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Cheltenham Town 1-0 Kingstonian

The second game in the trilogy saw K's take an almost full strength team to Whaddon Road for the league game. This of course was the least important game to K's so some were wondering why Chapple should play such a side. There are two schools of thought. 1) Chapple wanted to win the game so that Cheltenham had to still fight for the league and so might not have put in so much effort on Saturday. 2) Chapple wanted to beat Cheltenham to further his increasingly worrying rapport with Rusdhen and Diamonds. Either way, a near full team was playing. The notable exception being Kofi Nyamah of all people playing in Matt Crossley's shirt and his position!

In the fourteenth minute Scott Corbett committed an atrocious foul on Brough though escaped a booking. It was clear that the youngster was to be the ball winner tonight, and he could afford to be, being unlikely to make the starting eleven on Saturday. However bad his challenges had been, he certainly did not deserve the first of a number of sickening Grayson challenges. This one was an elbow to the head. Grayson had already made himself unpopular at Kingsmeadow and he did nothing to favour himself to the travelling contingent. Still, Jerome John got us thinking of more immediate matters when he came and missed a cross with no excuse of the pitch's slope to help him.

K's first real chance was exciting. Tarkan Mustafa put over a typically deep cross which Mark Harris connected with. His header fell into the path of Rattray who fired a left foot volley but it struck a defender on the way and went off for a corner. The resulting corner hilariously hit the roof, the floor and then The Doc on the head. Nice.

Nyamah started off looking anything but Crossley-esque. On one notable occasion he was beaten on the half way line and then ran to the touch line to cover the winger. There was no winger. Strange lad. He then proceeded to give away a corner. And it was from this corner that a penalty was given. It was unclear from where we were standing what it was for. The referee seemed to imply it was for a Harris impingement pushing down on a striker whilst going up for a header. It seemed equally as unclear to the home fans. What was clear though, was that Patterson again took his remonstrations too far and was booked for this. Grayson of all people took the penalty. He stuck it fiercly to the roof of the net and gave Jerome no chance, though he did get close to it.

Neil Grayson then took up his usual sport of diving. He saw Colin Luckett's foot and fell over it gaining excellent scores from the judges, particularly the referee who then booked Luckett. Shocking. The resulting free kick was cleverly taken by the home side yet they only received a corner for their efforts. From this corner the ball seemed to stay stationary in the six yard box for more time than it takes to say "Oi, Grayson, you're a c**t", before Rattray cleared the ball away.

Cheltenham were clearly more fired up for this, as they should have been really, and it was somewhat of a surpirse when K's were on the attack. Delton Francis still looks somewhat of a rough diamond, with rough being the operative word. His pacy runs looked threatening but all too often fizzled out to nothing, though he did win a number of corners. At the other end Jerome John had to intercept the ball from Duff. Then it was back to the Grayson we know and hate when he was seen to stamp on Simon Stewart while he lay strewn on the floor. Understandably the defender was somewhat against this, and perhaps this should have been Grayson's second booking. As it stood, it wasn't even his first. Howells later joined in the clan as he twice elbowed Mustafa on the same challenge. Quite extraordinary. Again the foul went unnoticed.

As half time approached Francis put in a good shot which was comfortably saved by Book who was in no mood to give away goals today. Then the fasaad of half time. The travelling contingent of 24 fans - that's a ratio of 1:133 - were not segregated and so moved to the other end away from the home fans moving to the other end. But the K's-ites were then told they couldn't go in the other end. Oh dear. The view looked very bad from outside of the stadium before 'Bravo 1' steward eventually saw sense from his superior.

Perhaps the referee was told at half time about the fouling ways of Grayson because he was booked for a most innocuous looking challenge straight after the break. But the striker then showed his unquestioned ability as he went very close with a good header. It's a shame his dirty ways stop him from being one of the best players in the league. Throughout the game Leworthy was playing well and running hard, and typically producing the kind of touches that just can't be learnt. Certainly not by Brook anyway who (again) mis-kicked one of his clearances and saw the ball go no more than a foot away from Rattray on the edge of the area.

A surprise substitution saw Wayne Brown play in Luckett's place, an action synonymous with throwing in the towel. But we do love him. Rattray picked up a booking when challenging Milton and sending him to the floor writhing in agony. He received his booking and as soon as he did so the substitute was up to take the free kick, bouncing around like a sprightly young lamb.

K's were by no means being out played and could have got an equaliser when Delton Francis went on a run and more realistically when the ball sat up for ages in front of Scott Corbett who just couldn't direct his shot accurately enough.

Then a site that can't be repeated much in British Football - Wayne Brown was decked. The challenge by Bailey was disgustingly late and, it goes without saying, went unpunished. Tarkan Mustafa had a good game tonight, defending almost as much as attacking, none more critical than when he intercepted possession off Bailey following a neat pass from Howells. Milton, clearly showing no signs of his earlier injury put in a thunderous shot just minutes later, just moments before Howells fired in a cracker. Scott Corbett then had to leave the pitch picking up an injury and Eddie took to the fray.

Simon Stewart was the next to receive a booking following deceptive diving, this time by Duff. Stewart told him to get up but the man-of-the-match refused to and Stewart's booking stood. Then came Francis' best chance. He chased onto a ball and, despite being kicked in the chest by Banks, managed to carry the ball onward. However, he was forced too wide and his shot was easy for Book to cover.

K's had a chance from a free-kick near the edge of the area and to the left after Akuamoah had been fouled. In Pitcher's absence, Patterson took it and put it over. As the game ended Harris committed an awful challenge on Duff but the party atmosphere was beginning as news of Rushden's defeat was breaking through.

The game finished 1-0 and Cheltenham are as good as promoted. But all bodes well for Saturday. With the travelling hundreds behind the K's and with a full strength team playing and meaning it, K's shouldn't be too worried about over turning the Gloucestershire side. Of course, a more adept referee would help. But the fact remains that K's only lost today to a goal scored from a disputed penalty. Good luck to Cheltenham in league football, but K's will be the team going to Wembley.

Tue 13th Apr 1999
Football Conference
Cheltenham Town1
1Jerome John
2Tarkan Mustafa
3Colin LuckettCautioned14
4Kofi Nyamah
5Simon StewartCautioned
6Mark Harris
7Gary PattersonCautioned
8Scott Corbett12
9Kevin RattrayCautioned
10David Leworthy
11Delton Francis
12Eddie Akuamoah8
14Wayne Brown3
15Mike Lester
Man of the Match
David Leworthy
David Leworthy
Match Report By
Gary Ekins