First Ever K’s Win at Tonbridge
On paper this trip to Tonbridge looked like being an uphill struggle from start to finish. Not only had K’s never won at Longmead but a peloton of K’s fans (OK, Alex Beard and I) decided to cycle the 60km from Kingston, touring foolishly via Kent’s infamous Saltbox Hill, a 16% gradient which has broken lesser athletes.
But just as we dug deep and conquered the Saltbox (with a little help from our granny gear, a banana and only the occasional swear word) so this K’s team, faced with a Steve McKimm side boasting a 100% record at home this season, shifted gear to come away with three points, climbing to 5th in the process.
Like our wobbly ascent, it wasn’t always convincing. The Angels applied almost constant pressure, albeit without creating clear-cut chances; and the K’s midfield, so imperious last season, has yet to click this term (could Tommy Kavanagh and Steve Laidler be posing the Gerrard/Lampard conundrum?).
Nathaniel Pinney got his first start of the season and duly rewarded Tommy Williams with the critical first-half goal. A neat move put Andre McCollin clear who, having lost control of the ball, still managed to tackle-pass the ball to Pinney in the box. The former Crystal Palace striker befuddled the keeper by toe-poking into the net at the near post rather than rasping it across goal.
Tonbridge, with former K’s winger Dee Okojie flickering intermittently, dominated the rest of the match. Alan Inns and Sam Page were immense, while Josh Casey needs to be careful – any more left-back performances like this and he’ll be stuck there for the rest of the season.
Amid the pressure and the clearances, it was K’s who scored the sucker-punch second. A Rob Tolfrey kick caused panic in the ever-shaky Angels backline and McCollin, falling to the ground, made enough contact to squeeze the ball (slowly) into the far corner.
So K’s remain unbeaten after six league games. We can only hope it’s not all downhill from here.