Grier's Guide to the 2015-16 Season
Simon Grier’s latest look back at past seasons takes us to 2015-16, where Tommy Williams’ secured some silverware but fell short of the playoffs.
The 2015-16 season was Tommy Williams’ second in charge of Ks and fans were keen to see a promotion push after a midtable finish the previous term. Set to lead the charge was Richard Jolly, a legendary non-league striker who a couple of years previously had fired Wealdstone to the league title. Ks would start the season without Rob Tolfrey in goal though – the number 1 was still serving a suspension for a fracas with a Bognor fan the previous season, so Elvijs Putnins deputised for the first five games.
The season started disappointingly though, with Ks going down 2-1 at Leiston despite Pico Gomez giving them an early lead and then Leatherhead cruising to a 3-0 win at Kingsmeadow.
Ks bounced back with a remarkable 7-0 home win over Met Police, Dan Bennett scoring a hat-trick, but Ks’ form remained frustratingly inconsistent. Jolly hung up his boots after just five games and despite Tolfrey returning, Dulwich handed Ks another 3-0 defeat at Kingsmeadow on the August bank holiday.
Wins over Harrow, VCD and Canvey got the season moving though, with Ricky Sappleton’s physical presence adding a new dimension to the Ks attack. Ks got past Farnborough, 3-2 in a replay, in an entertaining FA Cup tie but suffered a poor loss in the next round, Dunstable Town adding their name to the long list of cup embarrassments for Ks.
League form remained strong though – by the time Alan Inns had headed the only goal of the game at home to Enfield it marked 12 league games without defeat and even though a number of those had been draws, including a 2-2 with Billericay where future signing Tom Derry equalised for the visitors, it meant Ks were well in contention.
Met Police eventually broke the unbeaten run but Ks bounced back at Lewes where a late brace from Sappleton led to delirium on the terraces. Ks also managed a short FA Trophy run, thrashing Leatherhead 5-1 and beating Dorchester Town in a replay after drawing 2-2 away in tough conditions, before eventually going down to a strong Truro team.
Ks were rocked over Christmas though with a 4-1 home defeat to East Thurrock followed up with a 5-1 hammering at Dulwich and a 3-1 loss to Alan Dowson’s Hampton.
Welcome back Andre!
Williams needed to breathe life back into the season and he did just that by bringing popular striker Andre McCollin back to the club. It took him just three minutes to make an impact, scoring away to Burgess Hill and later adding a second in a 3-1 win. He scored nine in his first nine games, with further braces in a 4-2 win over Needham Market and an Alan Turvey Trophy semi-final at Wingate and Finchley that Ks won on penalties thanks to heroics from Tolfrey.
Ks were looking good and kept right in the promotion hunt with a 5-2 win over Harrow and a 4-0 victory over Brentwood. Even after a poor 4-0 loss at Enfield they bounced straight back with an impressive 4-1 win over Hampton.
Turvey glory but league frustration
Faversham Town were the opponents for the Alan Turvey Trophy final, at Carshalton’s Colston Avenue, and Ks brushed the Ryman One North side aside 5-0, McCollin scoring from the spot but Bennett the star of the show with two goals and an assist.
Ks were jubilant but failed to kick on and secure a playoff place, after a bleak goalless draw at soon-to-be-relegated Brentwood and defeats in their last four. The season finished with a 3-1 defeat at Merstham, Fabio Saraiva and Tutu Henriques both scoring against Ks for the Hayden Bird-managed side. Ks finished up in seventh place, eight points shy of Dulwich in the final playoff berth, but Williams’ side had shown promise and would have another crack the following season.