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Kingstonian 2
Pattison (2'), Huckle (9')
1 Carshalton Athletic
Mills (4')

K’s go bobbin’ along

It wasn’t pretty, at times it was barely effective, but Kingstonian maintained second place in the table with a 2-1 win over Carshalton.

All three goals came in a frantic opening 10 minutes, and while Ks looked like scoring at will in the first period, the visitors dominated possession for much of the second period, without ever seriously threatening an equaliser.

Alan Dowson named an unchanged side from the XI who recorded an impressive victory at Lowestoft in Ks last league outing and his loyalty was rewarded after just two minutes. Andre McCollin’s cross was inexplicably headed against his own crossbar by the Robins’ Michael Kamara, and while Nick Hamann made a brilliant save to deny Wade Small’s follow-up, Matt Pattison was left with the simplest of tap-ins as the ball rolled across the goal-line.

Carshalton’s response was immediate, Ricardo Joseph beat Aaron Goode down the right and his cross left the host’s centre-backs flat-footed as the enormous Danny Mills guided a looping header past a helpless Rob Tolfrey. Yet before the 10 minute mark, Ks were back in front. The ball broke to Simon Huckle on the edge of the area, who took one touch on his chest to control it, before using his second to guide a sumptuous volley into past Hamann’s despairing dive and into the top corner. The keeper may feel he could have done better, but it was a glorious piece of technique from Ks’ erstwhile midfielder.

The chances continued to come for Ks. McCollin’s perfectly-timed ball put Wade Small in the clear, but was denied well by Hamann before Matt Somner could only turn Tom Bird’s cross wide. Another move down the left saw Dean Lodge’s cross fall perfectly for McCollin who smashed a shot off Hamann’s upright. As the game settled into a midfield battle, the final chance of the half fell to Huckle whose stretching effort flew wide.

The second half saw chances at a premium. Justyn Roberts had the visitors’ best chance but his header flew safely into Tolfrey’s arms. At the other end, Huckle continued to find himself in good positions and twice shot promising opportunities wide. Misses such as these may suggest that Huckle was wasteful, but in perhaps his best Ks performance for a couple of years, he formed a combination with Matt Somner that protected the back-four admirably and his winner was a fine reward.

As the game entered its final stages, a late Luke Pigden free kick flashed past Tolfrey’s post but the last chances fell to Ks substitutes Sam Clayton and Craig Mullen. Clayton’s fine run led to him firing his shot past the post, while Mullen’s late run just ran out of steam and his shot was blocked. 

At times Carshalton’s possession suggested that, like a reluctant ballerina, an unwelcome two-two was on the cards, but the visitors left Tolfrey pretty much untroubled. Perhaps last year’s Kingstonian side may have only finished the game with a point, but this team is made of sterner stuff, and winning without playing well is seen as a good thing when Manchester United do it. Onwards and upwards, even if Dowson continues to say "the top 8 is a realistic target". 

Report: Jamie Cutteridge.

Published Wednesday 12th September 2018