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Kingstonian 0-1 Doncaster Rovers

A lot can be, and hopefully was, learnt from this defeat by a team languishing in the bottom half of the conference. Up until now the recent defeats that K's had suffered were against fellow title contenders, or at least teams that have at this still early stage proven themselves to be worthy of the lofty heights in which they currently dwell.

Doncaster set about the business of denying K's an extended run as conference leaders after as many minutes had elapsed as points were at stake. A Mustafa back pass was met by the boot of Farrelly just before the advancing Mumrea had a chance to embarrass the K's defence so early on. Less than a minute later the same Doncaster striker was again advancing on Farrelly's domain but this time the ball was at his feet. The giant frame of the K's keeper was enough to narrow the angle and make Mumrea drag his shot just wide of the right-hand post.

The familiar cries of despair towards Tarkan's positioning could already be heard from the K's faithful but it was he who forced a corner after a run down the right flank. Unfortunately this came to nothing but did set the trend for the majority of K's attacking play for the rest of the game.

We expected Mike Newell and many thought that the dark haired Doncaster number ten was indeed the man who had not to long ago played top flight football. It wasn't until after his third good goalscoring chance had been missed that the abuse towards said ageing frontman changed to references of a certain bandage wearing cartoon character (If you don't understand, just ignore me. I'm not mad. Honest.) A run by Mumrea (get it yet?) across the top of the penalty area culminated in a shot being pulled just wide of the right-hand post. From the resulting goal kick the ball was knocked on to Leworthy who managed to get into the box before being tackled.

This proved to be as advanced as K's would get for the next quarter of an hour as continued Doncaster pressure involving some fluent passing set up many good scoring chances. A corner, won by persistent play from Mumrea, set up a chance five yards out for Duerden whose shot was blocked by a reflex save from Farrelly. The rebound was put just wide by Mumrea.

Robin Taylor may well have been placed in the 'no better than what we've already got' category if we actually had any other players. After his third game for K's I'm still wondering whether the description of him being 'like having three players' is just an excuse for bad positioning skills. He did manage to win a free-kick after a rare K's excursion towards the Doncaster penalty box. The ensuing kick was blocked, Gary Patterson receiving the rebound out on the right flank His cross was headed behind by one of a melee of advancing Kingstonian heads. Not content with giving up on a short lived spell of possession, K's mounted another attack this time nearly embarrassing the Doncaster goalkeeper in the process.

The marauding Phil Wingfield managed to beat the on-rushing Warrington to the ball and leave him stranded on the right-hand edge of the penalty area. The ball was centred quicker than you could say every word in the English language by Wingfield, finding Patterson on then edge of the box. With every hoop-shirted body in the ground crying out 'shoot' in near perfect unison, Patterson merely strengthened his case for admittance to some 'shooting is your friend' counselling sessions and the chance was wasted.

Back to the main storyline (Doncaster's continued possession) and we find Tarkan weaving in and out of opposition players like this (Sons of.....) If only it was in the other penalty area! He did manage a promising run towards the correct end- to-be but the resulting cross flew harmlessly behind. The first bookings of the match followed when Derek Allen was fouled by Doncaster danger man Mumrea. Before the referee could react to the challenge the K's centre back was insisting that Mumrea's name should be taken. For this he was shown the yellow card and sure enough the Doncaster number ten was booked anyway. The remainder of the half was played out in sloppy fashion with each team failing to progess mainly due to their own mistakes.

Kingstonian's start to the second half showed all the signs of a post 'good talking too' with an early free kick lifted into the box by Pitcher, Mark Harris just failing to get on the end of it. The ball then ran to Wingfield whose cross eluded everybody and rolled harmlessly out of play. The early K's rhythm was quickly broken, though, with Doncaster's Foster charging forward along the left side of midfield. Gary Patterson managed to thwart his run in somewhat illegal fashion although there was no need for the retribution that Foster sought. Both received a stern talking to by the referee but escaped any further action. This probably made the Doncaster goal that bit harder to swallow as it was Foster who was on hand in the centre of the penalty box to strike home the only goal of the game. This followed a cross from the left that the K's defence failed to cut out.

K's now searching the important equalising goal could not find a way to penetrate the increasingly defensive Doncaster, who if anything looked like taking advantage of the gaps in the K's rearguard. Luckett received a yellow card for halting a Doncaster approach and Farrelly had to be at his cross-taking best to protect from some threatening corners. Mustafa continued to show the only signs of penetration with a good run, but Wingfield could not reach the eventual through-ball.

With 15 minutes to go Junior Kadi came on to replace Luckett and made a lively start, just failing to release Wingfield and then just not able to reach a penetrating through ball himself. Some good control and a hanging cross by the frustrated Leworthy was headed just wide, again by Kadi, eventually proving to be one of the best and most unlikely chances for a K's equaliser. Drastic measures had now to be taken. Simon Stewart coming on for Mark Harris and preceding to lead the frontline for the last 5 minutes seemed more desperate than drastic.

Gary Drewett coming on for the tiring Phil Wingfield was more relieving than drastic. The game was almost tied up in Doncaster's favour when a one-on-one situation was expertly dealt with by Farrelly. With time running out K's had their best period of play, Simon Stewart and then David Leworthy denied after good approach play by Drewett and Patterson. There was still time for the ball to be sent towards the Doncaster end-to-be and a shot fired in. This was well saved, the rebound being crashed against the bar. The final whistle gave the Doncaster players and fans a chance to celebrate a hard fought but deserved victory against a Kingstonian team drastically needing to start playing like championship contenders again. Leworthy looks a shadow of the player he can be without a creative player around him. A warming site was Eddie Akuamoah running around at half time and after the game, a return to first team football seemingly imminent.

Sat 20th Nov 1999
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Football Conference
Doncaster Rovers1
1Steve Farrelly
2Tarkan Mustafa
3Colin LuckettCautioned16
4Matt Crossley
5Mark Harris12
6Derek AllanCautioned
7Gary Patterson
8Geoff Pitcher
9Robin Taylor
10David Leworthy
11Phil Wingfield14
12Simon Stewart5
13Richard Hurst
14Gary Drewett11
15Darren Robson
16Junior Kadi3
Man of the Match
Derek Allan
Derek Allan
Match Report By
Gary Ekins