Khalsa slogged their way to an unmemorable three points against a dogged and resilient Bardon Hill side.
In a fixture which was reversed to be played at Khalsa’s Aspray Arena due to challenges with the pitch at Bardon Hill, it took a moment of magic by Mensah Kinch to break the deadlock.
True, the conditions were far from conducive to playing football and Bardon Hill were – it would be fair to say – fielding a scratch side, but Khalsa were still lacking in tempo and spark, making for a pretty dull affair.
Bardon Hill might have had a penalty on 22 minutes, Khalsa keeper Mihai Gherahsim flapped at a cross and then reached the rebound at exactly the same time as the predatory Rob Malunga, sending the striker sprawling and appealing for a spot kick. At the other end it took a great last moment intervention by Will Rooke to stop Simeon Townsend breaking through with the goal at his mercy after a great flick by Kinch.
Meese’s head almost had a key input just after the break, flashing wide from a great cross by Carlo Franco within two minutes of the restart. An almost carbon-copy move followed seven minutes later, this time Townsend just failing to direct onto target from a Kinch cross.
Bardon Hill made few excursions forward, but when they did there was always a danger.
Campbell needed to clear off the line from a Steve Chaplin header following a deep cross by Kyle Fowkes on 64 minutes.
At the other end it took a great save by Ben Gough to stop Joe Rogers’ header from Craig Bannister’s cross.
Khalsa finally put the game to bed on 86 minutes, Franco feeding Meese and the midfielder slotting home in style.
Possibly the high-point of a low-key affair came two minutes deep into injury time when Khalsa skipper Lee Wherton clattered one of the crossbar from 25 yards, the ball bouncing agonisingly to safety.
Sporting Khalsa: Mihai Gherasim; Carlo Franco, Nicky Campbell, John Hill, Joe Rogers; Dave Meese (Brad Lawley), Lee Wherton (Captain), Marvin Nisbett, Craig Bannister (Chad Birch); Simeon Townsend.
Man-of-the-match: Joe Rogers