Kingstonian: Harper hails ugly win at Tonbridge

Kingstonian: Harper hails ugly win at Tonbridge

On a roll: Ks striker Nathaniel Pinney has now scored a goal in each of his last three appearances

In form: Kingstonian's Andre McCollin scored his side's second goal in an all action display

First published in Non-League by

Ks assistant manager Graham Harper defended a smash-and-grab display at Tonbridge Angels on Saturday, a 2-0 victory which preserved the team’s unbeaten start to the season.

While a first ever win at Longmead should have been an occasion for unqualified satisfaction, this was a surprisingly disjointed showing, typified by a Ks midfield struggling for shape and cohesion.

“It wasn’t tactics,” said Harper.

“It’s just how the game ended up being. We didn’t go out to sit back and hit on the break. We’re better than that.

"I believe we’ll be a good match for every side in this league so we’d never go out with that negative attitude because the players we’ve got are too good to do that.

“It just got a bit scrappy. We were just saying to the lads, ‘look, at this level of football you’re very rarely going to go away from home and pass the side off the pitch’.

"And when you haven’t got the ball and you’re soaking it up for 20 minutes, we’ve done exactly what we asked the players to do: stay tight, stay together and see the win through.”

Indeed, with 14 points from six games, it would be churlish to suggest that new manager Tommy Williams’ start has been anything but excellent.

But questions remain over the balance of the midfield and ball-retention – areas in which Ks struggled under former boss Alan Dowson.

Where there are no doubts is upfront, where Andre McCollin has been in stunning form.

And Nathaniel Pinney, who got his first start of the season alongside McCollin, duly rewarded Williams’ faith with the critical first-half goal.

A neat move put McCollin clear and, having lost control of the ball, he still managed to 'tackle-pass' the ball to Pinney in the box.

The former Crystal Palace striker then befuddled the keeper by toe-poking into the net at the near post rather than rasping it across goal.

But Tonbridge, with former K’s winger Dee Okojie flickering intermittently, dominated the rest of the match, forcing Alan Inns and Sam Page into producing a superb defensive performance.

Amid the pressure and the clearances, it was K’s who scored the sucker-punch second 15 minutes from time.

A Rob Tolfrey kick caused panic in the ever-shaky Angels backline and McCollin, falling to the ground, made enough contact to squeeze the ball into the far corner.

K’s host Bury Town on Monday evening before playing Hendon at home next Saturday on Non League Day.

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