Late Winner Downs Blues
Below par Blues lost their unbeaten start to the season against close rivals Kingstonian writes The Mariner.
KINGSTONIAN 2-1 GRAYS ATHLETIC
After taking an early lead Blues succumbed to a late winner from ace marksman Andre McCollin at Kingsmeadow in a game marred by numerous bookings from an overzealous official culminating in a red card for fans favourite Joao Carlos.
Kingstonian playing with a strong wind at their backs enjoyed a good deal of possession in the early stages,pinning Grays back without creating any clear cut chances.
Against the run of play Blues found themselves in front after 9 minutes.A cross from Jay Siva found Sean Cronin he played the ball back to Roman Michael-Percil, picking up the ball wide on the edge of the box he cut inside and fired a low drive past Tolfrey into the bottom corner.
Kingstonian were back on level terms shortly after, a deep cross found Bennet who’s first time effort deflected for a corner.Blues debutant keeper Tom Hadland did well to push the resultant kick behind for another corner but he was not so lucky when the next kick from Wells held up in the wind deceiving the youngster and sailing straight in on 17 minutes.
Blues looked tentative at this stage as Kingstonian began to enjoy the lions share of possession winning the crucial tackles where it mattered when Blues did get forward they squandered possession,in a rare break Percil used his pace out wide sending in a low cross which DD Dumaka side footed into Tolfrey’s hands.
Blues then enjoyed their own share of the play,Corey Davidson outstripped his marker but fired straight at Tolfrey,then a quick Kingstonian break saw Hudson screw his shot wide of the post and then Hadland came to Blues rescue making a last ditch block to deny Gomez.
Grays started the half brightly an early corner and a good delivery from Siva was not attacked by the Blues forwards allowing Kingstonian to clear the danger.
Kingstonian could have gone in front moments later Nicky Symons gave the ball away needlessly allowing McCollin a run on goal fortunately Cronin saved his teammates blushes managing to clear the danger.
Blues early pressure did not last with the K’s enjoying a good deal of possession although Blues were not helped by the Referee
making a number of puzzling decisions disrupting the flow of the game.
Percil lifted the Blues travelling fans with an electrifying run taking him into the K’s box but he failed to get a shot on goal and the danger was cleared.
Play was beginning to get stretched as both sides looked for a winner,Hadland made a smart save from a Kingstonian free kick and then Odametey looked odds on to score following a quick break firing just wide.
Dumaka did well to control the ball under pressure quickly feeding Percil who’s first time effort was saved comfortably by Tolfrey.Blues only threatened spasmodically as they failed to take advantage of the strong win although Carlos and Percil were causing problems on the flanks when they did see the ball.Carlos was engaged in a war of attrition with his fullback Goode both finding their names in the Ref’s notebook.In another tussle Carlos and Goode clashed both falling to the floor in a tangle of legs which the Referee interpreted as a deliberate kick by Carlos showing him a red card.
To add insult to injury shortly after the incident Kingstonian notched the winner.In the 84th minute the ball was played through the Blues midfield into the path of McCollin who gave the exposed Hadland no chance.
A late rally from Grays saw them put the home goal under pressure,Percil came close firing just over but it was to be their last chance of the game with the final whistle signalling their first defeat of 2016.
On the balance of play Blues probably deserved a draw but they need to be more clinical in front of goal if they are to maintain a challenge for the play offs.