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Kingsley last the distance to see off Wembley

Report by Samuel Hays

Kingsley came out on top against Wembley Downs SC in a close encounter in the Belt Up Amateur Premier Division on an unseasonably hot Sunday afternoon at Chichester Park.

Mark King opened the scoring for Kingsley after nine minutes before Blaine Slater equalised for the visitors on the hour.

But it was Jesse Higgins who would have the final say to ensure Kingsley ran out 2-1 winners.

Kingsley coach Steve Dimitriovch was thrilled his side got the three points but recognised the game was in the melting pot for large parts.

“I’m very happy – we worked on quite a few things during the week,” he said.

“I thought the first half was very pleasing. Second half, first 20-25 minutes Wembley were probably on top of us and we just struggled to get back into the game. But making the changes we did when we did I think helped us and got us a bit of balance back and got us the win in the end.”

When asked about the close nature of the league this season and the pressure to pick up maximum points each week, Dimitriovch added: “We’ve already dropped a game this year to probably the league favourites in Leeming, so we’ve just got to make sure we stay on top of that and don’t fall any further behind.

“That’s why it’s important that we work hard and we did, and especially in this weather today hats off to the boys. I’m really proud of them.”

King gave Kingsley an early lead when he was found unmarked inside the box and headed past Wembley keeper Nial McCarthy.

They had another chance 10 minutes later when Jayden Drummond put in a great ball across the face of the Wembley goal only for it to be cleared before it could be tapped home.

The home side continued their early dominance and minutes later they saw two shots from Oliver Valentine and Drummond come back of the woodwork.

Wembley finally threatened when Kingsley keeper Paul Rainford was forced to make a double save. First he palmed away a free-kick before holding onto the follow-up header.

Six minutes before the interval the visitors went close again but Ryan Morris was unable to finish Mat Deveraux’s square ball.

The start of the second half was all Wembley and they were rewarded for their dominance in the 60th minute when Slater found space on the edge of the box and he placed his shot perfectly past Rainford to level the scores.

Kingsley responded to being pegged back by making three substitutions which appeared to help them get back into the game. Indeed substitute Sean Johnson beat the offside trap only to shoot wide and King hit the post when he looked set to score.

But the winning goal did come in the 82nd minute as Higgins blasted in a rebound after the ball was headed onto the post following a corner.

Wembley Downs coach Martin Sullivan was disappointed not to get something out of the game but conceded that his team failed to show up in the first half and didn’t see out the game like their opponents.

“We were unlucky I think at the end, conceding from another set-piece after getting back into the game. But with 10-15 minutes to go we were just dead on our feet and all credit to Kingsley because they fought and fought until the end,” Sullivan said.

“We’ve obviously gone a goal down and then to get back into the game, I thought we were the better side in the second half. But we didn’t show up in the first half and in the end we tried our best but it wasn’t good enough on the day.”

Kingsley will now travel to Kelly Park to take on Kwinana United while Wembley are at home to Jaguar.

Kingsley 2 (King 9min, Higgins 82)
Wembley Downs 1 (Slater 60)
Sunday, April 29
Chichester Park
Kick-off: 3pm
Referee: Steven Knight
Assistant referees: Barry Marshall, Caglar Culcuoglu

Kingsley: 1. Paul Rainford, 15. Cathal Quinn, 4. Aaron Lickiss, 16. Jesse Higgins, 5. Bailey Salmon, 8. Nick Lowe, 13. Lee Thomas, 12. Oliver Valentine, 10. Jayden Drummond, 7. Mark King, 14. David Ashworth, (6. Luke Coultman 60), (9. Sean Johnson 65), (11. Luke Armstrong 65)
Unused substitutes: 31. Mark Woolley
Yellow cards: Higgins 43
Red cards: Nil

Wembley Downs: 1. Nial McCarthy, 2. Dean Leeper, 16. Jay McDonald, 14. Juraj Garba, 13. Anthony Jones, 8. Blaine Slater, 7. Jason Trepveski, 10. Ryan Fish, 11. Christian Bulc, 3. Mat Deveraux, 9. Nicolas Riveros, (6. Ryan Morris 9), (20. Mark Walsh 71) (95. Zac Wise 80)
Unused substitutes: 23. Dave Sinclair
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil