Kingstonian win 5-3 on penalties
Worthing FA Youth Cup match report
When the draw was made for the First Qualifying Round of the FA Youth Cup, it could be argued that home against Worthing may have been the second worst draw Kingstonian could have got. The worst would have been away against Worthing. If this were a computer game, this would be a boss battle.
In the event, this was a boss vs boss battle as two outstanding teams fought each other practically to a standstill before the referee blew the final whistle and invited the managers to nominate their penalty takers to decide what was a superb ninety minutes of football.
Both teams went into the game with a 100% record - in their three games this season Worthing had put nine past Billingshurst, eight past Carshalton Athletic and ten past Burgess Hill Town, and they began this game, played at Molesey FC, as if they wanted to keep up with the average. In the sixth minute, Worthing won a free kick on the edge of the D, which was taken by Bradley Dolaghan. His shot hit the wall, K's weren't successful in completely clearing the ball away as the ball fell nicely to Bradley Chadwick just outside the penalty area, and the Worthing captain scored with a fine shot.
This was the first time that Kingstonian have trailed in a game this season, but any fears that this early setback would be doom-bringing were dispelled immediately when. almost from the re-start, Quincy Patterson forced Worthing keeper William Tillman into an excellent save.
The longer the game went on, the more Kingstonian grew into the game and they began to compete in midfield and cause problems of their own in the opposition penalty area. Both Tillman and K's goalkeeper Joshua Lohmeier were busy making a string of saves to keep their opponents out, but there was nothing the Worthing keeper could do in the 33rd minute when Kingstonian got a deserved equaliser when Patterson stole possession from a defender inside the penalty area, slipped Deniz Ozer in, and the K's number eleven was good enough to slide the ball home from close range.
The biggest surprise of the rest of the first half was that neither side added to their tally, though Worthing did come close when a rocket of a shot from Ollie Starkey was somehow parried away by on-form K's goalkeeper.
The second half saw more of the same as both teams battered each other, sometimes literally, the referee's yellow card made several appearances with a number of players on both sides wobbling on that infamous yellow card tightrope.
Twenty minutes left and Kingstonian took the lead. Blake Mitchell, on as a second half substitute and was a constant and lively nuisance, received the ball on the edge of the area. Under pressure, he fired a shot at an acute angle at goalkeeper Tillman, who made another fine stop, but the ball rebounded to Marco Haigh, who carefully curled the ball between two defenders and suddenly K's had the lead.
The way the Kingstonian defence had been playing, it would take something special or a mistake to get Worthing back into the contest - four minutes after going behind, the Mackerel Men produced something special. Since conceding the goal, Worthing put the K's defence under a prolonged period of pressure without any joy, but then Freddie Chester threaded a low pass into the area, Ollie Starkey ran from deep to avoid being offside and finished like a flash. A brilliant equaliser.
The odds of K's going through decreased even further in the 76th minute when debut defender Junior Mboglem ended an otherwise fine first game for Kingstonian having received a second yellow card for a foul on a Worthing forward, an unfortunate end but the referee had little choice. Surely now Worthing would go on to win?
Not so fast. K's adapted to going down to ten men and were just as likely to score a winner as their visitors as both teams sought to avoid the rapidly approaching penalty shoot-out (mea culpa: this writer thought that there would be extra time and then penalties if necessary - I do wish the football authorities would make up their minds and have a bit of consistency...). But penalties it would be.
Kingstonian went first for the penalty shoot-out - Deniz Ozer scored, then Bradley Dolaghan equalised. Blake Mitchell blasted his home before Ben Cheverton's spot kick was superbly saved by Joshua Lohmeier. Freddie Bailey sent the Worthing keeper the wrong way, Rocco Gamblin sent the Kingstonian keeper the wrong way, Rivah Bailey sent the Worthing keeper the wrong way. Now the shoot-out was effectively going into sudden-death mode - Freddie Chester's penalty was struck well into the bottom right, Lohmeier got a hand to it but couldn't get enough to turn the ball away, Worthing were still in it. Kingstonian's final penalty taker was Iker Noguera Leon, and with what appeared to be no nerves whatsoever, confidently sent Worthing keeper Tillman the wrong way and, after an absolutely titanic struggle, Kingstonian were into the Second Qualifying Round.
Kingstonian: Joshua Lohmeier, Omari Osborne, Rivah Bailey, Freddie Robins, Alex Andreou, Junior Mboglem, Iker Noguera Leon, Freddie Bailey, Quincy Patterson, Marco Haigh, Deniz Ozer.
Subs: Blake Mitchell (for Quincy Patterson, 61m), Joel Wilkinson, Minkyu Ji (for Freddie Robins, 86m), Joseph Apemi (for Marco Haigh, 79m), Fourat Jomaa, Zac Jervis, Connor Wolfheimer.
Worthing: William Tillman, Samuel Southgate, Rocco Gamblin, Freddie Chester, Ben Cheverton, Harry Merritt-Blann, Ollie Starkey, Lewis Thorn, Bradley Dolaghan, Finlay Chadwick, Luca Allen.
Subs: Ezra Roeg (for Lewis Thorn, HT), Lucas Munn, Edgaras Kazlauskas (for Ezra Roeg, 52m), Billy Dove, Liam Holden.
Goal scorers: Finlay Chadwick (6m, 0-1), Deniz Ozer (33m, 1-1), Marco Haigh (70m, 2-1), Ollie Starkey (74m, 2-2)
Penalty shoot-out: Deniz Ozer scored (1-0), Bradley Dolaghan scored (1-1), Blake Mitchell scored (2-1), Ben Cheverton saved, Freddie Bailey scored (3-1), Rocco Gamblin scored (3-2), Rivah Bailey scored (4-2), Freddie Chester scored (4-3), Iker Noguera Leon (5-3)