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  • Writer's pictureNorth Camp

Wasteful North Camp Fall at the Cup's First Hurdle

Hopes of a cup run ended at the earliest opportunity on Sunday as North Camp lost 2-1 to a gritty Old Kingstunions at Queens Road.Dan Knight’s second-half strike wasn’t enough as profligacy in front of goal and poor set-piece defending ended North Camp’s 100% start to the season.

The match began with the home side very much on the front foot, dominating the early goings and looking well set to extend their seven-match winning streak. Tom Dallison and Momodou Ceesay in particular found ample space in the middle of the park, while the wide men were also utilised well.

Shots rained in on the Old Kingstunions goal throughout the half, but most were either wayward or straight at the keeper. The first real chance of the game came when Alex Barnett played Steven Schofield through – a repeat of last week’s winning combination. However no goal was to follow this time, and Schofield said after the game he should have driven into the box and shot early, instead of trying to cut back inside.

Further chances came and went, with fullback Chris Pike seeing one opportunity to shoot blocked at the last second, and another chance cut out by the keeper following Knight’s cut back.

The clearest glimpses of goal fell to Barnett, who somehow managed to miss two chances in the space of ten seconds, and from a combined ten yards. The second effort in particular seemed like a certain goal, but for the strong reactions of the visiting keeper. A yard either side though, and it would have been 1-0.

Half time came and went, and initially the pattern remained the same. Knight again got in down the left, and again cut it back for an onrushing Pike, but his shot was, again, blocked.

And then came the sucker punch. After looking in no trouble whatsoever for the first 50 minutes, North Camp conceded an innocuous free kick 35 yards out. It was floated in with no real pace, but after the man at the back post managed to shovel it back across goal it was turned in from point-blank range.

From then on the game became scrappy, with the home side seemingly rattled by going behind. Gone were the nice, intricate passing moves, replaced instead by long balls, fouls and a midfield battleground that you felt suited Old Kingstunions preferred style.

The hosts were then handed a lifeline just after the hour mark as Peter Jarmyn worked himself space for a shot on the edge of the box. It struck the far post and for a second it appeared that North Camp were destined not to score for the entire game, however the rebound was hooked in by Knight – his fourth goal in approximately 180 minutes of action this season.

But any hopes that this goal would reset the pattern of the game to that of the first half were short-lived as the visitors struck again almost immediately. Another free kick was conceded in a similar position to the first one, and again it was floated to the back post.

The only difference this time was the finish, as instead of being helped back across goal it was just hammered into the corner, leaving Craig Hughes with no chance.

As North Camp pushed for a second equaliser the game became increasingly stretched, but if anything it was the away side that looked more likely to score on the counter attack, with Hughes repeatedly having to come rushing out of his goal to clear the danger.

At the other end, it appeared that the efforts of the first hour had taken the wind out of the hosts’ sails. A lack of any genuine cutting edge towards the end of the game meant there were very few chances to even things up and take the game to penalties.

Schofield perhaps could have gone down under pressure from a couple of visiting defenders, but the honest man inside him tried to stay on his feet and the chance was gone.

And so it was that the game finished 2-1 to the bad guys, meaning an early exit to the Surrey Lower Junior Cup for the boys in blue and white. Two further cup competitions remain, along with the league campaign, and this defeat will surely serve as a good learning experience going forwards.

Next up – an enormous top-of-the-table clash against Morley Road Academicals.

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