K’s Gain Morale-Boosting Away Win
Before their promotion to the Ryman Premier least season, Witham Town weren't notable for their on-field activity. They've never made it to the first round of the FA Cup (though they came close this year) and had never scaled the dizzy heights of step three. Their most notable footballing achievement is that Olly Murs used to play for them. (For readers unfamiliar with Olly Murs, don't worry, you're not missing much.) And so it was, to Witham Town’s Village Glass Stadium that Ks descended on Tuesday evening, in desperate search of The X Factor to kick start their season – it wasn’t easy (upon seeing Tommy Williams’ side’s 2-1 half time deficit, a few supporters’ hearts may have skipped a beat), but they returned from Essex with a 3-2 victory.
Pico Gomez returned to the starting lineup after a hamstring injury, operating in a more advanced role, just off the hard-working Elvis Hammond. Dan Sweeney moved instead and both he and Gomez caused aerial problems for the hosts all evening. It was Gomez’s nuisance-factor that gave Ks the lead. Witham’s goalkeeper Martytn Guest was cocksure from the moment he entered the pitch, goading the travelling Ks’ support while taking goalkicks and collected crossing, but his swagger cost his side as he received an (admittedly poor backpass) and tried to dribble around Gomez. Gomez was able to tackle Guest and between three defenders, prod the ball into the gaping net.
The lead lasted just five minutes as Witham struck twice before the interval. Colossal striker Luke Callander’s presence caused problems for Alan Inns and Sam Page all evening, and after being afforded too much room in the penalty area he had the time to curl the ball past Rob Tolfrey, off both posts(!) and in. Five minutes before the interval, Witham edged ahead as Lewis Godbold was afforded the freedom of the K’s penalty area from a Kane Farrell’s free kick, he made no mistake, heading past Tolfrey to put his side in front.
Kingstonian started the second period on the front foot, and dominated for much the half. Chris Henry’s curling effort hit the top of the bar before Sweeney smashed the ball against the post from close range. Eventually, Kingstonian were given a golden opportunity to equalise. Damien Green’s sliding tackle seemed unnecessary with Hammond only getting the byline, but it was enough to earn a spot kick. Guest, whose swagger had returned after his side took the lead was able to get two hands on Gomez’s penalty, but couldn’t keep him out, which shut Guest up for a bit.
Eventually Ks’ dominance showed 13 minutes from time. A dinked ball into the area was taken town by Gomez into the path of Hammond, who made no mistake, poking the ball past Guest to secure a crucial three points, for the sake of the league table, and morale. Ks were pretty much untroubled from that point, as the visiting fans sung them home with a seemingly never-ending rendition of ‘Kingston, Kingston, Kingston…’ Eventually the final whistle came, greeted with celebration but mainly, relief. They can manufacture TV talent contests all they like, it’s got nothing on a Ks’ win.
Match report by Jamie Cutteridge.