Dons steal ground from playoff charge
Kingstonian slumped to a 1-0 away defeat at lowly Hendon on a day where blustery conditions, fussy refereeing, an obdurate opponent and a quagmire of the Vale Farm pitch got the better of them.
Yet while these all provide possible excuses, the truth was that Alan Dowson’s side never fully got going on a cold afternoon in North-West London and once they were reduced to 10 men, the game was as good as over.
Callum McNaughton returned to AFC Wimbledon and so Gary MacDonald returned to the starting line-up and took the captain’s armband but there was an early mix-up in the Ks defense that led to Adam Green hacking the ball away from the goal-line after Tolfrey was beaten in the air.
It was MacDonald who came close to opening the scoring for the visitors though as his header from a corner was palmed away by Berkley Laurencin, his fellow defender Aaron Goode had a shot cleared before a sumptuous Andre McCollin backheel gave Wade Small a chance, but his 20-yarder bounced back off the inside of the post, it was to be the closest Ks came to scoring. As tempers began to be frayed towards the end of the half, Small received a booking for talking back to the ref in a game that the official seemed to be losing control of.
The key moment came just before the half as a long ball from Laurencin was misjudged by Goode, allowing Jack Connors to get in behind and fire past Rob Tolfrey for the game’s only goal.
Ks had plenty of huff and puff in the second half but were restricted to half-chances from long-range. Matt Somner, McCollin and Green’s efforts barely troubled Laurencin and the best chances fell to the hosts as Dean Cracknell scuffed a great chance straight at Tolfrey who later produced an amazing save to deny Kevin Maclaren.
To compound Ks misery, Wade Small was sent off for a second innocuous yellow after he blocked Laurencin’s attempt to claim a cross. After the referee was surrounded by the host’s players he eventually produced a second yellow, which ensured Hendon’s victory. A bad day at the office for Kingstonian. Bah humbug.
Report: Jamie Cutteridge