Wounded K's looking for revenge against league leaders
Ryman League leaders Billericay Town travel to the Kingsmeadow to take on resurgent Kingstonian on Saturday 31st March, and Blues chairman Steve Kent knows his table topping side are in for a tough match against a side looking for revenge.
The K’s started the season in shocking form and lost 6-0 to the Blues at the New Lodge in September 2011, a result that ensured manager Alan Dowson’s team would suffer their worst defeat in 31 years.
And the idea of Kingstonian exacting revenge on the league leaders whilst boosting their chances of making the playoffs is not lost on Kent.
He said: “Kingstonian are in good form at the moment and I’m sure they will be putting in that little bit extra to try and avenge the 6-0 loss at the New Lodge.
“We are well aware that this is going to be a very hard game for us.”
The K’s go into the game looking to avoid back to back defeats after losing 3-2 to playoff rivals Lowestoft Town. Before that game, Kingstonian went five games without defeat, and the team will be looking to get back to winning ways.
Kingstonian’s poor early season form saw them sit disappointingly in the bottom half of the table. However good form in 2012 has lifted the K’s into ninth place and with a realistic chance of making the playoffs.
And Kent admitted the K’s return to form has not been surprising: “I was a bit shocked at the poor results Kingstonian had in the early part of the season, because they are normally one of the stronger sides in the division.
“It’s no surprise to see them surging up the table now.”
In 2012 the K’s have won eight games out of a possible 15, only losing three on the way.
Kingstonian are five points behind Hendon in the fifth and final playoff place and Saturday’s match against Billericay will be a good chance to prove defeat to Lowestoft was a mere blip in their resurrection.
K’s striker Bobby Traynor notched his fourth goal in four games during the defeat and K’s boss Dowson will be hoping that the 14 goal top scorer will be able to add to his tally against a side who have got the second best defence in the league.
And if Dowson wants to continue his sides late push for the playoffs, he’ll also need his defenders to perform better, after two sloppy goals and a penalty ultimately confined them to defeat in midweek.
Before the trip to Lowestoft however, the K’s had not conceded more than one goal in the league since the surprise 3-0 defeat at home by relegation candidates Leatherhead.
Recording a clean sheet against the Blues could be a tall order, with Billericay having the highest goals for stat in the league at a handsome 75.
Kingstonian could still be without injured defensive midfielder Bashiru Alimi, who has not featured since the 1-1 draw with Bury on the 11th March.
In their last three games, Billericay, who are now 4/11 favourites to clinch the title, are undefeated, having scored nine goals and conceding none.
Kent believes that the reason for his sides surprise success this season, which has seen them take seven more points at this stage of the season then they did for the whole of the 2010-11 season, is down to team spirit.
Kent said: “The dressing room has remained united. When there is such a tight group you have no option but to fit in or ship out.
“The lads are in it together and they trust each other. You just can’t buy that.”
Billericay manager Craig Edwards’s side have won three games in a row and he could have the same starting line-up for the third consecutive game.
The team has no new injury or suspension woes and Edwards will be looking to top goal scorer Jay May to add to his 15 goals this season, including one against the K’s back in the 6-0 thrashing in September
After that disappointing result, Dowson said: “All I can do is apologise for what has been a disastrous start to the season so far.
“Some of the stick I have been getting is fair and I accept and respect that.
“To resign after some mistakes would be stupid and is not something I am considering.”
But that was then and this is now, and Saturday’s test could prove just how far Kingstonian have come since the talk of resignation and underachievement that haunted the Kingsmeadow.
Billericay have only lost four games in the Ryman League throughout the whole season, but three of those games have come away from the New Lodge and with both teams in such solid form, a draw or narrow away win seems likely.