Ks counting on lucky seven to make play-offs

Wimbledon Guardian: Stretching for it: Ks striker Ryan Moss cannot quite convert against AFC Hornchurch Stretching for it: Ks striker Ryan Moss cannot quite convert against AFC Hornchurch

Midfielder Josh Casey has revealed Kingstonian are aiming for seven more wins this season after a tight 1-1 draw at home to AFC Hornchurch on Saturday.

That’s the team's target to make the Ryman Premier League play-off places at the end of April, with 11 matches left to play.

Casey, a corporate tax accountant, is in a better position than most to do the maths as the season reaches its climax.

Having arrived from struggling Bashley in the autumn, the left-sided player has been K’s most consistent performer over a hard winter, which saw the club drop from league leaders to seventh in the table.

“It’s a long season and we were always going to have a blip,” Casey said of the expanded 46-match league campaign.

“Hopefully that’s over now and we can finish strongly. I think it will take seven more wins.”

Hornchurch came to Kingsmeadow occupying fifth place, just three points ahead of the Ks, and took an early lead through a George Purcell penalty, Daniel Sweeney having tripped the prolific striker in the box.

That seemed to deflate the home team, who were poor until half-time.

Manager Alan Dowson had started with five in midfield, including new signing Steve Laidler, who arrived from Farnborough for a nominal fee.

But it was Casey who helped drag Ks back into the game after the break, cutting inside from the left, passing intelligently and pressing higher up the pitch.

While sections of the main stand appeared frustrated at the 4-5-1 adopted by Dowson, Casey stressed that too much can be made of starting formations.

“You can have a defensive 4-4-2 just as much as an attacking 4-4-2,” he said.

“What makes the difference is how well the team plays and how high up the pitch we have possession.”

As Ks started to make inroads, the pressure paid off when striker Ryan Moss was brought down for a certain penalty.

With regular spot-kick taker Andre McCollin on the bench, Moss took it himself, stroking the ball decisively across the goalkeeper on the hour for his 21st goal of the season.

For the last 30 minutes, it was all Kingstonian and Casey could have helped win the game when he robbed a Hornchurch player of possession to set up Moss on the edge of the box.

But Moss's drive hit a covering defender’s heel and flashed just wide.

“We knew if we were open, like we were against Billericay, when we played 4-4-2, we’d get undone,” said Dowson.

“Second-half we were outstanding. Today was a 'must not get beat' game. I’m delighted with a point. There’s 11 games to go and we’re well in the hunt.”

Ks remain three points off the play-offs and travel to Bury Town, bottom of the form guide, on Tuesday night before a trip to Lewes next Saturday.

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