Terrors Adapt Better to Conditions and Win
Simon Grier reports on a wet and muddy awful afternoon for the K's.
The pitch at Fetcham Grove has been heavy for most of the winter now but despite their experience of playing on it, Kingstonian don't seem to be getting any better at adapting to it.
The 1-0 defeat at home to Tooting bore remarkable similarities to those against Thurrock and Brightlingsea Regent: a solid enough start but after giving up the first goal, any Ks attempts to break the opposition down got stuck in the mud - quite literally when Andrew Musungu's injury time effort squirmed under the goalkeeper but refused to cross the line.
It means Ks now have just one victory from their last eight games at the Grove and have only scored goals in two of them. The breathing space from the threat of relegation earned by recent wins at Needham Market and Harlow is already starting to be eroded.
Ks started reasonably promisingly but struggled to create any clear chances against a well-organised Tooting side. They survived a let-off on 18 minutes when a cross from the left crashed off Rob Tolfrey's post. Their own best chance of the half fell to Louie Theophanous after good work by Victor Fundi but he fired narrowly over the bar and Matte Pierson saved easily from an Andre McCollin effort.
It was the Terrors who got the first goal though, always likely to be crucial in such heavy conditions. A cross came in from the right and Eddie Dines stole in front of Manu Gagonas to leave Tolfrey no chance with a fine volley.
After the break Theophanous flashed a low cross through the Tooting six-yard box which no-one could get on the end of but for the most part Ks were unable to create and it was Tooting who came closest. Tolfrey made a fine double save from Omar Folkes and Isaiah Jones curled an effort agonisingly wide of the top corner after being teed up by Dominic Morgan-Griffiths.
With the midfield seemingly running out of ideas Ks finally created two clear cut chances in the dying moments when defenders marauded forward from the back. First Leo Chambers made a fine run through the mud to set up Theophanous, only for Pierson to save well with his leg.
And deep into stoppage time Musungu beat four players with a tremendous run but Pierson's half-block of his shot was enough to hold it up in the goalmouth for a defender to hack clear.
Kingstonian: Rob Tolfrey, Manolis Gogonas, Andrew Musungu, Kevin Maclaren, Leo Chambers, Mark Phillips, Tom Beere, Freddy Yao, Louie Theophanous, Andre McCollin, Victor Fundi.
Subs: Noel Mbo, Marvin Elliott (for Kevin Maclaren, 70m), Connor Hunte (for Victor Fundi, 80m), Nic Ciardini (for Andre McCollin, 62m), Jerry Amoo.
Tooting and Mitcham United: Matte Pierson, Tope Fadahunsi, Peter Wedgeworth, Eddie Dines, Sol Patterson-Bohner, Quincy Rowe, Isaiah Jones, Dominic Morgan-Griffiths, Omar Folkes, Chace O'Neil, Danny Bassett.
Subs: Ollie Bennett, Ryan James, Michael Dixon, Matt Drage, Juevan Spencer (for Danny Bassett, 77m).
Goalscorer: Eddie Dines (37m, 0-1)