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Maidenhead United 2-4 Kingstonian

Kingstonian managed to avoid slipping on the banana skin that was Maidenhead, in the end winning comfortably by four goals to two. The average crowd of 150 at York Road was swelled to 717 with the first ever visit of a Conference team in a competitive fixture, most of whom headed back to Kingston content. Giant Steve Farrelly was in goal on his debut for his new club, with Jerome John being relegated to the (packed) substitutes bench. Also amongst the subs was Steve Parmenter who is currently on trial.

The first half was a struggle for K's, as they were forced to play uphill, against a strong wind, and looking straight into the glaring sun. However, it took just seven minutes for the first goal to come. Gavin Holligan had the ball on the right, he played a square ball to Geoff Pitcher, whose through ball gave David Leworthy the chance to send a right foot shot goalwards. There was the slightest of deflections on the shot, but the goalkeeper must have been disappointed to see the ball go straight through his hands and in, just under the bar. But, just minutes later, an equaliser came.

Maybe scoring so early had left K's with the impression that the game would be a walkover, but it was never going to be that easy. A long throw in from the right hand side found Michael Banton, whose shot beat Farrelly . In fact, not long after, Maidenhead almost took the lead - Banton again picked up the ball on the left, and his cross sped across the face of the goal. The only touch was by Colin Luckett, whose "clearance" just managed to stay to the right of the post, instead of giving a second goal to the Magpies.

The Maidenhead goalkeeper needed to be in good form to keep K's out - saves from both Leworthy, after a superb move involving Luckett and Gary Patterson, and Holligan, after being played in by Pitcher, were from the top draw. But he could do nothing to prevent the second K's goal. A ball was played into Maidenhead's area by Tarkan Mustafa, which was clearly running through to the goalkeeper. But, for some reason, the Maidenhead number 4, Peter Terry, decided that the ball needed a touch. All that he managed to do was send the ball past the goalkeeper, which left Leworthy, who had been chasing the ball, with an open goal. He made no mistake by tucking the ball just inside the post.

But again, the lead didn't last. Obinna Ulasi was put through on Farrelly, and his shot into the top-right hand corner made it 2-2 at half-time. The conditions were certainly one reason that K's were finding the going difficult. Clearances could barely reach the half-way line and Farrelly must have found it tough looking into the sun all half - why he had no hat is a mystery. There is little doubt that Maidenhead must have raised their game, but there were some good performances throughout the K's team, mainly from Matt Crossley (playing against one of his old teams), Pitcher and Leworthy, as well as Holligan, which ensured that a slip-up was always unlikely.

The second half began as the first had, with a goal for Kingstonian. Gavin Holligan picked up the ball about 30 yards out, saw the goalkeeper off his line, and sent his left-foot shot goalwards. With the assistance of the wind, the ball went between the goalkeeper's outstretched hands and the crossbar to give Holligan a goal in his first ever FA Cup match. After this, if anything, the wind got worse. Geoff Pitcher took a free kick from about 40 yards and decided that he'd have a shot, some clearances went backwards and the local Maidenhead church got covered with titter-tatter. In the middle of all of this, a fourth goal came.

From a Maidenhead corner, Mustafa broke free on the right and looked up to see Holligan in the middle. One touch from the youngster was all that was needed to lift the ball over the advancing goalkeeper and to give K's some breathing space. He showed throughout the game that, along with his natural speed and skill, he is adding composure and brains. Although he wasted several chances to complete his hat-trick, or to allow Leworthy to do the same, it's good to see him finally getting the chance that he has deserved. And with Eddie Akuamoah recovering from injury on the bench, it could be an exciting few months ahead for the travelling K's-ite's.

All in all, it was a job well done by Kingstonian. Although they were twice pulled back level, you could sense that people never really believed that Maidenhead could pull off a shock. Geoff Pitcher looked to be back to something like his best, it's a pity that he'll miss the next game through suspension. It was difficult to judge Farrelly under such windy conditions, but reports about him are good, so the future, once again, looks bright. With another draw against lower-league opposition (St Albans), there must be hope within the camp that a rewarding cup run is on the cards. If K's can manage to turn out professional performances like this one, then there is always a chance that, come December 6th, they'll be looking out for a money-spinning tie against Premiership opposition in the third round draw.

Well, we can always hope.

Sat 17th Oct 1998
York Road
FA Cup 3rd qualifying round
Maidenhead United2
Leworthy (2), Holligan (2)
1Steve Farrelly
2Tarkan Mustafa
3Colin Luckett
4Matt Crossley
5Simon Stewart
6Mark Harris
7Gary Patterson
8Geoff Pitcher
9Kevin Rattray
10David Leworthy
11Gavin Holligan
12Scott Corbett
13Jerome John
14Eddie Akuamoah
15Steve Parmenter
16Wayne Brown
Man of the Match
Gavin Holligan
Match Report By
Gary Ekins