Terrific K's Give Themselves A Chance
Kingstonian move out of the bottom four with a tremendous showing against promotion chasing Leiston.
Match report by Simon Grier.
If one thing was made clear by this result, a 4-2 win that if anything flattered the playoff-chasing visitors, it is that this Ks side has been playing below its potential for a long time.
This was an excellent performance by a motivated, well-organised and at times skillful and creative Ks side. They gave no indication of being a side potentially facing relegation, although that might yet be their fate despite seven points from the last three games. 'Passion' might well be over overstated importance in English football yet it counts for something, particularly in a relegation fight, and Craig Edwards has reinstalled it in spades. Immediately his players seemed pumped up for the occasion, Ks' penultimate game at Kingsmeadow, and they took the lead in just the fourth minute.
Aaron Lamont jinked his way into the box and chipped against the bar but Tom Derry was on hand to drill the rebound home, with it perhaps unfairly credited to Ryan Moss who appeared to deflect it near the goal-line.
Ex-K Ashlee Jones kept Moss out and through the rest of the first half the game was strangely serene. Leiston did not look like the league's top scorers and were unable to create any sort of a chance against an efficient and committed Ks side. Ks had some remarkable periods of possession and seemed to have a control that fans are rarely used to, even if they created little themselves.
Nonetheless Edwards knew Leiston would be too dangerous to just hold at 1-0 and Ks came out after the break with more attacking purpose. They had most of the early pressure and it told on 58 minutes when the excellent Derry nodded a corner past Jones to put Ks two up.
The only blot on Ks' excellent copybook came three minutes later, Matt Blake afforded too much space behind a flat-footed defence to beat Tolfrey with ease. But rather than then retreat into their shells, Ks held firm and restored the two goal advantage ten minutes later.
Again Derry was very much involved, using his strength to latch onto a ball over the top only to be felled as he tried to take the ball past Jones. Moss sent the goalkeeper the wrong way from the spot before haring towards the Grolsch Stand for the first of two bundles.
Shaun McAuley, who had also been excellent, made sure of the result with an exquisite 25-yarder that beat Jones' dive to find the top corner. An excellent strike from Niko Muir-Merchant pulled one back for Leiston in the dying moments but Ks could be proud of their result.
Even now, Ks are only a point above the drop and with the lottery of the last two games might easily be relegated yet. But Edwards has certainly made sure they won't go down without a fight.
Kingstonian: Rob Tolfrey, Sean Bonnett-Johnson, George Wells, Lee O'Leary, Sam Page, Alan Inns, Aaron Lamont, Shaun McAuley, Ryan Moss, Tom Derry, Joe Turner.
Subs: Charlie Wassmer, Lewis Taylor (for Aaron Lamont, 83m), Charles Banya, Keir Dickson, Youssef Bamba.
Leiston: Ashlee Jones, Ollie Brown, Seb Dunbar, Jack Ainsley, Jake Hutchings, Tom Bullard, Regan Pelling, Gareth Heath, Matt Blake, Niko Muir, Joe Francis.
Subs: Conor Hubble (for Joe Francis, 53m), Adeyinka Cole (for Regan Pelling, 53m), Joe Marsden (for Jack Ainsley, 73m), Joe Jefford, Armani Schaar.
Goalscorers: Ryan Moss (4m, 1-0), Tom Derry (58m, 2-0), Matt Blake (61m, 2-1), Ryan Moss (72m pen, 3-1), Shaun McAuley (85m, 4-1), Niko Muir (93m, 4-2)