South Park Under 18s report
Nobody liked each other very much in this match - Kingstonian didn't like South Park, South Park didn't like Kingstonian, neither team liked the men in black and that feeling was reciprocated in a match that at times was so chippy that you could have sold some battered fish fillets to go with the chips.
The match started with a lively tempo and both teams looking to attack as quickly as possible. South Park nearly took advantage of a defensive miscommunication when they were awarded an indirect free-kick for a pass back in the opening minute but K's were able to scramble clear. Down the other end, Junior Mboglem got on the end of a cross that evaded the Sparks' keeper but was cleared off the line by a defender.
Kingstonian took the lead in the 23rd minute with a trademark individual goal from Iker Noguera Leon, who was fed possession with a long through ball and then he went on one of his renowned runs that took him past several defenders, into the penalty area and had the room to slide the ball home.
K's then arguably should have put the game away as a contest with a series of chances that weren't actually missed but five or six tremendous saves from South Park goalkeeper Kamil Oke from a succession of opportunities kept the score down to one. Once South Park rode that wave, they got to work and the game turned into a battle royale of a contest in which K's were quite unconfortable for long periods.
In the 37th minute, K's gave away a soft free kick which the "visitors" (this was a game of tenants vs landlords at South Park's Whitehall Lane ground) took full advantage of - the ball was launched high into the air, K's keeper Jamie Wright had his opportunity to catch, the defenders then had opportunities to clear, took precisely none of them and the South Park forward on hand to blast home from close range. A deserved equaliser for South Park, just reward for that fabulous spell of goalkeeping down the other end.
Half time came to some relief for Kingstonian, and whatever was said at half time worked well as they started the second stanza on the front foot in search of a second goal, which they deservedly got in the 56th minute. Marco Haigh burst through from midfield, slid a fine ball wide to Omari Osborne, who crossed first time from the right wing. The ball fell to Deniz Ozer, who took his time and gave his team the lead with a calm strike.
The game was always one for physical challenges, frequently late, lots of moaning towards a referee who seemed to not cope too well with the pressure exerted on him as his decision-making became ever more baffling and inconsistent, adding to an on-field atmosphere that frequently felt to be bad-tempered at best.
South Park equalised in the 73rd minute from the penalty spot - truth be told this writer was way too far away to tell if the referee was correct or not, he was far closer to the action and to be fair the Kingston players didn't complain too much at the decision. The fact was that again Kingstonian were guilty of giving away a soft free kick close to the penalty area and were again guilty of not coping at all when the ball was flighted into the box - the away side put away the penalty and once again they deserved to be on level terms.
The game continued to be a tense affair as both teams tried to win the game, but it did seem that the game would end in a 2-2 draw until on the stroke of full time Kingstonian were awarded a free kick in a dangerous area. Iker Noguera Leon stepped up to shoot at goal, he was on target, the South Park goalkeeper saved but could only parry the ball to Deniz Ozer, who hit the back of the net with his first timer. There was still time for a loud shout for a penalty for South Park being turned aside by the referee before the final whistle went.
K's can be happy with the result, but not so happy with the performance, they were disorganised and chaotic at times during the game and let the refereeing inconsistency get to them more than it got to their opponents. Having said that, they can be commended for continuing to put in the hard graft and pushing for a goal all the way into second half injury time and for that alone got a nice reward.
Next up is a home game on Wednesday night against Ashford Town (Middlesex) in the Combined Counties League at Alwyns Lane, Chertsey Town FC, before a return to South Park next Monday and another Isthmian Youth League game, this time against Aldershot Town. Both games kick-off at 7.45pm