K’s shut the Gate
With FA Cup first round day giving non-league football its biggest annual imprint on the nation's consciousness Kingstonian were, for the 13th consecutive year, not part of proceedings.
An impressive 2-0 win over Margate did though give them a measure of revenge against the team who dumped them out of the competition back in September.
Alan Dowson has lamented his side's finishing in recent weeks and it was not at its best in this game either. However, Ks did twice find a way past the impressive Craig Holloway to secure three points which only leave them off the Ryman League's summit on goal difference.
They began threatening the Gate in the very first minute, Tommy Kavanagh firing wide after an Andre McCollin back heel. McCollin himself volleyed narrowly over shortly afterwards before Holloway made a superb close range save from a Ryan Moss header.
Margate were not without chances themselves in an open first half, with Giannopolis Fakinos forcing Rob Tolfrey to save from distance and Charles Ademono coming close.
Ks were threatening frequently though. Moss headed over under pressure from a defender and then on 24 minutes flicked the ball through to McCollin who produced a good save from a tight angle. Holloway's third good stop of the half was from Aaron Goode, following a corner from the ever-lively Charlie Knight.
Knight and Charles Ofusu-Hene both fired wide as it looked set to be a half of frustration for Ks until Moss broke the deadlock just before half-time. He was set up by McCollin and then beat a defender to find himself in on goal, blasting a powerful finish past Holloway.
Knight produced another good save from the goalkeeper after the interval but it was mainly a quieter half. Sam Page and Matt Drage defended well but Ks were less incisive, struggling to use their pace to breach the visitors' defences as they had in the first half.
Margate remained a threat with Scott Kinch forcing Tolfrey to tip wide and Fakinos may have been disappointed not to provide Tolfrey with a sterner test from the edge of the box. Phil Walsh then fired over as Ks fans' nerves increased.
As against Leiston however, a goal from a set piece eventually settled the nerves. Page headed Knight's corner back across goal five minutes from time and Goode was on hand to volley home from the middle of the box.
Moss might have put some extra sheen on the performance with a late one-on-one after the linesman's flag bizarrely stayed down but a justice of sorts was served when he fired his shot into the Kingston Road End's much-detested seating. It mattered not though and Ks can now go into their big game at Hornchurch next week with a renewed confidence from consecutive wins.
Report: Simon Grier