1. Following the six-goal thriller against a good Margate side, and with K’s missing McCollin and Lodge, perhaps it was no surprise that this game had an after the Lord Mayor’s show feel to it. But the tame, comfortable second half was only possible as a result of Kingstonian starting the game with the sort of intent, purpose and controlled aggression that’s been lacking from the kick-off in the four games so far. Up to now, K’s have grown stronger as the game has gone on, but I’m not sure a Leiston player managed to pass the ball to a teammate during the opening 15 minutes, such was the dominance of territory and possession by those in red and white hoops. The first goal was only a matter of time as long as K’s continued to play all the football, spreading the ball from wing to wing at will.
2. But once the goal did arrive, Leiston seemed to wake up and K’s switched off just enough to allow them back into the game. On another day, despite bossing the half overall, Kingstonian could have gone in at half time with the score at 1-1: a thunderous Leiston strike hit the bar, and it took a real defensive clanger for K’s to score the second goal. It served as a reminder that if Dowson’s boys are really going to challenge this season, the players are going to have to learn to be more ruthless.
3. How good was this performance, then? There can be no doubt that Leiston were poor: in the first half, playing direct, uncompromising football they were fairly dangerous going forward but clearly vulnerable at the back; in the second half, they tightened up and passed the ball at a lower tempo but lost any offensive threat as a result. The big positive is that Kingstonian didn’t have to get out of second gear to record a comfortable three points, something that simply didn’t happen last season. If K’s can find top gear a little more regularly (and the return of Lodge and McCollin will help with that) they could be a very, very good side. But the pessimist’s view is that K’s have played some of the poorer teams in the division so far, conceded 7 goals in the first 5 games in the process and looked altogether less of a threat following the loss of just two players to injury and suspension. Personally, I’m in the glass half-full camp at the moment: it’s much easier for a manager to resolve a wobbly defence via coaching than to inject flair and creativity into a side. If the players keep scoring, they’ll keep winning.
4. Playing football on Sundays instead of Saturdays doesn’t feel any more right than standing at the Athletics End looking at a blue-seated monstrosity instead of a brick-backed terrace. But it does certainly attract some of those who are otherwise engaged on Saturdays, hence the decent gate (for us these days, anyway).
5. On that subject, I brought three people who’d never been to Kingsmeadow along to the game. All three of them enjoyed themselves, surprised at the “actually pretty good” level of football on display and liking the fact they were so close to the action. One of them was even barracking the opposition centre-forward by the 50 minute mark, so has obvious potential as a Kingstonian fan of the future. Despite all these positives, it was still a reality check in terms of the value of the ‘product’ on show: the shocked and slightly appalled look on each and every one of their faces when told the admission price acted as a real eye-opener. One of them even said, “no, I said one adult, not two” to the turnstile operator when she asked for his tenner. Is it any wonder that gates are low when the general public expect the price to be HALF of what it actually is?
Man of the Match: Matt Pattison – managed to find space in a congested midfield, used the ball intelligently and scored a good goal. He displayed that extra bit of individual class that no player wearing blue possessed, and looked the best player on the pitch as a result.
Key Moment: Pattison’s goal, K’s third, which arrived just after Leiston thought they’d got themselves back into the game. Suddenly, it was all over.
Away Fans: 1/10. They may very well have been invisible and/or mute, but I saw 1 (ONE) paying Leiston punter cheer when they scored. I’m sure they’re a lovely club and all that, but there were more Bognor supporters present, and that says it all. No doubt they will lap up the cash from the 50-100 visiting K’s fans at the reverse fixture.