Canvey pay the penalties
K's haven't won on the opening day of the season since 2008. With the jury still out on the current squad, the away following weren't expecting great things at Canvey Island.
But a narrow 1-0 win, having gone down to 10 men on the hour, feels like a result we wouldn't have secured three months ago, at the dog-end of a campaign that petered out badly.
It was all thanks to Rob Tolfrey, who made an extraordinary double-save from a penalty, not only keeping out Simon Thomas's spot-kick but then reaching out to his right to palm away Jay Curran's rebound.
Dowson has sought to fix the defence this summer, bringing in no-nonsense giant double-act Sam Page and Matt Drage. They were needed on Saturday as Canvey dominated for long spells, though this is a lean, mean Kingstonian, happy to defend deep and dirty and hit on the break.
And the K's deserved to be a goal up at half-time, though new left-back Marcus Moody looked to have overrun the ball when he collided with a defender in the box. The referee nevertheless pointed to the spot and Andre McCollin calmly converted.
Midway through the second-half, and with K's hanging on to the 1-0 lead, Moody was caught out of position and seemed to cause Thomas to stumble as he advanced on goal. Moody got a red card on his debut but Thomas couldn't take advantage as Tolfrey twice came to the rescue.
The rest of the match was Operation Clean Sheet, with Daniel Sweeney coming off the bench to shore up the middle, while new boy Ryan Moss, a senior anatomical pathology technician (the first in K's history?) during the week, a toiling link-man at the weekends, sought to at least offer an outlet upfront.
If anything, Canvey looked less dangerous with an extra man and K's saw it through for a one-nil. The result puts us... 8th. It's a realistic target to remain there.
Report: Taimour Lay