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Grays Athletic 3
Carlos (22'), Stevens (66'), Wilson (86')
1 Kingstonian
Hammond (26')

Disjointed K’s Beaten by Grays

The margins between play-off push and mid-table drift are fine ones – often a matter of 6 points here or there. This result leaves K’s 10 points off 5th but having played a game more than Met Police. The loss felt a blow to New Year optimism.

It was also a surprisingly listless display given that K’s have the best away record in the league and have been grinding out 3 points on the road for some time.

The absence of the injured Pelayo Pico Gomez certainly didn’t help here. At a time when he had emerged as the key attacking threat in K’s unbeaten run, he picked up a problem on Boxing Day and has not played since.

Tommy Williams started Jessie Darko upfront with Elvis Hammond, while young winger Jordan Adekunle began on the right-wing as a replacement for the similarly crocked Chris Henry. Neither are quite yet up to speed and it showed in a poor first-half which was nevertheless lit up by a sensational goal from the elder statesman Hammond.

Regardless of struggles to score, K’s have still looked pretty solid at the back. In defence of the defence, the home side’s goals were all decent. Joao Carlos gave Grays the lead after 20 minutes with a thumping strike.

But it was 1-1 before the break when Hammond, out of nowhere, turned quickly 35 yards out and arrowed the ball into the top corner across the keeper. It spent an age in the air but huge goalkeeper Conor Gough was beaten even at full stretch.

What might have been the cue for a K’s second-half advance was stymied by Grays taking the lead again through James Stevens on the hour followed by a third four minutes from time via Jordan Wilson.

A bad night on a bad pitch happens in the Ryman. What we need to sort out is the home form. With 20 league games left, K’s need to rack up at least 12 wins to come close to the last playoff spot. It’s possible. But we need Pico back for a packed January schedule.

Match report by Taimour Lay.

Published Wednesday 12th September 2018