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Kingstonian 2
Lamont (8'), Gondoh (14')
1 Merstham
Kavanagh (31')

Lamont and Gondoh Light Up Kingsmeadow

What looked, at one stage, like being a festive stroll in the park for Ks turned out to be anything but, but nonetheless they held on to bag an important win over Merstham.

Ks were threatening from the very first minute, when a corner broke free to Aaron Lamont on the edge of the box. His powerful shot was, however, fired straight at Merstham goalkeeper Phil Wilson.

Just six minutes later though he got another chance in almost identical circumstances. This time it came on his (weaker) right foot but he caught it perfectly with the outside of his boot, swinging it beyond Wilson's grasp into the top corner. It was Lamont's third strike from outside the penalty box this season.

By the fourteenth minute Ks had doubled their advantage and it was looking like being a remarkably simple day's work. Ryan Gondoh took the plaudits for a fine finish but the goal was born out of excellent work by Lee O'Leary, robbing a Merstham player deep in his own half. He carried the ball forwards and would have played Ryan Moss in on goal but for Wilson rushing off his line to intercept. He could only clear as far as Gondoh though, who calmly curled it into the unguarded net from around 35 yards.

But, it was not to prove as simple as simple as the first fifteen minutes might have hinted. Merstham twice came close - Calum Willock shot just wide and their Marc Okoye headed wide - before pulling one back on 31 minutes, ex-Ks midfielder Tom Kavanagh arriving in the box at the right time to steer a low cross home, despite Rob Tolfrey getting a hand on it.

Ks made a bright start to the second half, with O'Leary having a header saved and Youssef Bamba coming close after showing some impressive skill.

But it was Merstham who looked more likely in the last half hour of the game.

Their Rae Bailey-Allen fired narrowly wide after good work by another ex-Ks man, Dan Bennett, and he also came close after a cross from Michael Abnett. Kristian Campbell found himself in a worrying amount of space on the edge of the box but could only fire straight at Rob Tolfrey.

Things became more frantic in injury time but Tolfrey rushed off his line bravely to deny Abnett. The resulting corner was the visitors' last throw of the dice but despite the conspicuous turquoise presence of Wilson in the Ks penalty area, the defence held firm and Ks grabbed victory.

Match report by Simon Grier.

Published Wednesday 12th September 2018