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Kingstonian 0-1 Forest Green Rovers

A semi-final hangover was certainly in evidence at this meeting of Trophy finalists and relegation-threatened Rovers. The atmosphere was non-existent, and even though the supposed first-choice Kingstonian team took to the field, this was a very different performance than that given four days previously by the same eleven. Then there was fight and desire, and a hooped shirt was first to every ball. Now, back in the league, there was quite simply no effort at all. Not that the 935 in attendance expected much more.

Having said that, there were brief moments of class from the K's side, but they certainly were brief. Amara Simba shone early on and played a quite superb chipped pass through to Eddie Akuamoah in the area. Hatswell made a great covering tackle to deny an early goal for K's, but this was one of very few chances for the home side.

Just eleven minutes were on the clock when a change was enforced, when Ronnie Green was introduced for Phil Wingfield. The winger had been holding his left hamstring for some time before, but there looks to have been no long-term damage done. And so Green had the chance to add to his singular K's strike, earned just forty-three hours earlier.

Forest Green are, of course, fighting for their lives at the foot of the table, and they must have been delighted to realise that they were up against a dis-interested K's team. Thomas struck a good shot from some thirty yards over Farrelly's goal before the visitors thought that they may have earned a penalty. Tony Daley played in Jason Drysdale on the left, and his cross was sent towards the near post. Mark Harris challenged the on-rushing Baily and some thought that the defender had pushed him in the back. Referee Mr. L.Probert disagreed and the game continued.

The break-through came on 38 minutes for Forest Green, when a left-wing corner was met by Ian Hedges at the far post. Eddie Saunders headed off the line only to see his clearance land at the feet of Burns. His shot came in from ten yards, and even though Saunders was close again, the ball crossed the line and Rovers led.

There was enough time left in the half for Bennett to come close to doubling the lead, but Steve Farrelly did brilliantly to tip the header away for a corner kick. The half-time break saw Joe O'Connor's introduction for Simba, and later on Lee Boylan came on for Ronnie Green. But whatever combination there was up front for K's, there looked to be no overt desire in the team to create sufficient chances.

In fact, the only two chances worthy of note in the second forty-five fell to Kingstonian. Firstly, Burns headed a right-wing Colin Luckett corner over his own bar and Matt Crossley headed a left-wing Geoff Pitcher over the Rovers' bar.

It was a strange game in all. At one end there were a few Rovers fans desperate for the final whistle, as they were trying to earn three more points in their "staying-up" quest. And at the other there were a few K's fans discussing exactly when Wembley tickets go on sale, and just what colour we'll be wearing. The difference in need was obvious, and the difference in class would have been too, had this game occurred a little bit earlier in the season.

But as it is K's are really only interested in one more game this year. And this wasn't the one. At the end, Forest Green were delighted. The three points moved them out of the bottom three, and the fact that they left both Sutton and Woking there meant that nobody in a hooped shirt was all that bothered.

Sat 22nd Apr 2000
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Football Conference
Forest Green Rovers1
1Steve Farrelly
2Tarkan Mustafa
3Colin Luckett
4Matt Crossley
5Eddie Saunders
6Mark Harris
7Gary Patterson
8Geoff Pitcher
9Eddie Akuamoah
10Amara Simba16
11Phil Wingfield12
12Ronnie Green11
13Richard Hurst
14Derek Allan
15Lee Boylan12
16Joe O'Connor10
Man of the Match
Gary Patterson
Gary Patterson
Match Report By
Gary Ekins