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Kingstonian 4
Hudson (56', 60'), McCollin (83'), Bennett (90')
2 Needham Market
Davies (13'), Ingram (55')

K’s Turn a Two Goal Deficit Into a Two Goal Victory

Home. There’s no place quite like home. After five successive road trips, some as near as Hampton, some as far away as Leiston, Kingstonian returned to Kingsmeadow with a bang on Saturday.

Lowly Needham Market were the opposition in KT1 and the fixture very much fitted into the one-of-those-we-probably-need-to-win-if-we’re-going-to-make-the-playoffs bracket.

So for Needham to go one and then two nil up was as surprising as it was disappointing. Andre’s homecoming wasn’t supposed to be like this.

The first was scored by Jay Davies with 13 minutes played, an easy finish converted in an Alan Inns-shaped hole in our defence; the second was smashed in by Luke Ingram early in the second half after some sustained Needham pressure. Rob Tolfrey made a couple of cracking saves in between.

K’s hadn’t offered much by way of an attacking threat before the thrilling comeback began. Pico Gomez, in sulky student mode, volleyed against the bar and Dan Bennett was denied by keeper Ian Miller.

But that was about it until Malachi Hudson fired into the roof of the net 60 seconds after Needham’s second. K’s tails were up and within minutes Hudson had his second. Bennett danced clear with some silky skills but his effort hit the bar. The ball fell to Hudson who headed goalwards and, according to the assistant referee anyway, over the line. 2-2.

The attacking quartet began to click and even if Needham still threatened – one chance in particular was shammed wide from close range – it felt like the tide had turned. Andre’s homecoming was going to be alright, after all. The Suffolk Duology would have a happy ending.

Indeed it was Andre himself, on his first home appearance in 15 months, who completed the turnaround, shooting low and hard and under Miller from the edge of the box. His subsequent lift-hug with manager Tommy Williams was awesome and awkward in equal measure.

But crucially we had a third and the day was topped off in injury-time when sub Gavin James teed up Bennett for the goal his performance merited. The true star of the show was Harold Odametey, though, the epitome of box-to-box and the real heart of this team.

So the first of nine home games in 12 Ryman fixtures yielded three, predictably hard-earned, points. If K’s are to finish in the top five we will need to make the most of home advantage in the weeks to come. And if we can play anything like we did in the final 35 minutes against Needham on a consistent basis then there’s every chance of that happening.

Match report by Rupert Cane.

Published Wednesday 12th September 2018