K’s Go Unrewarded as Maidstone Win
Rarely have Ks done themselves so proud in defeat as in this narrow loss to league leaders Maidstone. The scoresheet showed that it was a sole Alex Brown strike that was the difference between the teams; but those who saw Stones goalkeeper Lee Worgan's performance knew how crucial his role was in keeping out a succession of chances.
Ks were not intimated by their opponents, nor the sizeable travelling support they brought to Kingsmeadow. Adam Doyle's return to the defence freed Dan Sweeney up to play in midfield, with Pico Gomez in turn joining the attack. This gave the Ks side a better balance and they were by far the better team in the first 40 minutes.
In the opening minutes Charlie Penny bundled his way through a crowd in the box only for Worgan to rush out to deny him. Worgan also made a great low save from a Doyle header and Josh Casey went narrowly wide from distance.
Ks maintained the pressure with Gomez having an effort deflected onto the bar with Worgan beaten and then Steve Laidler forcing the goalkeeper to save sharply at the near post.
One of football's oldest truisms though is that you have to score when you're on top, and Ks failed to do that. The sucker punch came four minutes before half time, Brown finding the bottom corner of Rob Tolfrey's goal from the edge of the box.
Thereafter Ks found in Maidstone a solid opponent who were well-organised and kept them mostly at bay. At times, Ks were perhaps guilty of overplaying when shooting would be a better option, but it wasn't easy to find a clear sight of Worgan's goal.
The best chance fell to Penny when we latched on to a Tolfrey goal kick but his shot was at a comfortable height for Worgan to save. Laidler fired over and produced another good save from Worgan but Ks couldn't create the clear-cut chance they craved. Meanwhile Jay May was a threat for the Stones, forcing Tolfrey into a pair of good saves and firing narrowly wide.
Nonetheless, Ks showed they could compete against the best team in the league and with the teams in fourth, fifth and sixth slipping up too the playoffs remain a possibility.
Match report by Simon Grier.