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Tooting & Mitcham 1-4 Kingstonian

Kingstonian got their first win of the season under their belts at the fourth time of asking in a professional win at Tooting and Mitcham. In a game of few clear cut chances, the Ks took every opening going to win 4-1 in a game that was more even than the scoreline suggests. After a disappointing start to the season, Alan Dowson made a number of changes, as debutants Lynvall Duncan, Wilson Gondwe and Dewayne Clarke came in alongside Bashiru Alimi and Paul Olima who replaced Tom Hutchinson at the last minute who had been caught in the standstill that was the A3.

Both sides had confounded pre-season expectations up to this point as promotion hopefuls Kingston sat in the relegation zone whilst two 4-3 wins surprisingly saw The Terrors in the playoff places, and the early exchanges went to form as three times within the first 15 minutes the hosts went close. First, midfielder Hall found some space around the visitor's penalty area but his toe-poke was tipped round the post by a stretching Rob Tolfrey. Immediately after Newman's header flicked wide of Tolfrey's post before Hall once again went close as his free-kick curled the wrong side of the upright.

As Selley and Huckle began to impose themselves in the middle, Kingstonian grew into the game and it was from the midfield area that they took the lead. After 16 minutes Dewayne Clarke drifted into the middle of the pitch and his through ball caused enough hesitation between the Tooting defenders to allow Bobby Traynor time to lift the ball over the onrushing keeper and give his side a scant-deserved lead. The lead lasted only three minutes however as a loose-ball on the edge of the K's area gave Newman just enough of a gap to nonchalantly stroke the ball into Tolfrey's bottom left-hand corner and level the scores.

At this point a quiet opening had burst into life and the game turned again in the 22nd minute. Dewayne Clarke's cross from the right was simultaneously met the head of Bobby Traynor and the arm of defender Donaghey and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Despite a delay as Tooting pleaded in vain for the decision to be changed, Traynor stepped up and, in the manner all Kingstonian fans are accustomed to, slotted the ball home to restore his side's lead.

After an explosion of action the game settled back into a rhythm that saw both sides searching for an opportunity with neither midfield able to gain command in the central exchanges. Tooting and Mitcham were restricted to attempts from outside of the area from Hall and the magnificently named Freedom Pigott, both of which flashed with of the goal. The closest Kingstonian came to extending their lead was through good work by Paul Olima down the right, his initial pull-back in search of Traynor was blocked and Olima's goal-bound follow-up was deflected with. From the resulting corner Gary MacDonald could only nod wide from point-blank range ensuring the score remained 2-1 at half time.

A double change for the Ks to begin the second half saw the now-warmed-up Tom Hutchinson and Sam Clayton come on for Gondwe and Alimi and the first twenty minutes of the half saw more midfield skirmishes as both sides had plenty of possession around the penalty area without creating any clear-cut chances. In a game now dominated by central battles any chance of a goal on the break for Tooting was well marshalled by the visitor's defense, and the one time they were caught short on numbers a rash challenge from a tracking-back Tom Bird resulted in a booking. Finally Kingston created an opening mid-way through the half as Traynor laid it off to Olima but his shot from the edge of the area went wide.

Soon after Dowson shuffled his pack up front, as Allan Tait came on for Olima, his change paid immediate dividends in the 74th minute as Clarke's knock-down found Tait on the edge of the box whose sweetly-struck volley curled into the far corner leading to wild celebrations from fans and players to celebrate a stunning goal to end Tait's scoring drought.

The substitute's goal seemed to have made the result safe and the 3 points was made certain as Selley's 79th minute corner was met by a towering looping 15-yard header from Gary MacDonald that flew perfectly over both defenders and goalkeeper to give his side an unassailable 4-1 lead.

With a first win of the season secure Ks knocked the ball around with growing confidence for the remainder of the game and twice went close to extending their lead, initially as good link-up between Bird and Clarke down the left saw the full-back's 20 yard effort tipped wide by the host's keeper Lehkyj. The following the corner fell to Simon Huckle 30 yards out and his attempt at repeating his heroics from the Horsham game flew just over. Tooting went up the other end and missed one last chance at a late consolation fell on to the head of Jason Henry who could only aim his close range header wide with the final chance of the game.

After missing chances aplenty and conceding sloppy goals in their opening two home games it was pleasing to see Kingstonian not only take almost any chance that fell their way but also give their opponents very few sights of goal. In a game of tight midfield battles, superior finished proved the difference and Ks will hope it acts as a kick-start to the rest of the season.

Mon 29th Aug 2011
Imperial Fields
Isthmian League Premier
Tooting & Mitcham1
Traynor (2, 1 pen), Tait, MacDonald
1Rob Tolfrey
2Wilson Gondwe16
3Tom BirdCautioned
4Paul Olima15
5Gary MacDonald
6Ian Selley
7Lynvall Duncan
8Simon Huckle
9Bobby Traynor
10Dewayne Clarke
11Bashiru AlimiCautioned12
12Sam Clayton11
14Michael Gordon
15Allan Tait4
16Tom Hutchinson2
17Jake Whincup
Match Report By
Jamie Cutteridge