K’s Sunk By Injury Time Header
Rarely has a new league season had so much billing. An influx of high-profile managers, the arrival of some big names from far and wide, and the return of some former favourites.
The forums have been chuntering ever since Grays hired Jamie Stuart, Sandy Cunningham signed for Dulwich and the great Ryan Moss came home, but on Saturday it was time for the actual football to start.
K’s and their fans were flung head first into the Ryman League deep end, Essex, this weekend. Div One North play-off winners Harlow Town were our hosts and the ‘Arena’, situated well outside of the town centre and dwarfed by a ginormous Poundland distribution centre next door, was awash with red-and-white hoops, and a select few in grey-and-black. A dashing new away strip it is too, enhanced further by the multitude of craft beards and hairstyles chosen by manager Tommy Williams to adorn it in our maiden league match of 2016/17.
A new season generally brings new hope but perhaps not at K’s this year. By the final whistle, some supporters were looking down rather than up, pondering which teams would be worse than us in what looks a much-improved division.
Still, these are early days, and this was very much a match of old-fashioned Ryman-Ball: even, set-piece and mistake heavy, decided by a solitary, scrappy goal. Unfortunately, it went to ‘Arlow. Worse, it was scored in the third minute of stoppage time, striker Alex Read heading a flicked-on corner past Rob Tolfrey.
Prior to that our keeper had looked unbeatable as always, one first-half double save particularly spectacular. His opposite number, the affable, limey David Hughes, had to save from Pico Gomez before the break and sub Sean Bonnett-Johnson after it, the first of those chances particularly well worked. Alan Inns headed against the bar and had another cleared off the line, but Kingstonian’s attack faltered as the game wore on and if there was to be a winner on the plastic pitch it always felt like it would go to the home side.
So K’s open with a narrow away defeat for the second straight season. Last year’s loss at Leiston was followed by an emphatic home thumping by Leatherhead. Williams will be hoping for better when Hendon visit on Monday night.
Match report by Rupert Cane.