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Doncaster Rovers 0-1 Kingstonian

Last season Purfleet away, this season the joys of Belle Vue. It's one hell of a contrast in the senior league of non-league football. But then Doncaster must also have noticed the contrast in their change in leagues from this time last year. So it was that the team went up were forced to play the team that went down twelve months previous. If we're realistic, none of us had really expected to have done so well in the first season in the Conference, and to be playing a meaningless end of season match is a joy. Just ask Barrow fans. Of course, being at the game wasn't so much of a joy. At least there was no chance of K's putting Donny down, which made us all feel we'd a better chance of escaping with our lives. Despite the lack of segregation. "Don't worry, the nutters go in the other stand," we were reliably informed.

Anyway, K's began the match with a near fist team. Danny Smith played his third match in a row in place of Patterson and Delton Francis, who just needs a goal, played in Eddie's position. A good number of K's fans had made the trip, and a good number of home fans had also turned out. On a glorious summer day, as the last game of the season always tends to be, it was all good.

K's started brightly. Delton Francis on the right had possession and lost the ball. But, he then won it back and beat Shaw and Warren on route to crossing to Pitcher who put in a good shot. But then it appeared that Doncaster could take the lead. Seconds after a good shot to the left of the post, Rovers were awarded a free kick just out side of the area. Shaw took the strike and curled the ball low around the wall and forced Steve Farralley to make a fantastic save diving to his right and pushing the ball away for a corner. He then did well to bravely dive at the feet of George following a crazy number of ricochets in the K's penaly area.

Just as it was looking that K's weren't going to get a look in, a free-kick was awarded as Cauldwell handled the ball after Francis had got past him. Luckett took the kick from the left of the penalty area and whipped in a curling ball. The pace of the ball meant that any contact could put it in. But Leworthy was taking no chances and his perfecto header was a joy and gave Woods no chance. A brilliant set play to put K's in the lead.

The first half was then notable for its lack of notable things. Hume's cross to Cauldwell saw the latter attempt an ambitious over head kick. Hume finished off a good move which would have been a lovely goal had he not been ten yards off side at one point. Play was quite rightly brought back. The lack of excitement lead to the "Kelly: good or bad" discussion amongst many a K's fan. As the players made the thought of staying in to watch the snooker seem appealing, the ref did his best to liven things up as he threw the ball to the floor from a drop ball which saw Rattray head it. Crazy. But it remained 1-0 at the interval and the travelling masses (sic) were happy.

If ever there was a game of two halves, it was Corinthian Casuals versus Three Bridges. But this could also be argued as being one. When the teams came out they put on their fighting caps and battle ensued. A number of bad fouls followed. The worst by K's was Luckett on Cauldwell for which he was booked. The worst for Rovers was Hume's elbow on Mark Harris. He was down for a long time injured and, despite the home fans urging the referee to "Get 'im off t'pitch", received much medical attention. Eventually he was substituted, probably as a result of this. No doubt scared by Hume's elbows, Farralley uncharacteristically fumbled when challenged by the striker in the area. Thankfully a corner was all that Doncaster one.

The Northerners in the crowd were getting vocally more unhappy as the game went on. Kirkwood's booking for kicking the ball away after the whistle had sounded didn't help this. Soon after this, Leworthy made a half chance for himself when he chased onto a long punt upfield and flicked on a header which went just wide of the left upright. It didn't worry Woods who had it well covered.

Another reason for the home fans to become more agitated came when Simon Stewart and Cauldwell's collision saw the striker sent tumbling to the ground in the area, Nothing was given. A comedy of errors occurred just after this. After a Luckett foul, the free-kick was sent into the area and was bouncing around anywhere and everywhere. No-one knew what was going on it seemed, apart, that is, from Wayne Brown who hooked the ball clear. He was later called upon to do exactly the same thing. Leading fire fighter, maybe. Great centre back, Absolutely.

More moaning occurred following a disgracefully late challenge on Luckett by Foster. It was despicable and Stewart was over there right away. Thankfully, he did not have any time to retaliate as the referee intervened quickly. Still, the incident in front of "The Nutters Stand" - a phrase sounded by the home stewards - made the home crowd think that they had been hard done by as the ref was on our side. The Rotherham based referee was as much that as Kingston is heartland of Cockneys. Most Doncaster fans would feel that he was, in that case.

K's won their first corner of the match way into the second half. But nothing could be produced. Indeed, seconds later Doncaster had a couple of good chances. Shaw's free-kick from just outside of the area hit the wall but Minett's follow up was well hit but floated just wide. A good chance gone awry and it looked as though it wouldn't be their day.

The announcement of an impressive crowd of nigh 3,000 was greeted with sarcastic jeers from the K's-ites in reference to their own team's poor attendances. Cue the coin throwing. K's fans had a number of coppers thrown at them as the game went on. The brave Doncaster 'fan(s)' hid amongst families and proper football supporters and threw coins while our backs were turned. Kingstonian supporters steered well clear of any retaliation. Anyway, we only had notes on us :) . At the end of the match, the money was collected and put towards Bill McNully's leaving present.

K's looked edgy towards the end. For entirely different reasons to their fans. Farralley was forced to punch clear on a number of occasions and Wayne Brown was almost guilty of giving away a penalty when tugging on Kirkwood's shirt. Carl Tranter's run on the field provided some entertainment. At one time, he produced a good run on the left but couldn't deliver. Still he had the perfect chance just minutes from time when he beat the off side trap / sleeping defenders to be one-on-one with the keeper. As the whole crowd held its breath, Tranter just didn't know what to do. His shot was weak and central and caused Woods hardly any problems. That should have seen K's win 2-0 but it didn't matter as the ref blew up shortly afterwards.

The last game of the season saw K's finish above Surrey's Second Team proving their rightful place. Meanwhile K's can look forward to the Trophy final, while Doncaster can look forward to their trophy final too. The first season in the Conference was a good one. When you think of the points dropped before important cup games and the fact that next year K's are guaranteed another six when they play Sutton, K's can confidently look forward to challenging for promotion next year. Meanwhile, we'll have to make do with a Wembley Final Appearance.

Sat 1st May 1999
Belle Vue
Football Conference
Doncaster Rovers0
1Steve Farrelly
2Tarkan Mustafa
3Colin LuckettCautioned
4Matt Crossley
5Simon Stewart
6Mark Harris14
7Gary Patterson
8Danny Smith
9Kevin Rattray12
10David Leworthy
11Delton Francis15
12Mike Lester9
14Wayne Brown6
15Carl Tranter11
Man of the Match
Simon Stewart
Simon Stewart
Match Report By
Gary Ekins