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Kingstonian 1-3 Bognor Regis Town

The enigma of Kingstonian's home record being so much worse than their away record continued over the Christmas period, as the hard work of an impressive win away to Tooting was immediately undone with a 3-1 home defeat to the league's bottom side Bognor Regis Town.

Ks finding wins easier to come by away from home has been going on for some time, even before the reign of Alan Dowson begun, yet is becoming no easier for anyone to explain. Ks easily beat the Rocks 4-1 in the FA Cup earlier in the season - away, of course - yet at Kingsmeadow Bognor comfortably outplayed their hosts.

The Ks coaching staff and supporters both laid heavy doses of blame on the referee. Some of the complaints had merit, yet this could not disguise that the better team won. Ks' performance was flat, with insufficient chances created and more slack defending, while the Sussex team looked a different outfit from that which was blown away so easily back in September.

It took the Rocks just seven minutes to take the lead. After some neat passing within the Ks half, Richard Hudson's cross from deep found the head of Jason Prior, who angled the ball into the bottom corner of Rob Tolfrey's net.

Only Dartford have scored more league goals than Ks though, and such setbacks should not necessarily be insurmountable for them. Indeed, they were quickly back on level terms. Andrej Pernecky made an excellent save from a Simon Huckle header, but six minutes later could only manage a weak, single-handed punch clear from a corner. Huckle volleyed from the edge of the box and after deflections off both Bobby Traynor and a defender, the scores were level.

Bobby Traynor scores the equaliser...
Photo: Terry Buckman

...and celebrates
Photo: Simon Roe

Unlike Boxing Day though, this quick equaliser would not be the start of a Ks charge to victory. Daniel Bogarde, Prior and Traynor missed chances before the Rocks went ahead once again on the half hour mark.

Max Hustwick has had a fine season for Ks, yet regularly leaves supporters with hearts in mouths due to overplaying the ball in defence. This time he was caught out dithering on the edge of his own box, and then compounded the error by bringing down Mickey Demetriou in the corner of the penalty box.

Rob Tolfrey saved Michael Birmingham's spot kick but a retake was ordered after the referee's assistant deemed that the goalkeeper had come off his line illegally. Video evidence later showed that this decision was harsh and Tolfrey was livid at the decision, earning a yellow card for an angry tirade at the officials.

Rob Tolfrey saves the original penalty...
Photo: Terry Buckman

...but to no avail
Photo: Simon Roe

Birmingham put the retake in the same place but this time the goalkeeper could only get a hand to it, deflecting it into the roof of the net.

Ks directed further ire at the officials after they had an equalising strike by Bashiru Alimi chalked off for a foul after Traynor followed through and kicked Demetriou as he had a shot blocked. The last chance of the half fell to Dan Beck, whose angled effort was saved by Tolfrey, before the referee blew the half-time whistle before enduring a further volley of criticism from the Ks coaching staff.

In the second half Ks appeared to be in panic mode almost from the start, hitting too many long balls and struggling to create clear chances. Bognor were solid while Dean Lodge, the star of the show against Tooting, looked short of fitness and was eventually replaced having had an ineffectual game.

Adam Thompson cleared a Birmingham effort off the line after a poor punch by Tolfrey but when he pushed forward later on as Ks chased the game, it proved critical. With the centre back out of position, Prior was played in on goal with far too much time and dinked the ball impressively over Tolfrey to wrap the game up for Bognor.

Jason Prior scores the third goal
Photo: Terry Buckman

Ks never looked like coming back from two down, although their frustration with the referee was further amplified when he gave a free kick rather than a penalty for a trip on Traynor just outside the box.

Bobby Traynor is tripped right on the edge of the box
Photo: Simon Roe

Pernecky did well to save the resulting set piece, fired low and hard but towards the centre of the goal.

Andrej Pernecky saves the free kick...
Photo: Simon Roe

...before a goalmouth scramble
Photo: Simon Roe

Soon after the final whistle blew, leaving Ks to contemplate a missed opportunity to go second in the league.

Mon 28th Dec 2009
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Isthmian League Premier
Bognor Regis Town3
1Rob TolfreyCautioned
2Bashiru Alimi
3Adam Thompson
4Max Hustwick16
5Francis Duku
6Simon Huckle
7Matt Gray
8Mo Harkin12
9Bobby Traynor
10Carl Wilson-Denis
11Dean Lodge15
12Lewis Cook8
14John Fletcher
15Christian Jolley11
16Lee Hall4
17Adrian Blake
Match Report By
Simon Grier