Alan Dowson called it “two points dropped” in the fight for promotion but Paul Vines’ late equaliser in the 1-1 draw at Enfield Town on Saturday may prove crucial come the end of the season.
Teams making the Ryman Premier playoffs rarely lose more than 10 times. This would have been Ks’ eighth loss of the league season, with a run of difficult fixtures to come.
Just as the afternoon had looked like ending in a disappointing 1-0 defeat, after numerous missed chances and unjustly ignored penalty shouts, Kingstonian finally got their reward in the last minute when Vines swept the ball in with his left foot after a scrap for the ball in the box.
“I’ve never been so frustrated in all my life,” said manager Dowson.
“The players were absolutely fantastic but we’ve had up to 14 chances today. Vinesy scored his hardest chance, Andre [McCollin] missed a couple of sitters, so did [Matt] Pattison.
“We scored nine last week. I wish we’d scored five and kept some over for today. I just have to put it down to a bad day at the office, forward-wise.”
Town took the lead in the 30th minute when Lewis Taylor clumsily brought down Mark Henry and 39-year-old Scott McGleish calmly dispatched the penalty past a wrong-footed Rob Tolfrey.
The famous old Southbury Road ground of the defunct Enfield FC, sadly sold off in 1999, has been reduced to an ersatz American diner. But fan-owned Town have resurrected football in the borough, moving to the Queen Elizabeth II athletics stadium, complete with its original 1930s art deco cafe and revamped with terraces behind the goals in front of the track.
But there was only one team making the running on Saturday as Enfield struggled to cope with Ks' pace and power.
Vines and McCollin were the major culprits as move after move ended in wayward strikes.
Life should have got easier early in the second half when Joe O’Brien was sent off for a professional foul, the defender hauling down McCollin when the striker was clean through.
But Ks lost their own shape before Dean Lodge appeared from the bench to stretch a ragged looking Town defence.
The winger should have won a penalty ten minutes from time but the referee inexplicably gave a free-kick three yards outside the box.
As the pressure built, Noel Imber made two exceptional saves to deny Matt Pattison before Vines at last took a chance cleanly to level the scores.
Ks head to Brighton on Tuesday night to play the controversial rearranged fixture with leaders Whitehawk before third-placed Canvey Island visit Kingsmeadow next Saturday.