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Northwich Victoria 0-3 Kingstonian

Shirt sleeves were the order of the day for the last league game of the season, as the first team made a return to action. This third date on the "Northwest tour" saw Kingstonian sitting in fifth place in the table, and needing a win to be sure that they'd stay there. The fact they got what they wanted was down to the simple fact that the players in yellow and blue were head and shoulders above the home side in terms of effort, skill and desire.

Wembley is obviously a great motivator, and so it proved again as Junior Kadi - shorn of all body hair - in particular, impressed enough to suggest that he may just be good enough to replace Patterson or Pitcher in a week's time. Up front there was in interesting selection, with Simba and Leworthy making up what must, at 76 years old, be the oldest front pairing ever seen.

It was these two who were responsible for the first chance for the visitors, when Simba passed to Leworthy on the right. His cross-field ball was met by Patterson, who then played in Luke Basford for the chance to shoot, but he pulled his shot wide of Malcolm Rigby's goal. Leworthy then laid a ball back for Pitcher to shoot, but the midfielder's shot flew over.

Northwich did have a shot in the first half, but the count didn't rise much higher than one. Owen played a one-two with Darren Vicary, but Derek Allan - in the Matt Crossley-less defence - did well to block.

Sixteen minutes were on the clock when Kingstonian took the lead. Now, remember last week when Amara Simba scored against Hayes? Well, this goal was so similar that - as advocates of recycling - we'll just replace the goalkeeper's name in what we said then.

Simba collected the ball parallel with the edge of the penalty area and commenced his run across it. All the time he was looking for an opening, but when it came he was the only one who realised it had come. Before goalkeeper Rigby knew what was happening the ball had flown into the net. The shot came from about twenty yards with Simba's left foot, and it was struck so sweetly that Rigby wasn't even able to move as K's took a one-nil lead.

To be fair though, this time the goalkeeper did move, and even got a hand to the ball, but the shot was just so good that he couldn't keep it out. The fact that he had injured himself at some point probably helped too.

The second goal just wouldn't come for K's though, even though their possession and play clearly deserved it. Kadi had a shot saved when he connected with a Basford cross, and he (Kadi) then shot over after playing a one-two with Leworthy. The baldy then completed a hat-trick of misses when he shot over from the edge of the box, with Gary Patterson screaming for a pass from his position on the left.

Half-time gave Northwich a chance to check out their goalkeeper, and to decide that he was too injured to carry on. The first touch for replacement Williams was to pick the ball out of his own net. Leworthy passed to Kadi, who played in Simba on the right-hand side of the area. The shot went across the new goalkeeper and flew into the bottom-left hand corner for Simba's third two-goal haul of the season.

Dave Gray was presented with a chance just after when Mark Harris proved his age racing back towards his own goal. Steve Farrelly came to the rescue. And the rest of the game can really be described as Kingstonian passing the ball around with Northwich trying their best (or not, as the case may be) to get it back.

Pitcher allowed Kadi another opportunity to get forward and, with Basford to his left and Leworthy and Simba to his right, the odds looked good for K's to extend their lead. Kadi though decided to go around the only defender in sight (Cooke), which he did with aplomb. Cooke pulled him back, but play was waved on only for Kadi to see his shot deflected wide.

A clash of heads between Mark Harris and Gray saw both players leave the field to be replaced, but this came nowhere near upsetting the K's rhythm. Neither did the introduction of Akuamoah and Wingfield for the front two, and in fact it was Wingfield who proved to be the one to extend the lead.

Before that there were plenty more chances for the double cup-finalists. Wingfield himself headed a Pitcher free-kick goalwards, only to see the sub save and the winger then sent in a poor shot after great work from Kadi and Akuamoah. And then there was even a chance for Northwich. Devlin crossed from the left, the K's defence was notable only in its absence, and Cooke had the best chance of the game. His shot was from in front of goal, but Farrelly nonchalantly turned it aside with his foot to keep his sheet clean.

The fifty-eighth and final Kingstonian league goal of the season was scored by Phil Wingfield. Geoff Pitcher played him in on the left and his shot - again across the goalkeeper - went into the bottom-right hand side of the goal and the points were safe. Not that that had ever been in doubt.

The recent schedule might just have started to take its toll, as Junior Kadi limped off with cramp, but was forced to return as K's had used their full compliment of substitutes. But then it wouldn't really have mattered had they had to play with just ten men - the difference was just that great.

Seven points out of the final punishing four days was a superb return, and the fact that only one goal was conceded - and that a penalty - speaks volumes for the new found depth of the K's squad. If only it hadn't been for that dodgy run-up to Christmas things might have been very different at 4.45. As it was a fifth place finish had been assured - the highest ever finish for the club. And of course, with two cup finals still to come, as the song goes, things can only get better.

Sat 6th May 2000
The Drill Field
Football Conference
Northwich Victoria0
Simba (2), Wingfield
1Steve Farrelly
2Tarkan Mustafa
3Luke Basford
4Derek Allan
5Simon Stewart
6Mark Harris16
7Gary Patterson
8Geoff Pitcher
9Amara Simba14
10David Leworthy15
11Junior Kadi
12Iain Hendrie
13Richard Hurst
14Eddie Akuamoah9
15Phil Wingfield10
16Eddie Saunders6
Man of the Match
Junior Kadi
Junior Kadi
Match Report By
Gary Ekins