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Tonbridge Angels 1
Elder (45')
1 Kingstonian
Kempton (29')

Another Day of Parity for K’s

A non-league team is a bit like a big house. Or a nice car. You need the basics to work if you’re going to have the flourishes. A house needs a foundation before it needs a chandelier. A car needs an engine before the power-steering. A Ryman play-off contender needs an Inns to make the Bennett possible. (In this scheme, Butterworth is a broken lava lamp. Or a set of furry dice).

Alan Inns is our foundation. Our engine. He has been quietly superb all season and he was at it again at Tonbridge, repelling everything thrown at him. As the pressure built, it was also down to Rob Tolfrey to make three superb first-half saves, one in particular low-down at close range and high speed.

The storm having passed, it was Bennett-time, with a jinking run and shot which led to Jake Kempton’s tap-in. 1-0 to K’s.

A word on Jake Kempton. OK, a few words.

We like Jake Kempton. He high-fived (albeit unwittingly) a foam hand behind the goal at Earlsmead. That would be enough on its own.

He’s also nippy and intelligent and unselfish. He scores left-foot volleys. He’s “Kempo”. He’s not related to former K’s great David Kempton. He laughs at our songs. We used to think he looked like Charlie Penny but Kempton smiles and scores goals and, we suspect, rather enjoys life at K’s. He was injured for 565 days between 2012 and 2014. He used to be at Wolves and Fulham. He’s good at football. Maybe he still thinks about the past. But playing football is fun - playing football is the thing.

The season began with an expected K’s strike-force of Richard Jolly and Pico with added Sapps. Jolly would be the run-arounder, the buzz-abouter, the furthest man forward snapping at defenders’ heels. No sign of Kempo.

But when Jolly re-evaluated the prospect of nine-months running the channels, Kempo took his chance, first on the bench, then on the pitch. And he’s scored six goals. He’s starting as of right. He’s doing things that made Staines take him at the end of last season. He’s more Jolly than Jolly. He shoots a lot. It’s usually on target.

His goal at Tonbridge was typical. Daniel Bennett will get the credit but, watching the goal again on “Angels Vision” (the vantage-point of the camera crew is a sinister wooden turret), it’s Kempo’s desire to get in the right position which stands out. He’d hit the post only minutes earlier and had generally contributed to a decent first-half display from K’s.

Alas, if we’d got to half-time ahead, then… well, no one knows. But Nathan Elder made it 1-1 before the break and thereafter Tonbridge looked the more likely. They’ve only lost twice all season – if you don’t count a Turvey defeat to Hastings. So a draw wasn’t bad. Draws are OK (see the Hendon report). The big house is still standing. The nice car's still on the road.

Match report by Taimour Lay.

Published Wednesday 12th September 2018