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Johnson gives Kingsley crucial win

Report by Samuel Hays

Kingsley edged out a fighting Wembley Downs 3-2 in Round 15 of the Belt Up Amateur Premier Division on Sunday courtesy of an 86th minute goal from Sean Johnson.

Kingsley took the lead at Butlers Reserve early on through Jesse Higgins but Ryan Fish got the home team back on level terms from the penalty spot.

And Wembley took the lead just before half-time as Juras Garba found the back of the net.

But it wasn’t their day as substitute Stuart Montgomery scored just one minute after coming on and then set up Johnson for the winner.

It was imperative for Kingsley to win as they looked to keep the pressure on North Perth United, who had a 2-1 win over Ellenbrook United, Certainly coach Steven Dimitrovich didn’t play down the importance of the three points.

“That’s what we spoke about at half-time,” he said.

“We just said if we lose this our season’s pretty much just battling for the rest of the year trying to catch them (North Perth). Six points would have been a lot, as well as the catch-up game which is possibly nine points. But credit to the boys, they’ve dug deep and kept the pressure on.

“I think we started really well, first 15 minutes we played the whole game on our terms and we got the early goal.

“But I think our scoring deflated us and for probably the next 35 minutes Wembley dominated the game and forced us into a lot of things we haven’t been doing in the past but they deserved their 2-1 lead at half-time.

“It was a bit of a hard week for us. We went to play on Wednesday night but it got called off, so we’ve only had one training session and I think that showed in our performance today.

“The boys want something bigger this year, they’re after something bigger and you can see that they want it.”

It was a great day out for Montgomery, who has plenty of experience playing in the top tier of West Australian football, most recently for ECU Joondalup in the NPL WA.

Dimitrovich said: “It’s a big call to bring a 40-year old on when you’re chasing the game but with his experience and the level he’s played at, you know he’s going to put himself in the right areas and you can see that his first touch was a goal and his second touch set the winner up for us. So, it just goes to show that it doesn’t matter how old you are, experience counts for a lot.”

Kingsley made a great start when Higgins headed home a Lee Thomas free-kick from close range after only 10 minutes.

Jayden Drummond almost made it two when he got on the end of a through ball but Wembley keeper Tom Pagnell made himself big to smother the shot.

Kingsley were then awarded a penalty in the 19th minute after pushing in the box during a corner. Sean Johnson stepped up to take the penalty but sent his shot onto the post.

Wembley were nearly gifted the equaliser after Kingsley keeper Paul Rainford threw the ball straight at Brian Sprins, who could only blast it over the crossbar.

But the home team did equalise when Bailey Salmon brought down Sprins in the box and referee Peter Kaiser pointed to the spot for the second time. Fish took responsibility this time and converted the penalty for his ninth goal of the season.

Wembley went ahead in the 45th minute as Fish sent a free-kick into the box that somehow made its way through everyone and found Garba at the back post who tapped the ball home.

Dean Wall for Wembley and Kingsley’s Sean Johnson both wasted golden opportunities before Kingsley levelled in the 77th minute through a tidy finish from Montgomery as he lobbed Pagnell with his first kick of the match.

Aaron Lickiss then received a red card following a studs-up challenge to leave Kingsley to finish the game with 10 men.

But Kingsley completed the comeback in the 87th minute as Montgomery unselfishly squared the ball to Johnson, who made no mistake with the finish.

Wembley coach Martin Sullivan was disappointed after his side’s second loss in a row at home, especially after being unbeaten at Butlers Reserve in the last two seasons.

“Very entertaining game for anybody that was here,” he said.

“We went down 1-0 after 15 minutes which was hard to take. With our game plan, we wanted to sit back and counter but we got back in the game at 2-1 up. And all credit to Kingsley they came at us and they deserved it in the end.

Sullivan said that a tough 4-0 defeat away to Leeming Strikers in the cup on Wednesday night had taken a toll on his players.

“We’re struggling with injuries and Wednesday night was a hard one to take and pick ourselves up after such a deflating defeat. At the moment, we’re going to have a look at what we’re doing and hopefully we can push on for the rest of the season.”

Kingsley will now be looking for their seventh victory in a row when they return to Chichester Park to face Kwinana United while Wembley will want to get back to winning ways against Jaguar FC.

Wembley Downs 2 (Fish 28min, Garba 45)
Kingsley 3 (Higgins 10, Montgomery 77, Johnson 87)
Sunday, July 29
Butlers Reserve
Kick-off: 3pm
Referee: Peter Kaiser
Assistant referees: Jeremy Oliphant, George McLean

Wembley Downs: 23. Tom Pagnell, 12. Anthony Sonos, 15. Juras Garba, 16. Jay McDonald, 3. Craig Hebenton, 13. Brian Sprins, 6. Ryan Morris, 5. Blaine Slater, 10. Ryan Fish, 9. Dean Wall, 7. Nico Noralo, (29. Ben Taylor 75), (31. D. Wright 82)
Unused substitutes: 26. Zac Wise, 1. David Sinclair
Yellow cards: Garba 66, Slater 67, Pagnell 68, Hebenton 78
Red cards: Nil

Kingsley: 1. Paul Rainford, 15. Cathal Quinn, 4. Aaron Lickiss, 16. Jesse Higgins, 3. Bailey Salmon, 11. Luke Armstrong, 13. Lee Thomas, 6. Luke Coltman, 8. Josh Waldock, 10. Jayden Drummond, 9. Sean Johnson (14. David Ashworth 61), (5. Brett Cutting 76), (7. Stuart Montgomery 76)
Unused substitutes: 12. Oliver Valentine, 31. Mark Woolley
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Lickiss 83