By Martin Mork
Portsmouth 2nd – 0
Kingston 1st – 2
A goal and a fine midfueld performance from Alex Mourao helped Kingston’s first team to a 2-0 away victory over Portsmouth men’s seconds on Wednesday, securing a place in the quarter-finals of the South Eastern Conference Cup.
Kingston headed to Portsmouth as underdogs, ready to face one of their toughest opponents this season and emerged the better side in a lively encounter.
Captain for the day, Danny Rich, was certain that his team were capable of dealing with their opposition. He tried to shift focus away from the league-table gap by reassuring Kingston that, on their day, they were as good as any opposition.
Portsmouth started the game confidently, keeping possession and playing a slick passing game. They created a couple of dangerous moves without ever testing Kingston goalkeeper Kieran Sanderson.
After 16 minutes, however, Kingston struck back. The ball was free and rolling towards striker Gareth Chendlik, who hit a shot from 30 yards out. The ball bounced and flew straight towards Portsmouth’s goalkeeper, who fumbled the save and it ended up at the back of the net.
The goal gave Kingston renewed confidence. Mourao’s skill helped his side control the midfield and his hard work paid off in the 36th minute.
Winger Leon Schwier took on four Portsmouth players in an outstanding run, before sending the ball to Alex, who made no mistake.
At halftime, captain Danny Rich motivated his team mates by telling them to play as though the score was still 0-0 to avoid complacency. He said that the game would be won in the second-half.
His side played a more defensive game in the second half, dropping back, while Portsmouth held on to the ball and tried to find a way through. Kingston’s back line, led by Rich, held firm, however.
The visitors also had their chances, Chendlik hitting the post twice on the counter-attack but the ball resolutely refused to hit the back of the net.
“I can’t fault anyone,” a satisfied Rich said. “Everyone was doing their job out there today.”
Kingston face Kent University’s first team on February 22 in the Cup quarter-finals.
Before that, they meet Buckinghamshire New University men’s third team in the South Eastern 4C league next Wednesday.