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Kingstonian 3-4 Horsham

Kingstonian lost their opening home league game of the season to Horsham on Monday night in a pulsating match at Kingsmeadow. Horsham emerged as 4-3 winners with a dramatic 92nd minute winner from Tony Nwachukwu, thereby completing a very accomplished hat-trick.

Horsham started the match slightly the brighter before Kingstonian got into their stride with a slick move in the sixth minute. Good interplay between Tolfrey, Gordon and Tait left Maledon with a clear sight of goal but he scuffed his shot from close range when he looked sure to score and the ball was cleared off the line. This chance marked the start of a period of 20 minutes dominance for Kingstonian as they created chance after chance.

During this spell however they squandered two great opportunities. First, Selley found Tait in the area with a brilliant cross field pass and but although his first touch was assured he then proceeded to mis-kick with his left foot with the goal at his mercy. Five minutes later Maledon was played through for a one on one with the keeper but finished weakly.

Kingstonian were left to rue their profligacy as they fell behind in the 28th minute to a goal of the highest quality. Nwachukwu received the ball wide on the left and as Hamlin was slow to close him down he cut inside and rifled a right foot shot into the top corner. Six minutes later Horsham doubled their lead. As Hamlin looked set to snuff out the danger from a through ball down the left, Nwachukwu showed great pace and surprising strength in his slight frame to reach and hold the ball up on the edge of the area. Hamlin then rashly dived in for a tackle which he missed leaving Nwachukwu free to finish calmly past the exposed Tolfrey.

Three minutes later Tom Hutchinson managed to claw a goal back as he headed over the keeper from a long range MacDonald throw. Hutchinson had clearly whetted his appetite for more goals as he reached a long Tolfrey clearance a fraction before Horsham's keeper, Armstrong-Ford, and was brought down just outside the area. The referee adjudged this to be only worthy of a booking presumably on the basis that he felt there were covering defenders.

Selley's subsequent free kick clipped the wall and went behind for a corner from which Hutchinson proceeded to head narrowly wide.

Just as Kingstonian conceded their first goal when seemingly well on top, they proceeded to do so again in the fourth minute of added time at the end of the first half. Danny Morris sprang the offside trap and raced down the left and as Hutchinson looked to have crowded him out he got his shot off which seemed to go through Tolfrey, who was perhaps unsighted. Manager Alan Dowson left the pitch with a face like thunder with his side 3-1 down at half time.

Kingstonian started the second half fast, with Jack MacLeod (who came on as a first half sub for the injured Chris Page) causing trouble down the right wing, drawing a good save from Armstrong-Ford with a fierce shot from a narrow angle. Dowson did not wait much longer before withdrawing Allan Tait in the 59th minute and replacing him with Paul Olima.

As if they hadn't learnt from their experiences in the first half, Horsham quickly reminded Kingstonian of their potent counter attacking threat.

Nwachukwu was played clean through and although Tolfrey did well to push him wide he still managed to clip the ball over the keeper only to see the ball come back off the cross bar, narrowly avoiding Morris who was following up.

Dowson now played his final card by replacing Maledon with Simon Huckle in the 67th minute. Kingstonian soon began to look like a much better balanced side as Traynor came more into the game feeding off the muscular support of Olima. Bird also looked much more comfortable at left back where he generally handled the lively Nwachukwu much better than Hamlin had in the first half.

As the match moved into final quarter it was all Kingstonian. Selley looked to have pulled one back as his exquisite 20 yard free kick was heading for the top corner before Armstrong-Ford used all of his considerable height to tip it over. Three minutes later though Hutchinson won yet another header from a corner which he buried powerfully from 10 yards.

Kingstonian managed to pull themselves level in the eightieth minute with a top class goal from Simon Huckle. Never one to let an injury get in his way he was by now sporting a large bandage around his chin and neck from an earlier nasty blood injury. However this didn't seem to affect him as he struck a first time shot from 30 yards which curled over the keeper and into the top corner.

Kingstonian continued to pile on the pressure in search of a winning goal. One minute into stoppage time Traynor saw his shot pass inches wide of the far post. Unbowed, Horsham went straight back up the other end and exploited the defensive gaps left as Kingstonian pressed forward. A through ball hit Hutchinson and fell kindly for Nwachukwu, who capped off an outstanding individual performance by calmly slotting home to complete his hat trick.

Incredibly Kingstonian still had time to create two great chances, as first Olima headed narrowly over from close range before Traynor flashed a header just wide from a MacLeod cross. At this point the referee finally blew his whistle after five minutes of time added on.

It might seem unlikely to argue Kingstonian were the better side having conceded four goals, and palpably failing to handle Horsham's counter attacking style, but they did dominate for long periods of the game and created numerous chances - 22 in total of which 12 were on target. The story of the match though is in the 7 attempts Horsham created, 6 of which were on target, scoring 4 goals and providing the outstanding performance of the match courtesy of Nwachukwu.

Mon 22nd Aug 2011
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Isthmian League Premier
Hutchinson (2), Huckle
1Rob Tolfrey
2Dean Hamlin
3Chris Page15
4Tom Hutchinson
5Gary MacDonald
6Ian Selley
7Michael Gordon
8Allan Tait14
9Bobby Traynor
10Jerome Maledon16
11Tom Bird
12Sam Clayton
14Paul OlimaCautioned8
15Jack MacLeod3
16Simon Huckle10
17Jake Whincup
Match Report By
Peter Allan