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Kingstonian 2-2 Wingate & Finchley

Sometimes you just know it isn't going to be your day, and from a 6th minute sitter, through to a last minute super-save, Ks were never going to win on Saturday. As it happened, Wingate and Finchley were on the end of a Kingston attacking performance that created chance after chance but failed to capitalise. That combined with a leaky defensive effort and some questionable refereeing ensured that spoils were shared, despite the home side dominating the final 20 minutes against 10 men.

Dowson's side started well with McCrae and Kinch lording it over the Wingate midfield. After six minutes, some neat Sam Clayton footwork created enough space for a back post cross which found Tom Hutchinson in acres, nay, miles of space. Unfortunately the ball left Hutch's head at a ninety degree angle which ensured it merely ballooned over the bar, the visitors made immediate dividends. Gary MacDonald was caught in possession on the edge of his own area, presenting Ahmet Rifat with a glorious chance, and with Rob Tolfrey reeling, his job of sidefooting the ball into the net was a simple one.

Despite the setback, K's dominance continued with Traynor twice going close, firstly his drive was chested off the line before a wonderful waist-high volley, 20-yard curled agonisingly onto the post and away. Ks profligacy was soon punished again. After a free-kick was given on the edge of the area, Tony Burke stepped up to smash the ball into the top corner and give his side a two-goal cushion.

Again Kingstonian pushed, a Hutchinson knock-down presented Traynor with a glorious opportunity which he could only poke wide before the referee took centre stage. The half had been littered with officiating oddities, causing frustration from both sides, but when Tom Bird appeared to be tripped while running into the area, the lack of penalty caused incredulity from the home side, management and supporters. The half-time whistle brought more criticism for a referee and a strange feeling amongst the home fans of being two down despite dominating the half.

As the second period began, K's pressure was relentless. Romone McCrae twice saw shots blocked and Kinch was millimetres away from making contact with a Clayton cross that would surely have resulted in a goal. Inevitably, it took something out of the blue, a moment of magic to bring the home side back into it. Sam Clayton picked up the ball 30 yards out, took a touch, and fired a left-footed piledriver into the top corner from 25 yards. It was in from the moment it left his foot, driven perfection and a route back into the game. The equaliser was soon to follow, and again Clayton was involved. His attempted dribble past the already booked Jordan Fowler saw him cynically tripped and a second yellow, and hence red, swiftly followed. 20 minutes to go, a goal down, but a whole heap of momentum. The leveller was instant. Bird's free-kick looked within the reach of goalkeeper Bobby Smith, but he could only palm it onto the post and into the net. A slice of luck, but no less than Kingstonian deserved.

Pressure mounted for the rest of the game, with no real openings, until once again, controversy reared its head. Clayton cut inside and appeared to be obviously tripped, referee Stuart Franklin looked to his assistant, but no signal was forthcoming, the ground was filled with that familiar feeling of shock, anger and injustice. Chances were still to come, MacDonald's volley flashed wide before the final chance fell to substitute Allan Tait. His back-post header appeared goalbound before Smith appeared from nowhere to fling himself across the line and tip the header around the post, it had been one of those days.

A draw from two behind is by no means a disaster, but Alan Dowson was left critical of both the finishing and defending his side produced in a game they dominated. Goals will come, wins will follow. Despite the disappointment at the end, it was a performance that created optimism and a game that reminded us just why football remains utterly compelling, remarkably unpredictable and gloriously life-affirming. Even when you know you're never going to win.

Sat 29th Oct 2011
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Isthmian League Premier
Clayton, Bird
Wingate & Finchley2
1Rob Tolfrey
2Chris Page
3Neil Jenkins
4Gary MacDonaldCautioned
5Tom HutchinsonCautioned
6Scott Kinch
7Sam Clayton
8Romone McCraeCautioned
9Bobby Traynor
10Ali Chaaban15
11Tom Bird
12Lynvall Duncan
14Ian Selley
15Allan Tait10
16Ian Gayle
17Jake Whincup
Match Report By
Jamie Cutteridge