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Kingstonian 2-2 Altrincham

After the frustration that was Tuesday night at Kettering, K's were offered the chance to rectify matters with a seemingly easy home tie against newly promoted Altrincham. With K's having a fine record at home thus far, and Alty having a poor record anywhere thus far, all boded well for the game.

K's started with the usual starting eleven, again Wingfield demoting Akuamoah to the subs bench. Junior Kadi again on the bench. No sign of Ben Kamara though... As early as, well, quite early on, Patterson was throwing his weight around and looked like he was going to get a booking off referee Mr. M. North. Yet the M.I.B. decided against this and just gave him a talking to and deemed the free-kick punishment enough. It was almost too much punishment when Burke put in a good shot, but thankfully it went sailing past the goal. In response K's looked promising when breaking. Neat play between Luckett and Wingfield on the left saw a couple of corners won, but nothing goal-like occurred. Yet at the other end Farrelly looked to have received an injury when catching a cross from the left.

But this had nothing to do with the opener which came after 25 minutes. Wingfield was beaten on the touch-line and the full-back spread a quite splendid cross field ball to Ellison who was in acres of space on the left wing. His opposing full-back, Tarkan Mustafa, was nowhere to be seen. As Mustafa raced back to cover, he could do nothing but see Ellison control well and take on and beat Farrelly from close range. As the Alty fans and players (notably the goalkeeper) celebrated scoring their first goal of the season, the K's players undertook an inquest on how it had happened. Mustafa was apportioned much of the blame and almost a bit more by Simon Stewart who was not happy with his team-mate's lack of defensive discipline.

K's responded fairly quickly. Patterson's cross to Leworthy saw the veteran flick a good touch to Pitcher whose subsequent shot went just wide. And then from nowhere Leworthy scored a stunner. The ball was knocking about and Altrincham were looking to clear from their area. Adams' header went towards Leworthy who proverbially turned on a six pence and fired the sweetest volley over the head of Coburn in the visitors' goal and into the top left hand corner. An amazing lobbed volley that, especially when considering the 'keeper was only yards off his goal line. The whole crowd, including the Altrincham contingent, was on their feet to applaud that moment of sheer brilliance. Certainly worth the (falsely advertised) entrance fee alone.

K's looked to build on this of course. Mustafa looked to get on the score sheet to personally redeem his earlier 'mistake', and very nearly did so trying to get on the end of a Patterson cross. A corner was won, but Wingfield couldn't cross it suitably. But just as K's were getting used to being level again, they had to become accustomed to being one behind again. The goal they went down to was 'right out of the training ground'. A well worked free-kick on the right was taken by Adams and sent towards a runner just inside the by-line about ten yards to the right of the goal. His cross to the six yard box just needed a firm contact to result in a goal. Gary Talbot's touch was firm enough and saw the Altrincham team double their 'goals for' quota.

As the K's team was beginning to fall to pieces, the advertising hoardings followed suit. Russel, the guilty Alty player ruining the Garden Centre sign. It then seemed that a K's player might actually fall to pieces when Chambers took out Harris five minutes before the interval. Yet K's settled the nerves on the 42nd minute. A Mustafa cross saw Leworthy flick the ball high into the six yard box. As the ball descended, Wingfield jumped with Coburn in one of those challenges which normally leads to a free-kick for a foul on the keeper. It was hard to call whether or not a foul was committed - this writer thinks not - but the ref did not think so and play continued. Pitcher was following up and somehow managed to get the ball out from under his feet and strike from a couple of yards. A scrappy goal in stark contrast to Leworthy's beauty. But they all count. That put the scores level at 2-2 at half time.

The optimistic in the crowd were expecting many more goals in the second half. The cynical computer science graduates were not. K's named two substitutes at half time. Basford came on for the inured Harris, and Akuamoah was given as much of a chance as Wingfield had had in the first half. Lee Basford's linking with Colin Luckett was immediately apparent. The former supplying the latter with a good chance which was cleverly directed on the volley, but didn't really danger the Altrincham goal. The danger of course of having less of a defence was that there would be, well, less of a defence. Burke almost exploited this when he took on three or four players cutting in from the right and heading parallel to goal about twenty yards out. He managed to put in a low shot towards the right, but Farrelly made a good save palming the ball away.

K's continued to push. A good link up between Basford and Luckett allowed Marshall to cross towards Mustafa running in at the back post. But the cross was just too high. Mustafa soon put in a good cross in return but the result was all too similar. An injury to Basford forced his substitution and on came Junior Kadi. With his first touch - indeed, his first touch for the club - he headed against the bar, no-one could follow up. Chance gone. D'oh!

What followed was a sustained spell of K's pressure. Marshall had a good run and shot, Pitcher shot from a free-kick within scoring distance which went through the wall but had all the power taken off it. Kadi tried to impress with a long shot, but it was looking as if it wasn't going to be our day. Akuamoah strangely anonymous on the left. After this came a farce when Patterson went down injured in his own half. It looked like he might have had to go off, but Chapple had used all his subs. After receiving treatment, the ref made him leave the field of play and made him wait until after the ball had gone out of play. And then a little while after that. It was strange. He then waved on the midfielder as Altrincham were on the attack.

Mustafa was certianly playing well, apart from that one soiree too far in the first half. His tackle and subsequent cross towards Akuamoah in the area led to penalty appeals as the K's sub took a tumble in the area. Some refs would have given it, others wouldn't. But then, he didn't think the Wingfield challenge was a foul either, so we'll call it evens.

K's finished the stronger of the teams with Alty seemingly happy to get their first point in this spell in the Conference. Pitcher set up Marshall just inside the penaly area but some mis-control combined with an unfortunate bounce saw his shot go wide of the goal. A last gasp free-kick came to K's in the fifth minute of injury time, but it was not to be.

Again K's disappointed. The Leworthy goal was fantastic and in some ways epitomises K's play at the moment. We all know that they are capable of real brilliance at times, but there is an amazing lack of consistency which could be what falters this season's league campaign. Still, it's early days yet.

Sat 28th Aug 1999
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Football Conference
Leworthy, Pitcher
1Steve Farrelly
2Tarkan Mustafa
3Colin Luckett
4Matt Crossley
5Simon Stewart
6Mark Harris16
7Gary Patterson
8Geoff Pitcher
9Dwight Marshall
10David Leworthy
11Phil Wingfield12
12Eddie Akuamoah11
13Richard Hurst
14Derek Allan
15Junior Kadi16
16Luke Basford6
Man of the Match
David Leworthy
David Leworthy
Match Report By
Gary Ekins