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Kingstonian 2-1 Croydon Athletic

Two new signings and two old favourites returning from injury gave a refreshed feel to Kingstonian's line-up against bottom club Croydon Athletic. It was not matched by a refreshed performance, at least in a dire first half, although Ks were persistent and improved throughout the match before a Bobby Traynor strike gave them a much needed win.

A new look midfield of Bashiru Alimi, Mo Harkin and Nicky Greene may have been expected to improve Ks' passing game. Into the wind in the first half though, this was empathically not the case. The home side were desperately unable to retain possession, let alone fashion a chance, and as half time approached, they had recorded some two hours without a shot on target in this game and the debacle against Concord.

By this point they were also a goal down. The lack of pace in the Ks side was exposed as, not for the first time in recent weeks, they conceded from their own corner. Harkin misjudged the bounce of a clearance leaving only Dean Hamlin left standing between three Croydon players and Rob Tolfrey's goal. Shabazz Baidoo teed Danny Elgar up to round the goalkeeper and tap in for a simple finish.

Baidoo forced a Tolfrey save midway through the half and then turned the rebound wide but shortly before the break, Ks equalised in controversial circumstances. The timing could not have been better, even if the goal could have.

Max Hustwick headed right across The Rams' box, Paul Vines' header found Joe Dolan and his scrambled miskick was adjudged to have crossed the line before Charlie Mitten clawed it away. Athletic were furious, with Helge Orome and skipper Tom Hughes both booked following a 40 yard sprint to harangue the linesman, while Mitten joined them in the referee's notepad for continuing the debate during the interval.

Thankfully, the second half was much improved as a spectacle, with Ks largely the better side. Vines fired over from distance right as the half began, before clearing the bar with a volley in a one-on-one situation after latching onto a Tolfrey goal kick which caught the wind.

Traynor turned neatly in the box but fired wide and Adam Thompson had a header saved before Tolfrey denied Baidoo during a rare visiting attack. Alimi burst into the box and hit the angle of the woodwork before Greene headed over from a corner as Ks ramped up the pressure.

On 72 minutes, Alan Dowson switched from 5-3-2 to 4-4-2, looking to use Sam Clayton and Antonio Gonella to provide extra width. Just seven minutes later the winner came, although ironically it was after Gonnella had drifted into a central position. He threaded the ball to Traynor whose expert first touch created him space to shoot before he fired low and hard across Mitten to put Ks a goal to the good. Elgar and ex-K Tom Bolorinwa had late chances to salvage a point for The Rams but the former fired over and Tolfrey denied the latter to give Ks a vital, confidence-boosting win.

Sun 6th Feb 2011
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Isthmian League Premier
Dolan, Traynor
Croydon Athletic1
1Rob Tolfrey
2Dean Hamlin
3Tom BirdCautioned
4Adam Thompson
5Joe Dolan
6Max Hustwick15
7Nicky Greene14
8Mo Harkin
9Bobby Traynor
10Paul Vines12
11Bashiru AlimiCautioned
12Allan Tait10
14Sam Clayton7
15Antonio Gonnella6
16Simon Huckle
17Nic Taylor
Match Report By
Simon Grier