The House of Payne - From Clough, to Mourinho to Dowson, they all know the value of a clean sheet
All of the great football managers have always had one thing in common – they have recognised the value of a clean sheet.
From Brian Clough, who used to say he would shoot his granny for one, through to Jose Mourinho, the master of the 1-0 win, successful bosses have always prided themselves on stopping the opposition from scoring.
I am sure Kingstonian manager Alan Dowson will have been a touch disappointed to have lost top spot in the Ryman Premier League after Tuesday night’s 0-0 draw at Harrow Borough, a side still searching for their first win.
But he will have taken great encouragement from the fact that Ks have started their campaign with four consecutive clean sheets.
If you take into account that, last season, it took them until January to record their fourth and that they only achieved it seven times in all in the league that season, it is some achievement.
Dowson has shown great courage in trying to find the formula that can lead to promotion after finishes of fifth, seventh and 11th (twice) since leading Ks back to this level in 2009.
This start-of-season shut-out would not even have lasted beyond the first game had long-serving goalkeeper Rob Tolfrey not produced a remarkable double penalty stop in the opening day 1-0 win at Canvey Island.
But it has been all change in front of the 26-year-old with the giant double act of Sam Page and Matt Drage having been brought into the centre of defence.
That has allowed Dowson’s full-backs, Aaron Goode and Marcus Moody, to contribute in an attacking sense as well as defensively. Considering only Goode of the back four was with Ks last season, four clean sheets in a row is a remarkable start.
Attacking option: Kingstonian's Aaron Goode can attack, as well as defend SP74976
Of course it isn’t just the defenders who should be taking credit, three goals in each of their home games so far suggests that Dowson has also built an attacking force ready to make the most of this new-found solidity.
This year, Ks really could have the foundations for a promotion push.
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