Jonny Giles screamer in vain as Bishop's Stortford lose to Kingstonian 5-2 in Isthmian League, Premier Division
Jonny Giles' long-range screamer could not prevent Bishop's Stortford suffering a heavy 5-2 defeat at home to Kingstonian.
Mark Haines was also on target for the Blues in their first home Pitching In Isthmian League, Premier Division game of the season, but Daniel Ajakaiye's hat-trick and efforts from Ghassimu Sow and former Blue Elliott Buchanan earned the visitors the points.
Sam Robbins, who was deputising at right-back for the injured Rio Davidson-Phipps, made an early through ball towards Jake Cass that was cut out by Robert Tolfrey. At the other end, Ryan Henshaw and Anthony Church combined to scramble clear after Jason Banton had worked some space for a shot but was denied with a block.
Cass again got himself into a position to shoot but fired just wide with his left foot on the edge of the box, before Joe Gardner headed over the crossbar from a Giles free kick. Gardner then put Cass through on goal with a brilliant pass, but the striker, who went past two defenders, could not find the target.
The visitors made the Blues pay for their missed chances by going straight up the other end and breaking the deadlock, with Ajakaiye converting from close range from Nyren Clunis' low cross from the right.
Kingstonian might have doubled their lead, but goalkeeper Jack Giddens rushed out to close down Bryant Akono Bilongo and made a brilliant tackle.
Cass fired into the side-netting from a tight angle, having turned the defender on the edge of the box, before Sow fired over the bar when a corner kick had been headed away.
Giles and Frankie Merrifield both had shots blocked before the former's cross was met by a glancing header from Haines to equalise before half time.
Kingstonian made a fast start after the break and Ajakaiye scored two quick goals to complete his hat-trick, first chipping the onrushing Giddens before smashing home from near the byline.
They could have increased their lead further had Rhys Murrell-Williamson's effort been lower, but instead it cannoned off the crossbar and Banton fired wide from the rebound.
Jack Thomas and Merrifield combined to create a chance for Cass, but his low effort was saved by Tolfrey.
Giles then dragged the Blues right back into the game with a stunning strike into the top-left corner from nearly 30 yards, scoring when it looked like there was no threat.
Merrifield could have equalised when his header hit the corner of woodwork from Giles' wide free kick, before Banton curled wide at the other end.
Sow had a slice of fortune when he made it 4-2 to the visitors, his strike taking a deflection off Henshaw and carrying it into the top corner instead of towards Giddens who was prepared for the original path of the ball.
Further chances fell to Giles, Merrifield and Haines, who tried an overhead kick, but the Blues could not score again.
And ex-Stortford player Elliott Buchanan came off the bench for the visitors to wrap things up with nearly his first touch of the ball as he beat the offside trap and ran through to curl home into the bottom corner.
Southend United loanee Bobby Unwin came off the bench and looked lively in his cameo appearance while fellow new recruit Yasseir Nazor was an unused substitute.
Next up for the Blues is a trip to Carshalton Athletic on Saturday (August 28) before they host Bowers & Pitsea on bank holiday Monday (August 30).
Blues: 1 Jack Giddens, 3 Archie Edwards, 4 Anthony Church, 5 Sam Robbins, 6 Ryan Henshaw (c), 7 Jonny Giles, 9 Jake Cass (booked, 89min), 10 Frankie Merrifield, 12 Jack Thomas, 17 Mark Haines, 19 Joe Gardner (16 Bobby Unwin, 56). Not used: 11 Yasseir Nazor, 18 Pat Sankey, 20 James Baker.
Kingstonian: 1 Robert Tolfrey, 2 Juevan Spencer, 3 Bryant Akono Bilongo, 4 Declan Skura, 5 Oliver Cook, 6 Kenny Beaney (15 Teo Kurtaran, 90), 7 Nyren Clunis (12 Elliott Buchanan, 82) 8 Ghassimu Sow (c), 9 Daniel Ajakaiye, 10 Jason Banton (booked, 27), 11 Rhys Murrell-Williamson (14 Fabio Camacho Saraiva, 69). Not used: 16 Aaron Lamont, 17 Frank Jerry Puemo.