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Kingstonian 0-2 Southport

It's like buses isn't it ? You wait for one for ages, then when it turns up you expect another one straight away. But it doesn't actually happen like that does it ? It's just that, because of all those tales from old wives, everybody expects one bus to be followed immediately by another. And so it was that the home crowd expected another league win after the joys of Hednesford away twenty-four hours previously, but were left disappointed by the K's, who were determined to stick to the timetable. Still, it's been a fairly busy timetable of late: this game was the tenth in the last twenty-five days.

Southport, of course, arrived for their first ever visit to Kingsmeadow needing one point to be almost certain of survival, but all three to please their resident mathematician. And they got them. And nobody in a hooped shirt really seemed all that bothered - that was clear from the team-sheet. Wayne Brown was making his first appearance in a home league game since Boxing Day displacing Matt Crossley into midfield, Tarkan Mustafa had gotten lost en route from Hednesford and was nowhere to be seen, whilst Gary Patterson completed his last suspension of the season in the stand.

The game was delayed by a few moments after a search for corner flags revealed that there were none. Not in the holes at any rate. And we were then into the action. Simon Stewart had the first chance of the fine Summer's evening but managed to clear the netting behind brother Billy (Stewart)'s goal from the left hand side before Delton Francis - just needing the one - sent a weak header into the goalkeeper's arms. Presumably the youngster will be on the bench at Wembley, and more than one person has said that there's no better place to open your account. Although Doncaster would come a pretty close second.

Rattray headed over before Steve Farrelly pulled off the save of the match - and a fine one it was too. No such thing as a "save of the match by default cos there were no really good ones" needed here. Brian Butler hit his free-kick perfectly into Farrelly's left-hand corner, but the big man did superbly to fling himself across to put the ball off for a corner. Simon Stewart, safe in the knowledge that he could go forward as the other three centre-halves on the field would cover him, caused several problems for the travellers, heading wide with a fine chance and having a long shot saved well by his better looking brother.

Southport probably came closest to a first half goal when skipper Tim Ryan headed a Butler cross inches wide, but the forty-five minutes had gone by pretty quickly - it must have been the joy of being able to watch football in shirt sleeves again. The second half was all K's - up to a point. Well, up to the point when Southport scored. Pitcher shot wide, Danny Smith shot (very) over, Francis nicked the ball off Stewart and crossed to Leworthy who couldn't finish and Rattray was played through after a corner but was stopped from shooting by Butler who cleverly kicked the ball against the Rat-Shoulder to win a goal kick. And then Southport scored two goals.

Mark Stewart (Simon and Billy's second cousin apparently) sent a corner over from the right which Lee Furlong connected with about eight yards out to put his side one up. Now, the kick-off should have been, and probably was, taken by K's, but somehow they managed to lose the ball within a second of the re-start. Even though the Southport players had to be ten yards away. Amazing. Anyway, the visitors attacked the K's left, Wayne Brown completely missed the ball - perhaps he heard a distant siren - before Lee Trundle shot past Farrelly. With a lack of noise from the visiting end the K's fans struck up a chorus of "Staying up, staying up, staying up" just because it somehow seemed appropriate.

Nobody seemed particularly bothered by the two goal deficit. Chapple, who had been so animated on the touchline on Saturday, was content to sit back in the bench with the "whatever will be will be" attitude. (Now there's a cue for a song if ever there was one....). Mark Harris came closest to pulling one goal back when his incredibly high shot managed to just clear the crossbar ten minutes before the end. All three subs came on resulting in K's "only" having three centre-halves on at the end of the game whilst Rattray was getting bored with it all, wandering off down the tunnel with a few minutes left providing the perfect excuse: see, we only had ten men.

And so the Kingsmeadow season ended with a defeat leaving K's with a Won 9, Drew 7, Lost 5 home record. Not too shabby for a first season in the Conference, especially when you consider that two of the defeats have come in these strange pre-Wembley days. Southport can consider themselves lucky to have caught the side at this time (and can consider themselves even luckier for getting that outrageous free-kick at their place which gave them their equaliser - still, let's not be bitter about it) whilst K's can be applauded for doing their best to try to avoid making their fans travel to Barrow again next year. And that's the main thing - entering the Conference has been a big step up for the club, and a top half finish, ensuring illustrious visitors return next year, is something to be proud of.

And a Trophy final is something to still be looked forward to.

Wed 28th Apr 1999
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Football Conference
1Steve Farrelly
2Danny Smith
3Colin Luckett
4Matt Crossley14
5Simon Stewart15
6Mark Harris
7Wayne Brown
8Geoff Pitcher
9Kevin Rattray
10David Leworthy12
11Delton Francis
12Carl Tranter10
14Gary Drewett4
15Mike Lester5
Man of the Match
Matt Crossley
Matt Crossley
Match Report By
Gary Ekins