Kings snatches victory when Taieri fails to hold on

For the second week in arow, Kings United held on to the Challenge Shield by snatching victory with  a last-minute goal.

This time it was a Campbell Paton double in the last 5 minutes of the match to get the White and Blues out of a tight situation and put it in front 5-4.

Kings  led the match early in the piece as young midfielder Dylan Thomas was able to convert a difficult chance and volley the ball past the Taieri keeper. Zach Mason scored soon afterwards  and Kings seemed ready to pull away. However the young Taieri side was not giving up on what was likely the last chance at the shield for 2018. Solomon Baldock latched on to a rebound from an earlier shot and his reverse-stick effort found the mark to close the gap. The match stayed 2-1 until the halftime break and both sides would have been satisfied at this point.

After the break it seemed back to business as usual as Thomas scored again to  complete his brace.

Perhaps this spurred on the Taieri boys, or maybe Kings eased off, but what followed was a complete change of momentum. The Tuataras stormed back into the match to score through a Tom Jolly reverse stick then a Matt West deflection to level the scores.

As time wound down into the last 10 minutes both defensive areas were probed. But it seemed an upset by Taieri was on the cards when the ball again found the back of the goal, with James Nicolson diving to deflect the ball past the Kings keeper.

Taieri was desperate to hang on and perhaps to their detriment started to slide back into a more a defensive position instead of continuing to press forward. Kings was able to win a penalty corner with five minutes to go. Despite the initial shot being saved, Paton swooped on the loose ball and was able to slot it home to once again lock it up at 4-4.

The momentum had swung again and a sweeping movement from Kings found Paton again and a bit of individual brilliance along the baseline led to him scooping the ball into the net again to take the victory.

In the other match, Albany Alligators beat University Blue Whales,  allowing Kings to take the top spot on the ladder, while University Black Panthers had the bye.

- Matt West

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