Gulls culled at Kingsmeadow
On the opening day of the campaign Ks set something of a marker for the season, hanging on to a one goal lead at Canvey Island...
...despite being reduced to ten men.
The Gulls had the opportunity to inflict the same on Ks in the reverse fixture having taken an early lead, but found themselves unable to cope with a surge of momentum for Alan Dowson's side following the dismissal of James Hawes.
Ks started well enough with Andre McCollin firing wide after good work from Charles Ofusu-Hene and then Ryan Moss heading wide from a corner.
The promising start was undone in the 12th minute, however, when Tom Jelley needlessly brought Sheldon Sellears down in the corner of the box. Harrison Chatting sent Rob Tolfrey the wrong way to convert from the spot.
Ks struggled to find a way back into the game in inclement conditions and Chatting came close to doubling the visitors' advantage with a long-range effort.
Josh Vickers tipped a powerful McCollin effort over the bar but the key moment in the game came shortly before half-time when Hawes received an arguably harsh straight red card for a foul on Josh Casey.
Ks were able to use the extra space after the interval and were an instant threat. The full-backs got forward more and the visitors struggled to cope with the pace of both Moss and McCollin as the home side became dominant.
Rio Bryan-Edwards did well to beat Moss to the rebound from a McCollin free kick and a succession of corners failed to produce a clear chance but the breakthrough came on 58 minutes. The visiting offside trap failed in spectacular fashion and McCollin was left through on goal with plenty of time to beat Vickers.
Just three minutes later Ks effected a total reversal of fortunes by going 2-1 ahead. This time it was Moss who struck, rising at the far post to squeeze a header past Vickers after a Casey cross before sliding across the turf under a pile of delighted team-mates in front of the Grolsch Stand.
Ks failed to maintain their dominance though, becoming cautious and at times error-prone in seeking to hold on to their newly-found advantage. Sellears came close with a free kick, Tolfrey saved well from Moses Ademola and Matt Drage did well to recover a dangerous situation after being dispossessed by Chatting.
Ks eventually eased their nerves though with a goal on the counter-attack six minutes from time. McCollin led the charge against the over-committed visitors. Moss seemed to have the most space unmarked on his left but he eventually fed substitute Dee Okojie on the right who slipped the ball past Vickers to seal three more points for Ks.
Report: Simon Grier