K’s caught taking a Napper
The trip to fellow good starters Bury Town was always likely to be Ks' toughest test of the season so far, and was always likely to be made tougher still by the absence of several key players.
Ks looked good early on, despite being shorn of the creative services of the injured Wade Small and suspended Andre McCollin. They won numerous dangerous set pieces and in the twelfth minute their best chance of the match had Matt Pattison as the architect, setting Sam Clayton free with a precision through ball.
Clayton burst clear on the right and found Craig Mullen, Ks' only fit striker, with a pinpoint low cross but Blues goalkeeper Marcus Garnham did well to narrow the angle and smother his effort.
Meanwhile however, Ks' left-back Napper was finding the going tough. On fifteen minutes he was booked, perhaps a touch harshly, for a tangle with Luke Ingram. However there could be little arguing with his second yellow for catching Sam Reed with a late tackle, especially as the referee had already warned him for another foul.
Down to ten and with Clayton withdrawn to facilitate a defensive reshuffle, Ks were left even more short of creative options. Dean Lodge regularly found himself outnumbered and had easily his quietest game since his return to Ks, while Mullen and his eventual replacement Simon Huckle toiled vigorously up front for scant reward.
After the sending off Garnham's goal was rarely threatened throughout the remaining hour of play. Pattison produced a good save from him with a forceful free kick just after the interval but thereafter Bury turned the screw on Ks.
Rob Tolfrey did well to save a powerful longshot from Connor Hall but he could no nothing to prevent Clark's free header when Ks failed to mark him from a 58th minute corner. The near-post bullet left Ks trailing and ultimately unable to get back into the game.
A combination of Ks' resilience and Bury's wastefulness kept the score to one. Clark fired a free kick over the top, Tolfrey made a good save from Ingram and then Reed had a goal chalked off for offside. Reed again came close on 77 minutes, as did Clark on 81 as Ks continued to feel the pressure.
Ks had a final throw of the dice through substitute Saheed Sankoh after a neat flick from Huckle but his fierce long-range shot cleared the crossbar, leaving Alan Dowson's side to reflect on their first defeat of the season.