Casey and Pico Gomez Keep K’s in the Play-Off Race
A day that threatened to be one of frustration eventually turned out to be one of celebration as Ks saw off relegation-threatened Witham Town and, coupled with most of their rivals for the final playoff place slipping up, gave fans hope that their hope of promotion remains within the realms of possibility.
The day started well enough, with Ks taking an eighth minute lead. Josh Casey, playing centrally with Steve Laidler suspended, beat Martyn Guest with a low twenty-yarder after being teed up by Callum Webb cutting in off the left flank.
Nine minutes later the lead was nearly doubled but Elvis Hammond's powerful shot rattled back off the crossbar. And the sucker-punch duly came, Chris Bryan sneaking behind a static back line to lob Rob Tolfrey and level the scores.
Much of the rest of the game was a series of frustrating missed chances for Ks. Hammond beat the offside trap on 32 minutes but lashed his volley wide and then Guest made a superb save from a Sam Page header. Next Adam Doyle, of all people, found himself free on goal after great work from Pico Gomez; his effort squeezed through Guest's legs but the goalkeeper slowed it down enough and was able to recover before the ball could trickle over the line. On the stroke of half-time the visitors reminded Ks that it wouldn't all be one way traffic when Tolfrey saved well from Bryan.
Almost immediately after the interval Hammond got free on goal but was unable to beat Guest. The goalkeeper also had little trouble with a Gomez twenty-yarder and when he was caught in no-man's land after clearing a long ball only as far as Hammond, his defender Paul King was in place to clear Hammond's 30-yarder off the line. Meanwhile Tolfrey made a fine save from substitute Ryan Blackman.
The frustration continued for Ks. A Casey cross deflected through to Alex Addai but his shot lacked power. Just as fans were beginning to despair though, the breakthrough came eight minutes from time. Gomez dribbled past two players and then beat Guest with a low twenty-yarder; the goalkeeper didn't move, suggesting a slight deflection might have caught him out.
Ks could have wrapped the game up two minutes later. A fine cross from the livewire Addai, enjoying arguably his best game for the club, found Charlie Penny but his header deflected wide.
And there was to be no easy finish for Ks. Tolfrey did superbly to tip a powerful volley over and then Connor Mead lashed narrowly over. Ks held on for a deserved win though, and now turn their attention to the vital six-pointer at Imber Court next week.
Match report by Simon Grier.