Wingate and Finchley report
match report by Simon Grier
All good things must come to an end and Kingstonian came up short in trying to equal their best start to a league campaign since 1936, by going down 3-1 at Wingate and Finchley.
Central to the defeat was Wingate centre-half Daniel Pappoe, who dominated the defence and always seemed to be in the right place to block Ks’ shots or clear their crosses.
Ks fans will remember him as a crucial part of Alan Dowson’s team that finished second in 2013/14. That his career has merely taken him to Carshalton and Wingate via brief spells in Germany, Romania and The Maldives will amaze those who were convinced he was destined for a long Football League career based on his Ks performances.
Ks made the brighter start to the game but failed to break through. Goalkeeper Fergal Hale-Brown kept out two early efforts from Jason Banton while Kershaney Samuels fired wide and Ollie Cook headed over.
But it was The Blues who struck first, with Bilal Sayoud firing a fine low free kick inside Rob Tolfrey’s post on 22 minutes.
Ks struggled to get back into the game; Rhys Murrell-Williamson looked the most dangerous cutting in from the right but one effort was easy for Hale-Brown while another flew well over the bar.
Shortly before half time it was 2-0. Simon Cooper brought down Ta’shae Andell-Gibbons, with Sam Hatton stepping up to send Tolfrey the wrong way from the spot.
Ks made an encouraging start after the interval but too often their crosses were either weak, or didn’t have enough players waiting to meet them.
Substitute Elliot Buchanan produced a good save from Hale-Brown after a Kenny Beaney cross and Banton clipped the post with a free kick. But the breakthrough didn’t come until 72 minutes, when Loic Hernandez brought Murrell-Williamson down in the box and Gus Sow expertly picked out the top corner with his penalty.
In the meantime, Tolfrey had done brilliantly to keep Ks in the game by saving from Alphanso Kennedy after good work from Ibrahim Meite.
But despite a lot of possession in the Wingate half Ks failed to fashion a clear-cut chance to equalize, with the hosts eventually sealing the points on the counter-attack when Sayoud converted a low cross.
Tempers boiled over in injury time with Meite sent off for his part in a melee that also saw Jerry Puemo and Liam Smyth booked but by then the result was well beyond doubt. Ks remain top of the league but have now suffered their first real disappointment of the season.
Wingate and Finchley: Fergal Hale-Brown, Matthew Achuba, Loic Hernandez, Jordan Gibbons, Alieu Njie, Daniel Pappoe, Darnell Goather-Braithwaite, Ta’share Andall-Gibbons, Ibrahim Meite, Bilal Sayoud, Alphanso Kennedy.
Subs: J’Ardell Stirling (for Jordan Gibbons, 79m), Dominic Said, Liam Smyth (for Bilal Sayoud, 90m), Jabir Laraba, Sam Hatton (for Matthew Achuba, 17m).
Kingstonian: Rob Tolfrey, Juevan Spencer, Bryant Akono Bilongo, Simon Cooper, Ollie Cook, Kenny Beaney, Kershaney Samuels, Gus Sow, Daniel Ajakaiye, Jason Banton, Rhys Murrell-Williamson.
Subs: Aaron Lamont (for Kenny Beaney, 76m), Elliott Buchanan (for Kershaney Samuels, HT), Jerry Puemo (for Juevan Spencer, HT), Declan Skura, Teo Kurtaran.
Red Card: Ibrahim Meite (90m, stramash)
Goal scorers: Bilal Sayoud (22m, 1-0), Sam Hatton (45m pen, 2-0), Gus Sow (71m pen, 2-1), Bilal Sayoud (90m, 3-1)