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Kingstonian 1
Inns (68')
0 Enfield Town

Inns Heads In For K’s Winner

It was the Carraghers and Nevilles of this world – and certainly not the Savages – who first thrust the term ‘game management’ into living rooms up and down the country. Perhaps it was near the end of the last decade, or perhaps it was at the beginning of this one. Either way, everyone’s an expert now. We all know what it means. During a football match, as events unfold (like, say, goals, or the introduction of Peter Dean), a team must hurdle the obstacles in its path and manage the difficult moments (we recommend plenty of backs to the wall) to secure a positive result.

In the black-and-white days, presenters and pundits might simply have called this playing football well, or doing your best over the course of the 90 minutes to score more goals than the opposition. Now, though, Lee O’Leary must know when to press, and when not to. George Wells should not go forward when we are clinging on to a slender advantage. Rob Tolfrey must always go to ground if he collects the ball in his grateful, glorious arms - and then try and kick it as far as possible away from his goal towards a corner flag down the other end, allowing at least a handful of his team-mates to attempt to box the opposition in.

Since taking over the reins in the summer of 2014, Tommy Williams has regularly called on his team to manage games better. But, let’s be frank, it’s not very non-leaguey. One of the main reasons why players in the seventh tier are where they are is because they make the wrong decisions more often than their colleagues higher up the pyramid.

But this season Williams has forged a team for all seasons. Grays away on a Friday night? Three points, thank you very much. Earlsmead 47 times before the clocks go back? We shall not lose! Six-game-winning-streak-and-only-conceded-twice-in-that-time Enfield? One nil, to King-stone-eee-an!

This was a dogged display, but a truly impressive one nonetheless. K’s managed the tough moments, which came in the form of good Enfield chances at the very beginning and very end of the first half, an early injury to everyone favourite’s Don George Oakley (get well soon), and some sustained late pressure from the north Londoners.

When our time came, in a good 25-minute spell after the break, we made it count. McBrendan-McMurphy-McVey swung over the perfect corner and there rose captain, leader, salmon Alan Inns to power a header past a couple of falling, flailing visitors and into the net.

If the linesman had livened up he would have seen the rampaging Aaron Goode (what was that about full-backs not bombing on?) being clearly felled inside the box. It was stonewall, but K’s didn’t let it affect them. They managed the situation (which in this case meant taking a poor corner and then snuffing out the Enfield counter that followed).

There were plenty of excellent individual performances again – Odametey, Wells, Inns and Page to name four – but the whole group deserve the credit for this one. It was a game well and truly managed.

Match report by Rupert Cane.

Published Wednesday 12th September 2018