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Kingstonian 3-3 Northwich Victoria

After two successive away wins K's were in confident mood for this game, but this confidence was to prove to be misplaced. Again. Some of the pre-match signs were good - Patterson had recovered from his ankle injury to start - some were neither good nor bad - Wingfield recovering from his own injury - whilst others were downright awful - no programmes as they were stuck somewhere on the M6. How people got through half-time with nothing to read remains a mystery... Northwich took to the field in the brightest of yellow shirts, causing many gags from the home crowd - none of which were good enough to be repeated.

A crowd well in excess of 1,000 saw Eddie Akuamoah take the first shot, from the left, causing Lance Key to tip away early on. Ian Cooke went close at the other end with a header, before K's took an early lead. Tarkan Mustafa laid the ball back to Eddie on the right, and his cross was aimed just in front of the penalty spot. Now, the goal has been officially credited to Phil Wingfield's head, but to the masses standing behind the goal, it was clear that the object in need of praise was in fact defender Mark Birch's elbow. Wingfield did well to interfere with the defender, but was a fair way away from making contact. But who really cares ? - K's led on 15 minutes.

Now Northwich didn't have the best of times in the first half hour of this game. Immediately after going one down they won a corner, from which Matt Crossley cleared a header away from his own goal line. Illman and Cooke both limped off to be replaced by subs, one of whom (Vicary) saw his goal-bound effort tipped acrobatically away by Farrelly, before referee Mr.J.Ross made things 9% worse for the visitors.

A ball was played out of defence towards Eddie on the right. One touch saw him attempt to race away from Dominic Crooks who decided not to let him do so. The foul was a bad one, probably worthy of a caution, but while reporters all around the ground looked down to write "Crooks - yellow card" the home crowd produced a roar. The referee had clearly been watching the Poland v England match and so produced a card to match the one in that game. Half an hour was gone, K's were one up, Northwich were down to ten men and had used two of their subs. K's had this one wrapped up.

Yet within five minutes the scores were level. Fine midfield interplay between Devlin and Walters saw the latter play in Robinson who scored with an easy finish into the bottom corner. And that was how it stayed until the break. Eddie went close to putting K's in front just before this when he just missed connecting with Colin Luckett's cross, but at 45 minutes it was 1-1.

With certain people worried whether Gary Patterson would last the ninety minutes with a referee so happy to produce the red card, it was strange that Eddie was the next player to enter the notebook. It was a nasty foul and fully deserved the punishment, but it was strange to see it from Eddie. Clearly fighting for his place.

K's did manage to get back on top of the game after this. Derek Allen crossed to David Leworthy, whose header across goal was just missed by Eddie. Mustafa's cross from a similar position was then missed by Leworthy and Geoff Pitcher, and it seemed that it just might be "one of those days". But these thoughts were removed from the mind when K's finally retook the lead. Pitcher shot from the edge of the box only to see his shot strike the bar. Leworthy was first to react and did superbly well to chest the ball down and then volley home. Whilst most (all?) others would have blasted over, the veteran did everything right to score his eighth of the season. Two-one and just 20 minutes left. K's had this one wrapped up.

Farrelly, who up until this point had done little wrong, then made sure that we all remembered that he hasn't been having the best of times lately. A back pass was completely missed and everyone held their breath until the ball struck the side netting for a corner. Just after, a free-kick from the right was put into "the mincer" (© Murray Stalker), Farrelly stood and watched - along with the whole defence it has to be said - whilst the ball struck somebody's knee and entered the net. Vicary was the one who received the plaudits.

Colin Luckett, who had been having a storming game, almost got the lead back for K's when his cross after a superb run was headed just over his own bar by Ellis. But a corner was the only reward. Leworthy headed at goal after a fine knock back by Wingfield only to see a defender's shoulder intervene for yet another corner. But from this corner the lead was regained once and for all. Wingfield took it and Walters clearly handled as the ball arrived at the back post. Nobody in a hooped shirt seemed to care as they put their all into scoring from two yards. Finally it was (uh-uh) Simon Stewart who stabbed home to raise K's hearts again. Three-two and just 2 minutes left. K's had this one wrapped up.

Luckett almost completed his fine game with the fourth but it was blocked. And then disaster. A last minute right-wing corner landed somewhere in the K's box. Somehow the K's goalkeeper and defenders had been replaced by headless chickens and Steve Walters took full advantage by scoring from six yards out. Had they won, K's would have been sitting in third place, but as it if have to be content with sixth.

This is obviously a game which K's should have won. Leading three times against a ten man side at home is always a recipe for three points but at vital times certain players made mistakes which were costly. Farrelly is a fine goalkeeper, as he proved last year, but he is certainly going through a rough patch, and the defence is not looking anywhere as secure as this time twelve months ago. But K's have still only lost twice, and now haven't lost in four, which is certainly encouraging. With one or two more signings there is no reason to be disheartened. Oh, unless you're a programme collector that is.

Sat 11th Sep 1999
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Football Conference
Wingfield, Leworthy, Stewart
Northwich Victoria3
1Steve Farrelly
2Tarkan Mustafa
3Colin Luckett
4Matt Crossley
5Simon Stewart
6Derek Allan
7Gary Patterson
8Geoff Pitcher
9Eddie AkuamoahCautioned
10David Leworthy
11Phil Wingfield
12Mark Harris
13Richard Hurst
14Dwight Marshall
15Junior Kadi
16Danny Smith
Man of the Match
Colin Luckett
Colin Luckett
Match Report By
Gary Ekins