Kensington Dragons 2 v 2 Indian Gymkhana
After the win over title rivals Sporting Hackney in the week, it was down to Dragons to follow up on their 3-0 win over Indian Gymkhana from 3 weeks ago. With fixtures coming thick and fast, Manager Miguel De Souza chose to ring the changes with Luke O’Donoghue, Maddy Mkoloma, George Mariner, Seymour Scott and Pavi Bhangoo all dropping to the bench. The debut midfield pairing of Dean Humphrey and Jonathan Kasongo were tasked with driving on the side with Geoff Nalu Mosa being named as captain.
Both teams started slowly with little threat on show until Humphrey suffered a ‘Gerrard like’ slip in the midfield and as the ball went wide, a first time cross was met on the volley by the Gymkhana winger who smashed home from 6 yards. Falling behind stirred the Dragons but they fell into the trap of forcing the play long and the ball too often bypassed the midfield and with the wingers playing high, it was often a front 4 with little shape or possession.
Dragons striker Ali Soussi had the first real chance when he was set free down the right hand side, cutting in to face the keeper, his vicious shot was well saved at the near post. The resulting corner saw another chance fall to Soussi who volleyed well but the committed defenders blocked again. An early injury ended winger Zaine Gungadeen’s afternoon and Mariner came on from the bench. Straight away his pace and power set him through on goal but he unfortunately lifted the ball over the bar from 12 yards. Half time and 0-1.
The lacklustre performance from the home side saw De Souza demanding more, threatening to ring the changes if the players did not respond. Unfortunately they did not and it was Gymkhana who scored again. The striker was put clean through and he confidently rounded keeper Joseph Muyanja. De Souza true to his word withdrew Soussi for Bhangoo and changed the shape to a 3 man midfield. With news seeping through that Hackney were losing on the adjacent pitch, Dragons needed to respond to get anything from the game. The shape seemed to have the desired effect. Bhangoo began to take control in the middle of the park which released Humphrey and Kasongo to push forward. Humphrey had the first chance with his shot from the angle striking the post. Ricardo Ramos playing behind the 2 strikers was getting more of the ball but his shots too often found the keepers arms. The move of the match began with CB Bowler finding Billy Maxwell who played a neat one two with Kasongo before finding Ramos who intelligently squared the ball for Mariner with a free goal, 8 yards out. The striker composed himself only to fire his shot high over the bar.
Gymkhana were beginning to tick down the clock and Dragons had to raise it further. Another good move involving Ramos found Mariner again free at the back post. His first shot was saved but he managed to take defender, keeper and most importantly the ball into the net at the rebound. 1-2 with 15mins to go. Dragons pressed on and created numerous chances, none more clear than a ball to the back post from Sam Cole to Nalu Mosa who found himself with a free header from 2 yards which he somehow conspired to put wide. De Souza played his final card, Scott coming on for Kasongo which released full back Maxwell into the midfield.
Dragons pressed higher and higher but were caught with a quick counter attack which saw the Gymkhana striker through with what looked like a tap in to seal the game only for Muyanja to pull off a vital save. Dragons moved the ball swiftly up the flank from the restart and won a throw in 10 yards from the goal line. Humphrey sent in one of his signatory long throws and Bhangoo timed his run to perfection, sending a left foot volley crashing in from 8 yards. 2-2. Dragons continued to press for the last few minutes but the tough opposition hung on well to earn the point.
Hackney had indeed lost 3-0 to Deportivo leaving Dragons’ failure to secure all 3 points, all the more frustrating. 16 points clear with one game to go. Hackney have 8 but with rumours abound that they will not be able to fulfil their final 3 fixtures and the League planning to put all unfulfilled fixtures to a Pools like panel, this season is still likely to produce a final twist before the end.