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Hednesford Town 1-2 Kingstonian

As this most haste of hastily rearranged games took place on a beautiful Summer's day in the back garden of Walsall it was hard to understand how the state of the pitch the day before could have been so bad. Still, it was that K's were to attack the goal behind which their fans were seated for the second Tuesday in a row. Yet, before the game started there were talking/laughing points a plenty. The most notable of which happened during the pre match knock about when a wayward Simon Stewart shot hit a steward in the face (uh-uh) snapping his spectacles in two. After a couple of minutes he came over to apologise and, upon seeing the damage said "Send the bill to the club, mate."

As for the proper football. Well, Eddie and Patto were rested allowing Delton Francis and Danny Smith a place in the starting eleven. K's, without a goal, let alone a win, in the league for sometime were inspired by the number of fans that made the trip to Cheltenham just a few days before. Unfortunately, it was similar to the number of fans who made the trip to the league game. Still, with only the prize of 'Top Surrey Club in the League" to play for it was good that anyone bothered at all. It would have been better if the local primary school had not arranged an outing to the impressive Keys Park on the same night, but alas...

K's started brightly. They won a free-kick in the first minute on the left of the area which Pitcher took. Although it led to a corner it fizzled to nothing but boded well for what was to come. And well it might. On eight minutes, Rattray fought to win possession and he got the ball to Luckett on the right. He aimed to put a cross over, and on the second attempt cut it square to Francis who quickly passed it to Leworthy. The Maestro needed no second invitation and passed the ball across the keeper. The ball nestled in the net but the effort of kicking the ball caused Dave to be hobbling instead of celebrating the goal.

At the other end, Tarkan Mustafa was forced to intervene to halt a good amount of pressure by the home team. But Delton Francis was looking inspired tonight, and went on a good run on the left beating two players for fun. "All he needs is a goal" is on the lips of many a K's player about this potential star. "Yes, a huge ten foot high one" is a typical ginger cynic's reply.

Hednesford were not offering much in reply. Mike put in a snap-shot but their play really didn't reflect that of a team comfortably in the top half of the table. So it was no surprise when K's were on the attack again. This time a typical Mustafa run saw him deliver a good cross to Leworthy whose shot was blocked. But again he hurt himself in doing this. Not been doing your warm ups Dave?

Farralley eventually had something to do when he dived at the feet of O'Connor at the left edge of his penalty area to retrieve possession. From this Delton was soon in running mood and beat two defenders by the corner flag and again crossed to Leworthy. But Farralley was getting bored so the K's defence obliged in letting all the play go to the K's goal at times. Hednesford couldn't really offer much though, Brindley's shot was gobbled up by the K's keeper.

K's should have gone two up though soon after this. Mustafa's cross went to Delton 'Destined Not To Score Despite Playing Brilliantly' Franics whose shot was parried and fell to Leworthy. With the ball sitting up nicely for him it was a surprise to see him shoot over. Probably just scared of picking up another injury. Yet minutes later K's did go two up and again Francis claimed the assist. His cross from the left was pin-point for Pitcher to tap home from close range and put the visitors two goals to the good. At half time, and with the score 2-0 "without trying" K's could enjoy their cup of tea.

Hednesford came out for the second half visibly a better team. Immediately Mike was put through on the left but again caused Farralley no real problems. Yet K's should have had a third. Twice. Pitcher won a corner after neat interplay between himself, Leworthy and Luckett. From this corner, Morgan between the sticks really should have caught the ball. But with Francis pressuring him he could only fumble the ball and bounce it toward Mark Harris. Perhaps surprised to be given a chance to score against Hednesford again this season he refused to bend his knee and made a hash of a good opportunity by blasting the ball against the inside of the post from merely six yards out. Oh well.

Realising they were almost still in the game the Midlanders furiously looked for opportunities to strike. They were unlucky to hit the post from close range though it is fair to say that Farralley had it covered. Yet the resulting corner saw the ball headed off the line. Gulp. In times of crisis, you don't expect Danny Smith to come up with the goods. But this is indeed what he did, supplying a perfect cross field ball to Luckett who in turn tried to put in Francis at the back post. The angle was too tight so he unselfishly looped the ball to the other side where Leworthy was ready to pounce. However, he missed a chance at a header under considerable pressure from the full back and could only win a corner.

Hednesford's reply was a 'rugby like' attack where the ball went from left to right in a series of short passes (though most of them were forward) and culminated in Mike's shot going just wide of the upright. Soon after this there were appeals that Harris might have handeled the ball in the penalty area. He didn't.

But one could sense something was going to give. Szewczyk's right foot shot was blocked by a defender so he had a go with his left foot and made Farralley produce the save of the match. Not to say it was a particularly good save, as neither keeper had much to do, but in the same way that there has to be a man of the match when no-one's really played well, this was the save of the match when there were not many saves of note. Not that it matters. But the goal did come scored by Szewczyk from within the six yard box as the ball came across him from the right. His touch saw the ball shoot past Farralley and the bulging European style goal nets.

It was too little too late though, and K's could have made sure of this by scoring a third. After good Luckett work, the ball found its way to the opposite flank where Mustafa ran down the wing firing the ball to the near post. Luckett raced towards it and executed a great dummy which had everyone wrong footed. Sedgemore just managed not to put the ball into his own net, but there was no K's striker on hand to put it away.

But it didn't matter. Despite the ref's attempts to add on time K's took all three points back with them to Saf Landan. They played well without trying and could confidently face the visit of Southport the following evening.

Tue 27th Apr 1999
Key's Park
Football Conference
Hednesford Town1
Leworthy, Pitcher
1Steve Farrelly
2Tarkan Mustafa
3Colin Luckett
4Matt Crossley
5Simon Stewart
6Mark Harris
7Danny Smith
8Geoff Pitcher
9Kevin RattrayCautioned
10David Leworthy
11Delton Francis14
12Wayne Brown
14Gary Drewett11
15Mike Lester
Man of the Match
Delton Francis
Match Report By
Gary Ekins