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Forest Green Rovers 0-3 Kingstonian

After the disappointment of not winning a game which K's should have had wrapped up the previous week-end, this game was a test to the K's in as much as if they didn't win it the their championship winning credentials would surely be in some doubt. With Steve Farrelly given a public seal of approval by Chapple during the week, an unchanged side was named. By the way, this game pitted last season's FA Trophy winners against each other, don't you know?

So this was a good time to play Forest Green who are having a poor start, and even making Sutton look okay. But within the early stages of this match it appeared that Rovers were keen to avenge the Wembley defeat. An early chance for the home team came from a free-kick from which Allen received a booking. The shot went sailing over. Yet minutes after they really should have taken the lead after being awarded a penalty. As the ball came in from the right the referee blew up for a spot kick. This writer still has no idea what it was for. Still, in some ways it was academic. The giant frame of Farrelly looked big even from the opposite end so he must have looked even bigger when Hunt stepped up to take the kick. If you're a keeper suffering a loss of form then there can be no greater lift than saving a penalty, and this is exactly what Farrelly did, diving low to his left and keeping the game scoreless to that point.

That chance made K's take notice though, and almost immediately Pitcher's sterling work allowed Wingfield to put in a good cross which Forbes could only see off for a corner or two. At the other end Farrelly showed that he can deal with crosses too, and looked truly back in form. Hooray.

Soon after this came a controversial moment. As the ball was pumped into the Rovers' area, Eddie pressured the keeper and that saw him running clearly outside of the area with the ball well in his hands. Quite rightly, a free-kick was given on the edge of the area. Rightly or wrongly though a booking was not given. The resulting free-kick was wasted as Pitcher went for power rather than accuracy and blasted his shot against the wall. Shortly after this there was more controversy. As Eddie was running onto a long ball, the keeper came out to close him down. It was clearly a foul, but was it inside the area? Did he deny a goal scoring opportunity? It was hard to call. The ref, whose job it was to do so, said 'No' to the former question and 'Kinda' to the latter. Some would argue that he should have been off the pitch as a result. They'd probably win that argument too.

The breakthrough came in the 33rd minute. Mustafa did well to put a cross in to Leworthy whose deft touch brought Wingfield into action. He ran across the edge of the penalty area a couple of times before looking up and seeing Pitcher in an ideal position. His short pass was perfect to allow Pitcher to rifle home from the edge of the area. The keeper did get a touch and, perhaps, should have done better than see it nestle in the right of his goal. K's had the lead they deserved and relief as much as joy was evident.

All that was left in the first half to do was one of those Wingfield crosses which he gets absolutely right, a neat one-two in the area between Pitcher and Leworthy, and Simon Stewart had time to receive a booking. K's really showed their dominance in the second half. With only six minutes gone in the second half K's doubled their lead. Another good touch by Leworthy (see he's not just a goal poacher) allowed Pitcher to run at the keeper. Going on the 'three strikes and you're out' theory, keeper Perrin didn't dare risk a foul on Pitcher and so allowed him to pass him somewhat unchallenged. After this he floated the ball into the empty net from about twenty yards and joyfully ran towards the acceptably adequate number of K's fans behind the goal.

Merely five minutes after this K's were three up. A long free-kick was pumped into the mixer by Colin Luckett. Simon Stewart went a-prowling and accidentally back-heeled the ball into the path of Akuamoah. Akuamoah turned on a five-pound coin and fired the ball home from close range. 3-0, and it was so footballing easy.

K's were coasting after this. They really played the Kelly Chapple way, and on many occasions went close. Fine play between Luckett, Leworthy and Wingfield saw the winger Wingers put in a dangerous cross-shot which no-one could get on the end of. Pitcher was visibly after a hat-trick. In fact, at times it looked like he was neglecting his mid-field duties in search of his third strike. He was denied with twenty minutes left after fine interplay between Pitcher and Leworthy saw Perrin perform his best of the day to save from a good Pitcher effort.

But after this the game got a bit scrappy, with only Pitcher wanting to play on. Patterson had a nasty collision with Mings which saw Mings stretchered off, and Patterson hobble off and be forced to wait for a little while (again) before the ref would let him on the pitch again. Shortly after this Mustafa almost sent Stewart to hospital after an appalling 'pass' which saw Stewart come off badly from a 50-50 challenge.

More controversy was to follow when, towards the end of the game, Mustafa was running through on the right hand flank. As he raced past Forbes, Forbes tried to take him down by clipping his ankle, but after he was looking to have ridden clear of the challenge, he was clipped again, this time in the knee. There was no getting away from this one. Not a sending off, but. perhaps, it should have been. A number of key decisions appeared to have gone against K's today, and on other occasions would have caused much more anger than today, as at three up the poor refereeing didn't really bother the majority of the minority at The Lawn.

Before the game was out, Akuamoah had a chance which he somewhat wasted, but it became irrelevant as the 3 points were secured and, significantly, a clean sheet too. This puts K's in a tasty position in the league table, and the meeting of Yeovil and K's on Wednesday can only be anticipated with excitement.

Sat 18th Sep 1999
The Lawn
Football Conference
Forest Green Rovers0
Pitcher (2), Akuamoah
1Steve Farrelly
2Tarkan MustafaCautioned12
3Colin Luckett
4Matt Crossley
5Simon StewartCautioned
6Derek AllanCautioned
7Gary PattersonCautioned
8Geoff Pitcher
9Eddie Akuamoah
10David Leworthy14
11Phil Wingfield15
12Mark Harris2
13Richard Hurst
14Dwight Marshall10
15Junior Kadi11
16Danny Smith
Man of the Match
Geoff Pitcher
Geoff Pitcher
Match Report By
Gary Ekins