Kirkley & Pakefield boss Paul Tong defends side after beating Woodbridge

Kirkley manager Paul Tong.

Kirkley manager Paul Tong. - Credit: Archant © 2012

KIRKLEY & Pakefield boss Paul Tong insists the result was all that mattered as the Royals left it late to claim a 2-1 win at home to Woodbridge on Saturday.

Kirkley got their reward for being the better side in the first period thanks to Scott Woodcock's early strike but the visitors came on strong in the second half after both sides were reduced to 10 men.

Woodbridge got the equaliser and looked the more likely to claim victory in the latter stages until Ross King popped up with a fine finish.

Tong admitted Woodbridge probably felt hard done by but believes his side got their reward for not buckling under the visitors' pressure in the second period.

'The sending off affected us more than it did them and they came on really strong,' said Tong, after Lewis Flower got his marching orders. 'It just shows you well well Lewis has been playing because we weren't the same when he went off.

'They managed to get back on level terms and then we had a bit of fortune when the ball came back off the post.

'It looked like it was going to end in a draw but we went for it – Kyle Baker got himself into the box and Ross King finished brilliantly. I'm sure Woodbridge thought it was a bit of a robbery but sometimes the result is all that matters.

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'They gave us a lesson when we were both down to 10 men but I've got nothing but praise for my lads for the way they hung in there. It was not pretty but sometimes you have to grind out results and we managed to do that.'

Tong defended his side's style of play in the second half amid criticism from some fans that they were lucky to emerge with the three points.

'You always want to play football that's pleasing on the eye but we live in the real world,' he said. 'Kirkley have thrown lots of money at it in the past and not got to where they want to be. We are now cutting our cloth accordingly – we've got a foundation of youngsters coming through that will ensure the club is on a solid footing.

'Woodbridge were the better side in the second half but goals win matches and points win leagues – that's what I've always been told as a manager.

'You have got to score goals when you are on top – I'm really happy with the way it's going. Of course we want to finish in the top six but we are a young side that's still learning the game in many respects.'

Tong reserved special praise for matchwinner King, who has been a revelation since joining the club last summer.

'He is great for us to have both on and off the pitch,' said the Royals' chief. 'He has made such a difference and the younger lads look up to him – that's why we signed him. I knew what he could do for us in terms of goals and the way he leads off the field.'

Tong believes his side need just two more wins to ensure they remain in the Premier Division next season – his minimum target.

'I said to the lads before Saturday that we need three wins – we do not want to be dragged into a relegation fight.

'The lads have got to just keep doing what they are doing – they're doing all right.'

• With the first team's fixture at Hadleigh having been called off due to their involvement in the FA Vase, the spotlight falls on the Reserves tomorrow in the Mummery Cup semi-final against Acle United takes place.

The match is at Walmer Road with a 1.30pm kick off.

In the Gary Bennett Lowestoft and District League, K&P A are away at Corton Seltic at Corton village, in division one, while K&P B have a top-of-the-table clash in division two against Mutford and Wrentham at Walmer Road.

Both games kick off at 2pm.