Report by Paul J Laverty
A late Gavin Walsh strike gave Amateur League title hopefuls Wembley Downs full-points in an entertaining first game of the season against Kingsley at Chichester Park.
The game looked to be heading for a draw when Walsh won it with a great piece of trickery followed by a fine finish in the 87th minute which left his coach Colm Costello buzzing.
“It’s a massive win, it’s one of the games we looked at before and thought that if we could pick up points against Kingsley we’d be doing well,” he said.
“It could have gone either way but it’s a great result for us.”
In glorious sunshine, Kingsley had much of the early pressure but had little to show for it and instead had keeper Paul Rainford to thank for not falling behind when he spectacularly tipped Gavin Walsh’s point-blank effort over the bar.
Kingsley then got the opener after Cathal Quinn swung a ball in from the right which found Jayden Drummond who bulleted his header beyond the keeper.
The Wembley response was almost instantaneous when playmaker Banin Hashem collected the ball on the edge of the box and, with his back to the goal, turned and struck the ball sweetly into the top corner to level.
The home-side could have gone back in front when Tom Caan had his effort hacked off the line before striker Dave Morris had a goal disallowed when he was adjudged to have fouled the keeper.
At the other end Wembley were providing their own threat with Briony Mariarty flashing a shot centimetres too high and Anthony Jones blasting over from 12-metres with the keeper stranded.
Wembley got off to a flyer at the restart when Stephen Geogheghan pounced on a through-ball and neatly rounded the keeper to net.
But Kingsley showed their grit on 61 minutes with Morris scrambling the ball home from a corner to even the scores.
Kingsley nearly hit the front again when Drummond produced a peach of a free-kick which agonisingly hit the underside of the bar and bounced onto the line and then out to safety.
It was an opportunity they would rue as Walsh struck for the visitors in the dying minutes to ensure the points were going Wembley’s way.
Kingsley coach Steve Dimitrovich was disappointed with the defeat which deflates his side’s top-two ambitions for the season.
“We worked hard but two of those three goals we gave away today were very soft and I think Wembley deserved the three points,” he said.
Kingsley 2 ( Flatt 17mins, Morris 61)
Wembley Downs 3 (Hashem 22, Geogheghan 49, Walsh 87)
Sunday, April 9, 2017
Referee: Josh Mannella
Assistant referee: Dusan Rudic
Kingsley: 1. Paul RAINFORD, 2. Cathal QUINN, 4. Paul BOX (3. Lee THOMAS 70), 5. Dave SWALES, 7. Lewis FLATT, 8. Sam CHURCH (12. Connor HOLMES 77), 9. Dave MORRIS, 10. Jayden DRUMMOND, 11. Luke ARMSTRONG, 14. Tom CANN (15. Bailey SALMON 59), 16. Jesse HIGGINS
Substitutes not used:, 6. Aaron PLATIEN, 21. Carl DIGGINS
Yellow cards: Salmon
Red cards: Nil
Wembley Downs: 1. Niall MCCARTHY, 3. Anthony JONES, 4. James LANIGAN, 6. Ian CLEARY 8. Blaine SLATER (19. Mark KING 70), 9. Banin Hashem, 11. Stephen GEOGHEGHAN (17. Martin KELLY 75), 12. Gary MCCARTHY, 14. Juri GALBA, 16. Gavin WALSH, 18. Briony MARIARTY
Substitutes not used: 15. Will FISHLEIGH
Yellow cards: Hashem, Walsh
Red cards: nil