No sooner had Kingstonian marched to the top of the league than they came back down again with a heavy defeat at Wealdstone on Monday night.
The descent to sixth place was all the more painful for being unexpected after going two goals up at The Vale with 18 minutes on the clock.
It looked like being another fine victory for Alan Dowson’s team but a defensive collapse meant the game ended 5-2 to the home side – and it could have been an even heavier reverse.
‘Frightening’ was Ks manager Alan Dowson’s description of his side’s defending.
‘We’re a great team going forward but we’ve had the same problems for the last two years defensively and I’ve got to fix that quickly,’ he said.
‘It was laughable at the end…Their attacking play was frightening but our defending was frightening too.
‘Our full-backs made mistakes, our two central midfielders were sliced open at times, and our wide players, you could see how many times their left-back got past our right-winger [Goma Lambu].
‘Hopefully it was a blip and we’ll work on it and maybe go back to having [Matt] Somner and [Simon] Huckle in there.’
Ks right-back Aaron Goode, who was lucky not to be sent off for repeated fouling, summed up the mood on Twitter: ‘Woke up this morning still thinking about last night. Worst I’ve EVA played. Trust me, that will never happen again.’
Ks had lost their previous five matches against the Stones but the pacy, fearless strike partnership of Andre McCollin and Wade Small spent the opening period providing hope the poor run might come to an end.
First, Andre McCollin won a 50-50 in the box and made space for a shot that rifled into the net after just three minutes. Then, after Small had stretched the home defensive, centre-back Gary MacDonald converted a header straight from a corner to make it two.
That was as good as it got for Kingstonian as once again the prolific Richard Jolly inspired a fightback – with a little help from Ks goalkeeper Rob Tolfrey, who could only parry Peter Dean’s header into Jolly’s path who finished with ease.
There was nothing Tolfrey could do about Wealdstone’s equaliser on the half-hour, Alex Dyer curling a beautiful free-kick into the top corner.
Suddenly Ks were a shambles in midfield, Dowson’s decision to rest Matt Somner and Dean Lodge backfiring as Wealdstone made it 3-2, Dean mis-hitting a shot that found the net.
Kingstonian attacked down the slope in the second-half but the introduction of Huckle couldn’t stem the flow.
A Lee Chappell header made it 4-2 before substitute Nathan Webb ended a mazy run with a close-range shot to make it five.
There was still time for Dean Lodge to miss a penalty for Ks, won by the enterprising Sam Clayton whose strike was handballed on the line.
Ks travel to Lowestoft Town on Saturday.