Log in or Register
Kingstonian 4
Noguera Leon (33'), Gould (75', 95'), Haigh (87')
3 East Grinstead Town
Kanga (26'), Lawrence (46', 93')

K's strike very late to win thriller.

Even before the tumultuous ending to the game, this Isthmian Youth League Central Division game between Kingstonian and East Grinstead Town was frantic, sometimes fractious, always fun to watch. The finish to the game elevated it to bat guano crazy.

The game began relatively slowly, Kingstonian enjoyed more possession without actually creating too many chances, but then there seemed to be an increase in confidence for the East Grinstead team, and after twenty minutes the match began to take what became its normal shape of one massive arm wrestle with the Wasps constantly knocking the K's out of their comfort zone. Indeed, it was East Grinstead Town that took the lead in the 26th minute. After a few minutes of pressure from the Wasps, it looked as if the K's might ride this wave but ultimately went behind when they conceded directly from a corner, a beautifully placed shot by Nathan Kanga that ended up in the top far corner.

K's were behind for just seven minutes, in the 33rd minute the ball was fed through to Rocco Ilhan on the edge of the penalty area. Under severe pressure from a defender, Rocco battled hard to hold him off, he squared the ball to Iker Noguera who blasted the ball into the back of the net. The game became ever more frantic with tackles flying in from unusual angles, a decent number of tempers being lost, lots of feathers looking ruffled on the South Park ground's artificial surface.

Kingstonian would want a fast start to the second half in order to settle themselves down and get back to business. That didn't exactly happen...

Fifty-five seconds was all it took for East Grinstead to re-take the lead - K's had several unsuccessful attempts to clear the danger as a small army of Wasps flew forward, with the end result seeing the East Grinstead number 10 D'Armando Lawrence who made no mistake with a clinical strike from the edge of the area.

The next half hour of the game saw the K's try to get back on level terms, but East Grinstead refused to back down and made it nearly impossible for the K's to play in the their normal style, the K's got ever more frustrated, East Grinstead ever more confident, this was becoming a very difficult game indeed.

With fifteen minutes to go, K's did reach parity for the second time - they won a free kick about thirty yards out, it was ballooned into the area by Freddie Bailey and it looked like it was hit too hard. It certainly wasn't, as it evaded the Wasps' goalkeeper and slammed against the top of the bar. The ball bounced high in the air back into play, the only player to react was K's man Lewis Gould and he headed home into an empty net.

With three minutes to go, Kingstonian took the lead for the first time - K's seized possession inside the East Grinstead half, Marco Haigh played a lovely through ball to an unmarked Lewis Gould. He advanced on goal, forced the Wasps' goalkeeper into a good save from close range, but the ball rebounded nicely back to Marco Haigh, who took his time, picked his spot and scored the goal. Surely now K's had done the business and won the game? Not so fast.

East Grinstead never gave up for a second on this game, and in the third minute of added time they were awarded a free kick from thirty yards out. The number 10 D'Armando Lawrence, who had scored his team's second goal and looked threatening all evening, wound himself up and launched himself at the ball and what followed was not so much a worldie as an interplanetary shot that flew so fast and true that K's keeper Connor Wolfheimer could only stand and watch it fly into the net. In fact, two goalkeepers probably wouldn't have got to this.

So, a point apiece, a dramatic ending, K's weren't at their best and in the end gaining a draw from this difficult game wouldn't be so bad. Oh hang on, the game hasn't finished yet...

Minute number 95, waiting for the referee to blow his whistle to end the game. Kingstonian have possession inside the East Grinstead Town half and would give it one more go. Freddie Bailey, architect of the second goal twenty minutes earlier, launched another wonderful long ball to the edge of the area. It picked out Lewis Gould, who controlled the ball, steadied himself and rifled the ball into the back of the net. Unbelievably, Kingstonian led 4-3.

Soon after the referee blew to end the game, the defibrilator that proudly sits on the front wall of the clubhouse somehow (and thankfully) didn't have to come into use. A frankly bonkers game ended,,,bonkersly? Time for a lie down in a dark corner.

Published Tuesday 21st February 2023 (last updated Wednesday 22nd February 2023)