Kingstonian's Abbott hails solid defensive showing at Canvey Island (From Richmond and Twickenham Times)
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Kingstonian's Abbott hails solid defensive showing at Canvey Island
9:00am Monday 12th August 2013 in Football
By Jamie Cutteridge
Kingstonian’s new assistant manager, Gary Abbott, hailed a "magnificent" defensive effort as his side held on for an impressive 1-0 opening day win at Canvey Island.
Despite playing with 10 men for most of the second half, Ks secured "a massive three points" thanks to heroics from goalkeeper Rob Tolfrey and a defensive performance that was instantly a massive improvement on last season.
Abbott said that the priority in pre-season was "to build a solid back four. We aim to keep a clean sheet and we work on that because we know we’ll score goals."
He picked out the performances of debutants Sam Page and Matthew Drage.
The giant pair, who previously played together at Staines Town, formed a central defensive rock on which the win was built.
The three points were secured through a 15th minute Andre McCollin penalty, who nonchalantly rolled the ball home from the spot after Marcus Moody was tripped in the area by Rob Bartley.
Moody’s foray was a rare moment of relief for the Ks’ backline in a first half where Canvey midfielder Jay Curran bombarded their goal and did everything but score.
He was twice sharply denied by Tolfrey before hitting the post from point-blank range.
Moody was again at the heart of the key moment of the second half, tangling with Simon Thomas as he was through on goal, earning himself a red card and the hosts a penalty.
Thomas’s resulting spot-kick was weak and comfortable for Tolfrey; however the keeper's follow-up save from Curran – picking himself up, flinging himself across the goal to tip the ball around the post – was nothing short of extraordinary.
In truth, it was the last time Tolfrey was truly tested as McCollin and former-Sutton captain Tommy Kavanagh forced smart saves from Dale Brightly at the other end as the newly-battle-hardened Ks’ backline held firm.
"The lads worked their nuts off today," added Abbott.
"More than anything else, we ask them to work hard when it’s not going well; they really dug in for the three points."
Such a stifling performance shouldn’t be expected from the side as the season progresses, however.
"We want to be positive," promised the former Welling striker.
"Today we found out a lot about the boys – we think we’ve got a team to go and get promotion."
On form: Rob Tolfrey was in inspired form at Canvey Island SP70840
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