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Kingstonian 2
Wanadio (42'), Sweeney (62')
3 Whitehawk
El-abd (35'), Malcolm (76', 77')

Lights finally go out at Kingsmeadow

Kingstonian lost by the odd goal in five against fee scoring league leaders Whitehawk today in an entertaining game at Kingsmeadow.

In a game they really needed to win to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, this could have been the moment when the lights finally went out on Kingstonian's season.

On a day that almost felt like spring had finally arrived, both sides contributed to a free flowing game, albeit on a hard and bouncy surface, which was well refereed by Wes Linden.

Whitehawk centre half el-Abd served early notice of intent as he headed over in the eleventh minute, as Whitehawk generally started the better. However, as the half hour approached Kingstonian created two good chances as first McCollin went close and then Murphy controlled a long Wanadio ball, rounded the keeper but was denied by a last ditch tackle.

It was Whitehawk though who proceeded to take the lead. Keehan headed the ball back across the goal from a corner leaving el-Abd with the simplest of headed finishes from one yard. If the concession of the goal was somewhat tame, the equaliser five minutes later, was inspired. Wanadio, demonstrating pace and skill down the left, cut inside and shot across the goalkeeper and into the far corner.

After a quiet start to the second half, the game erupted into life in the fifty eighth minute. A clever cross field pass from Okai found Dan Sweeney bursting through from midfield. He then summarily despatched a right foot 25 yard rocket into the top corner, leaving keeper Winterton rooted to the ground.

The lead lasted 10 minutes as Whitehawk again scored from a corner, following a great shot from substitute right back Rossi-Blanco and top class save from Tolfrey. For the second time in the game Keehan had a free header from a corner and this time scored for himself from close range.

As the match ebbed and flowed, Whitehawk took the lead for the second time in the game. A weak Matt Somner header fell into the path of Mike Malcolm who raced through before skilfully chipping the ball over Tolfrey.

Both sides enjoyed great chances in the dying minutes with Winterton saving well from a Murphy volley and Tolfrey producing an even better save to deny Gargan. As the clock ticked down to the final few seconds Pattison looked set to score as he raced into the area but Whitehawk skipper Lawrence, not for the first time in the game, produced a brilliantly timed last ditch tackle.

There was evidence of continued improvement for Kingstonian with good performances from Wanadio, Sweeney and Murphy in particular. Okai continued to impress as the 17 year old showed enough pace, skill and strength to worry and hugely experienced Whitehawk centre half pairing of el-Abd and Lawrence. In the end it was an exquisite finish from Williams that proved to be the difference between the two sides.

Report: Peter Allan

Published Wednesday 12th September 2018