Sweeney Strike Seals Important Win at Leiston
The enigma of Ks being so much better on the road than they are at Kingsmeadow continues, with yet another fine away result moving them back to within just three points of the playoffs.
This time Leiston were the victims - that they are a rival for the crucial fifth spot making the win all the more important - with neither the longest journey of the season nor a difficult pitch stopping Ks in their tracks.
The first half was one of little action but Ks were solid throughout, the defence well-marshalled by Alan Inns on his return from injury. Rob Tolfrey saved well from an early Darren Mills overhead and the home side had a goal chalked off for offside.
Unfortunately though the most notable incident of the first half was one that could yet have a longer-lasting effect on Ks' season. Josh Casey, surely in a two horse race with Rob Tolfrey for player of the season, briefly lost consciousness after catching a high foot and although he was soon back on his feet, albeit groggily, the large gash across his forehead seems likely to keep him out of action for at least the next couple of games.
Tolfrey made a superb save just after the break, dashing out to deny Gareth Heath after Tom Winter threaded the ball behind the defence. Ks were struggling to make an impact on the game though, not testing veteran goalkeeper Danny Gay until the 52nd minute when on-loan debutant Callum Webb shot from the corner of the box.
Just three minutes later though Ks were ahead. A cross was cleared only as far as Dan Sweeney, who had been bossing the midfield with increasing confidence, and his 20-yard strike deflected past Gay to put the visitors ahead. Somewhat uncharitably, it was awarded as an own goal to Blake Saker but the credit was all Sweeney's.
Boosted in confidence Ks enjoyed their best spell of the game and Steve Butterworth came close with a deft lob from 25 yards after an unconvincing punch from Gay. Sweeney by this point was brimming with confidence and again stung the goalkeeper's hands from the edge of the box.
Leiston were incensed when they were denied a penalty after Patrick Brothers was tripped in the box but the referee waved play on, possibly trying to make two wrongs equal a right after realising he should have blown for a foul on Tolfrey in the build-up.
Ks saw the game out professionally, Inns and Sam Page defending well and Elvis Hammond a tireless outlet holding the ball up well. Tom Bullard volleyed wide late on but Tolfrey was never seriously tested again and Ks were able to celebrate on the long journey home.
Match report by Simon Grier.