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Hednesford Town 2-3 Kingstonian

An over-turned crane on the M40 was the reason for the late start of this game as the majority of the K's players - bizarrelly enough on the England team coach - and some of the fans, sat in traffic before they even managed to get near Birmingham. Apparently K's had but three players at the designated kick-off time: Mark Harris, Gary Patterson and Lee Boylan. The rest turned up soon after, and so at 3.30pm the game got under way. Gary Drewett was the major surprise inclusion in the number ten shirt.

Hednesford haven't been on the most impressive of runs recently but they had the best of the early exchanges when Davis chested down for Bagshaw to shoot wide. But that was as good as it got for the home side in the early part of the game as K's set about stamping their authority on the game. Not literally though, of course.

Eddie Akuamoah, who looked to be back to full fitness at last, played a fine ball through for Hednesford old-boy Joe O'Connor to chase and Stuart Ford did well to smother at the striker's feet. A typically brilliant run by Tarkan Mustafa ended with him crossing to the far post where Eddie Saunders headed marginally wide of the left hand post. Just what he was doing so far up the pitch is up for debate.

K's got even closer when Geoff Pitcher sent a free-kick, awarded for a foul on himself by Lake, just over the top of the bar. Drewett then wasted the best chance that had so far been crafted when Patterson and Mustafa combined brilliantly on the right to cross towards O'Connor. He cleverly kept the ball away from the defender and allowed Drewett an easy chance to score. Unfortunately he hit his effort just over Ford's bar.

The opening goal finally came, and when it did it was from an unusual source: Geoff Pitcher's head. Drewett took off on a run on the right and played in O'Connor for a chance. His shot was saved by Ford but the ball span out towards Pitcher who had been loitering on the left hand side of the box. Pitcher leapt as high as he could and just managed to connect to head into the empty net. So when was the last headed goal from Pitcher? Answers on a postcard.....

Steve Farrelly had had little to do up until this point, but he proved that he is capable of remaining focussed even with little employment. A cross from the right was met by Norbury who was totally lacking in the marked department. His shot came from close in but Farrelly did remarkably well to turn the ball over for a corner. But he could do little to prevent the equaliser when it came.

The move for the Hednesford goal started slightly, strangely enough, with Drewett taking off on an amazing run. It ended with a K's corner but Town cleared. Suddenly Pitcher found himself to be the only defender in the whole K's half of the field. He decided to foul the on-rushing attacker and received a yellow card for his woes. But it got worse for K's when the free-kick was met by Neil Davis who headed home.

The scores remained level for just three minutes though, as Drewett played a one-two with Patterson. He got the ball back about 20 yards from goal, looked up, saw Ford off his line, and sent an exquisite chip home. There may have been a slight deflection, but even so it was a superb shot, and a fine one for him to open his K's account with. And so at 4.15 K's went in for their tea quite contentedly.

The second half was quite simply just another chance for Kingstonian to show their superiority. Pitcher shot wide from the edge of the area and O'Connor was then played through, but with three defenders in hot pursuit. His shot came with a stab of the toe and was just wide of the left-hand upright. Patterson had a chance just after when Eddie ran rings around Bradley on the right. He pulled the ball back for Patto to shoot from twelve yards but the shot was blocked. Eddie Saunders headed a Luckett cross just over at the far post and then amusingly fell over the advertising hoarding.

Drewett had a chance to add to his singular haul on the hour when Colin Luckett sent a good ball down the left. He skipped behind the challenge of Ian Robinson and saw his shot saved well by Ford. O'Connor had been totally free in the middle and looked slightly upset to have been ignored by the youngster. Still, the corner saw K's extend their lead when Mark Harris nodded home at the far post. And that was that.

Bagshaw was presented with a chance to pull one back when Colkin headed a cross into his path. Farrelly, who had made several important saves earlier on, was waiting but was not even employed as the shot went woefully wide. K's made three changes and then surely time was up. But no. The late kick-off seemed to have confused everyone and there was still lots of action left in the game.

For some reason, Colkin decided to carry out a bad foul on Eddie Saunders. Saunders wasn't happy and got up to push the aggressor in the face. The referee, who hadn't looked to be that sensible all day, deemed a yellow card for Culkin to be enough.

Leworthy, who had been introduced ten minutes or so from the end, almost got on the score-sheet when Lee Boylan played a good ball into him from the right. Leworthy got in his shot from about ten yards but Ford did very well to smother to his left. And then, deep into added on time, Hednesford almost got back into the game. Kelly clearly carried out a foul on Patterson in the centre of the pitch. The referee disagreed and waved play on. Substitute Stewart Airdrie shot from outside the box, Farrelly parried only to see Davis shoot home from the rebound. And all of a sudden Hednesford thought that they could get something after all.

The last effort on goal came from Lake and was cleared by Crossley to give the home side another of the corners that they were tallying up at the end. But K's survived and claimed the points. Quite how they managed to turn an emphatic victory into a nail-biting last five minutes is a bit of a mystery, but there is no doubt that K's deserved to win this game, and by more than the one goal margin that they had. By the time the players trooped off it was gone 5.30, but even though they'd had to stay out late Chapple must have been happy with the display.

Sat 29th Apr 2000
Key's Park
Football Conference
Hednesford Town2
Pitcher, Drewett, Harris
1Steve Farrelly
2Tarkan Mustafa
3Colin Luckett
4Matt Crossley
5Eddie Saunders
6Mark Harris
7Gary Patterson
8Geoff PitcherCautioned15
9Joe O'Connor16
10Gary Drewett12
11Eddie Akuamoah
12David Leworthy10
13Richard Hurst
14Junior Kadi
15Iain Hendrie8
16Lee Boylan9
Man of the Match
Steve Farrelly
Steve Farrelly
Match Report By
Gary Ekins