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Dover Athletic 0-1 Kingstonian

A substantial K's following, which included Eddie Akuamoah, David Leworthy and Phil Wingfield, had travelled South to watch the last game before semi-final fever takes over for a few days. One new face for the watching hoards was Amara Simba, who has signed on non-contract terms for K's after leaving Leyton Orient. Some K's fans will probably remember Simba scoring at Brisbane Road in last year's FA Cup. This writer's not amongst them though...

It has to be said that K's looked far more impressive with three, Lee Boylan, Joe O'Connor and Simba, playing up front. And although the threesome didn't last too long, with O'Connor limping off to be replaced by Ronnie Green early on, it was a much better performance from K's in the last third of the field than of late.

Simba looked to have an impressive touch and caused problems all day long for the Dover back line. He helped to create the first chance when he was fouled on the edge of the box, but Colin Luckett simply smacked the free-kick into the Dover wall. Why do they do that? Sutton reject Joff Vansittart came close to opening the scoring at the other (sloped) end when he went close to connecting with a right-wing cross, but Steve Farrelly looked to be in his finest England form all afternoon and had no trouble intercepting.

Simba went close himself when he got on the end of a Tarkan Mustafa cross from the right, but the awful pitch (which might just have been worse than Kingsmeadow - but only just) didn't help and the shot bounced wide. Simba then sent in another poor shot with his left-foot before Ronald Green was presented with a chance at the far post. Pitcher had set up Mustafa once again and his cross reached the youngster at the far post. Unfortunately he put his header the wrong side of the post.

Dover did have a good spell of pressure at this time. They took a two-nil lead in the corner count and then, from the second, Morrison set up Norman to cross from the right. His cross was perfect for Vansittart to head at goal, which he did. Against any normal goalkeeper Dover would have led one-nil, but Steve Farrelly is in possibly the finest form of his career, and he flung himself to his right and tipped the ball over the bar. The applause came from all around the ground.

The home side suffered a set-back just before the break when Matt Carruthers attempted a sickening foul on Matt Crossley in the centre circle. Luckily for K's and their Trophy hopes, the skipper came off with no worse than an itch, but Carruthers lay strewn in the centre in obvious pain. A stretcher appeared and Carruthers departed the scene. He obviously didn't deserve to get stretchered off, but it was a horrible challenge that he put in, and certainly ironic that he was the injured one.

Morrison, who was having a good game, set up the first chance of the second period when his cross was met by substitute Steve Brown. Farrelly was again in the right place to save low to his left. But that was as good as it got for Dover. A foul on Lee Boylan presented K's with the chance to send the big men up from the back and for Luckett to swing in a free-kick from the right. The cross was met by the head of Simba and the ball unluckily smacked against the post. And worse was to follow when everybody saw that the follow up was heading in the direction of not one but two defenders. Stuart Munday hacked the ball clear, but somehow managed only to hit the ball at Lee Shearer's chest. The ball flew in before Hyde could move and K's had taken the lead in the most comical of fashions. The only thing left was for Munday and Shearer to fight over exactly whose own-goal it was. K's didn't care and got on with the celebrations.

K's really should have been presented with the chance to make it two just after when Pitcher played Simba through into the area. Both Shearer and Hyde came out to challenge, and there was not one but two fouls on the attacker. Both took place in the area but the penalty appeal was turned down. The ball spilled out to Patterson who was also fouled. Again play continued. The worst of the fouls was then committed by Pitcher, who quite rightly received a yellow card.

The referee was called upon again just after this, when Morrison found himself through on goal. Mark Harris reached him just before he crossed into the right-hand side of the area, and a foul was rightly given. Whilst everybody held their breath, for a red card would surely mean one less centre-half available for the semi-final, Harris did his best to sweet-talk the referee and was relieved when just a yellow card was produced. And to make matters better, Dover then wasted the free-kick when Norman blasted over.

This scene was almost perfectly mirrored just after, this time with Crossley guilty of fouling Dave Clark. The referee again produced just a yellow card, but this time the free-kick took a deflection before going wide. This was a good period for Dover though, and Clark again went close just after when his shot was cleared by Allan's boot. Jake Leberl then took a shot at Farrelly's goal, but again Farrelly did well to save to his left.

The last chance fell to Geoff Pitcher at the right end. Green and Luckett set him up on the left, he looked up to see Boylan and Mustafa racing goalwards, but then blasted his cross-cum-shot across the face of the goal. Just minutes later the whistle went, and for the second game running, a K's team missing several regulars, had come out as winners without conceding a goal. All bodes well for next Saturday's semi-final and even this Tuesday's dress rehearsal.

Sat 25th Mar 2000
The Crabble
Football Conference
Dover Athletic0
1Steve Farrelly
2Tarkan Mustafa
3Colin Luckett
4Matt CrossleyCautioned
5Derek Allan
6Mark HarrisCautioned
7Gary Patterson
8Geoff PitcherCautioned
9Joe O'Connor12
10Amara Simba14
11Lee Boylan
12Ronnie Green9
13Richard Hurst
14Iain Hendrie10
15Eddie Saunders
16Luke Basford
Man of the Match
Amara Simba
Amara Simba
Match Report By
Gary Ekins