A catastrophic goalkeeping error gifted Kingstonian three points in the Royal Borough derby on Monday against Corinthian-Casuals, writes Taimour Lay.

With K’s - the Tolworth tenants - hosting their new landlords at King George’s Field, there was little to separate the two struggling sides until midway through the second-half when Casuals stopper Bradley Comins unwisely chose to attempt a Cruyff turn in his own box instead of pumping the ball clear. K’s striker Elliott Buchanan showed strength to rob him of possession and then finished from a tight angle into the unguarded net.

Casuals can count themselves unlucky not to have obtained at least a point. Warren Mfula forced a fine save from K’s keeper Rob Tolfrey in the first-half and Reece Hannigan hit the bar with a header late on.

“It’s a tough one to swallow,” said Casuals manager, James Bracken. “If you get beaten by a side that’s better than you and are clearly second best across the pitch, you can take that collectively. But when it’s an individual error, it’s very hard to get your head round it.”

But the result eases the pressure on K’s manager Leigh Dynan, who this week faced calls to quit from some disgruntled K’s fans. A defeat to Dorking Wanderers on Friday night led to prolonged protest on the terraces against the manager’s increasingly chaotic reign which has burned through dozens of players and a variety of formations with little improvement in results.

A significant investment in the playing budget this summer has yet to bear fruit but Dynan, who has overseen 21 defeats in 42 games since October 2017, appears to be digging in for the long-term.

“It’s something to build from”, he said of Monday’s three points. “We’ll get on the training pitch this week and work on a few things, and once we’re into September, we’ll have two training sessions a week and work on things to get this team functioning the way it’s meant to”.

Bracken, meanwhile, stressed the challenge for his side who, just 48 hours before the derby, dispatched Croydon 6-0 in the FA Cup preliminary round. “We’ve had 48 hours following an FA Cup tie and these lads are amateurs”, he said. “To ask anyone to play two games in 48 hours is a joke. From an FA Cup tie we can’t take lightly to a local derby and you want to perform for your fans. To put those two games together with one day’s rest is ridiculous.

“Let’s get this right; we’re three points behind K’s. If you’d have said after four games that we’ll be three points behind them, I’d have snapped your hand off. K’s are no mugs. They’re an okay side. They’ve got some big name players and they’ll score goals.”

K’s face a testing trip to Bognor Regis Town next Saturday while Casuals host Brightlingsea Regent.