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Doncaster Rovers 1-0 Kingstonian

The K's team travelled North for their last away game for possibly over a month on a freezing cold January day. Their destination - Belle Vue, Doncaster. Their aim - three points. Their reward? Nothing. To be truthful, a point apiece may have been a fairer outcome, but since when has anything been fair north of Watford?

But after seeing nine goals in the last two games, the "intimate" travelling K's contingent were in a slightly more confident mood than this time a fortnight ago. That confidence almost disappeared as early as the second minute though, when Maamria controlled with his palm, only to be allowed to race onwards on the K's left. Farrelly saved well with his feet and K's escaped what would have been a big set-back.

A cross by Maxfield caused the keeper the next problem, when he was forced to palm away from under his own bar. The wind wasn't helping either team, but Doncaster seemed to be coping with the problem better early on. In fact they had a lot of pressure in the first half, and had new signing Gary Williams been on the pitch, may well have led by two or three.

K's did create chances of their own, but these were few and far between. Wingfield set Leworthy up for a volley, but Warrington saved comfortably enough. Meanwhile Maamria was causing all sorts of problems at the other end. Matt Crossley attempted to put a stop to his actions by getting involved in a "scuffle" with him, which the referee stopped, then lectured about. Derek Allan was the next to prevent Maamria from giving Doncaster the lead when he launched a quite superb tackle at the forward on the K's left. Had he mistimed by even a split second, Maamria would have one less leg now and Allan would have been able to get out of the cold rather quicker. But he didn't, and a corner was the only outcome.

Yet the defence, without the suspended Simon Stewart, was unable to stop the striker from finally giving Rovers the lead. Simon Marples played the ball into Dave Penney, situated on the spot. His lay off found Maamria racing through on the right, and his shot from an awkward angle beat Farrelly. Wingfield had done all that he could to get back, but even with his hands, couldn't prevent the ball crossing the line.

The Maamria show continued thereafter. First of all Matt Crossley kicked Maamria in the chest, giving away a free-kick. Next it was the turn of Leworthy, who for some reason found the need to track back with the scorer on the K's left. There was definitely a little contact by the K's man, but that was absolutely no excuse for Maamria to take a headlong dive into the penalty box, attempting to persuade the referee to give a penalty.

Crossley, who by his own admission has been having a rough time of late, had a rough time during the first forty-five. He had almost managed to contain Maamria, but attempted to undo all of his good work by gifting Rovers a second. An awful back pass found only Watson, who tried to square to Duerden stood in front of the open goal. Luckily for K's, Farrelly's feet came to the rescue yet again.

The second half was certainly more encouraging for the K's side, although it started poorly, with Duerden allowed in for a very early shot which Farrelly saved. Leworthy then set up Eddie, whose toe-poke shot went wide of Rovers' right hand post. It was certainly encouraging to see that K's hadn't given up, and their determination was there for all to see. Most clearly when Pitcher booted the ball up and over the hill in the corner of the ground after racing after a stray Mustafa pass. A booking was the obvious, and oh-so-pointless outcome of that.

The best chance for K's to salvage a point fell to the foot of Pitcher, yet again. In a similar way to the Woking goal, this one would have come from absolutely nothing. He was ambling towards goal and suddenly unleashed a superb left-foot shot. Warrington did well to push the ball wide from a corner, but this was the last time that he was required to warm his hands up. But he probably wouldn't have minded some more action to prevent his extremities from getting frostbite.

There was a late chance for K's, when Harris, Pitcher and sub O'Connor all could have connected with a Mustafa cross, but luck seems to have deserted K's recently, especially in the league, and the ball was cleared to safety. Robin Taylor, who had a very accomplished game at left-back, got booked late on by a referee who seemed to view transgressions by southerners rather more severely than their northern counterparts. But that was no excuse for the loss.

Maamria had a superb game up front, especially in the first half, and could and should have scored more than one. K's played ok, and tried a lot harder in the second half. But again, with only two players (Luckett and Stewart) missing from the squad, there just doesn't seem to be enough quality around to fill their positions. And a look at the rather empty substitute bench tells more of a story.

Sat 22nd Jan 2000
Belle Vue
Football Conference
Doncaster Rovers1
1Steve Farrelly
2Tarkan MustafaCautioned
3Robin TaylorCautioned
4Matt Crossley
5Derek Allan
6Mark Harris
7Gary Patterson
8Geoff PitcherCautioned
9Eddie Akuamoah
10David Leworthy12
11Phil Wingfield14
12Joe O'Connor10
13Richard Hurst
14Luke Basford11
Man of the Match
Robin Taylor
Match Report By
Gary Ekins