell-Williamson’s low effort, however he was beaten minutes later by a grander moment of magic. Juevan Spencer spent the whole game bursting forward with purpose, but on this occasion he was felled by a pair of Hornchurch defenders 30 yards from goal. It looked too far out for a shot. But it wasn’t. Fabio Saraiva deputised brilliantly in midfield for the injured Kenny Beaney  all afternoon and produced an absolute worldie of a free kick, curling the ball into the top corner past Phillip’s despairing dive to send Ks into half time with a two goal lead.

If the first half was all action, the second was a more sedate affair. Kingstonian started well, with Banton coming closest to extending the lead, but his 20-yard effort clipped the bar on its way over. Beyond that, it was a half of few chances. Gus Sow was everywhere. Ollie Cook continued to brilliantly marshal the defence which is looking less makeshift by the week. The front four scurried around the final third with purpose. Elliot Buchanan came on and held the ball up well. The two-goal win was seen out with a minimal amount of fuss. And so as fans wondered back to cars, buses and trains, the question was whispered again, perhaps with a growing sense of confidence. Are Ks… good? Maybe, we just might be.

Kingstonian: Rob Tolfrey, Juevan Spencer, Bryant Akono Bilongo, Jerry Puemo, Ollie Cook, Fabio Saraiva, Nyren Clunis, Gus Sow, Daniel Ajakaiye, Jason Banton, Rhys Murrell-Williamson.

Subs: Elliott Buchanan (for Jason Banton, 84m), Declan Skura (for Jerry Puemo, 80m), Teo Kurtaran, Aaron Lamont (for Rhys Murrell-Williamson, 80m), Mason Whitnell.

Hornchurch: Noah Phillips, Mickey Parcell, Remi Sutton, Jordan Clark, Rickie Hayles, Ollie Muldoon, Joe Christou, Lewwis Spence, Liam Nash, Charlie Ruff, Chris Dickson.

Subs: Sam Higgins (for Chris Dickson, 61m), Charlie Stimson (for Lewwis Spence, 71m), Ellis Brown (for Charlie Ruff, 61m), Ronnie Winn, Harry Gibbs.

Goal scorers: Nyren Clunis (8m, 1-0), Fabio Saraiva (39m, 2-0)

Attendance: 307

photos by Simon Roe (https://simonroephotography.photoshelter.com/

Published Sunday 29th August 2021