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Southport 0-1 Kingstonian

Let nobody tell you different - this is a game that will live in the memory for years to come. This was one of those games that make standing in the rain at dull home games in the Surrey Cup worth it. This was one of those games that is what non-league football is all about. This was one of those games that, if you were there, you will never tire of re-telling the story of the game.

The day started in a slightly depressing mood when just 22 people boarded the Supporters' Club coach for the long trip North - and that included the driver and Ronald Green (a sub who'd missed the players coach). But upon arrival at Haig Avenue it was clear that several more people had made the trip under their own steam - including one dedicated sole from Belgium.

The K's team was slightly different from that which played out a stupefying ninety minutes on Saturday - Patterson was back from suspension and Wingfield was back in the starting eleven. The Southport team was also slightly adjusted - this time they actually had somebody playing in an attacking position.

Now if ever there was a game of two halves then this was it. The wind may have had something to do with this - the faces of the travelling K's-ites were battered all night long - with almost all of the action in front of the sparsely populated away terrace.

For that reason, it was K's who bossed the first (or third) forty-five minutes of the game. Mark Harris headed a Colin Luckett free-kick cross just wide early on, and Phil Wingfield was presented with a chance after a poor back pass from Dominic Morley. His lobbed effort was probably just going wide, but Bolland was taking no chances, heading wide for a K's corner.

Just ten minutes were on the clock when K's really should have led. Tarkan Mustafa crossed from the right and Wingfield went in to challenge Dickinson for the ball. Neither made a telling contact and the ball rolled out to Eddie who was stood all of 8 yards out. The goal was not-quite-but-very-nearly open, the ball somehow got stuck under his studs yet he still got his shot on target. Unfortunately the shot went exactly where Scott Guyett was standing, and he managed to hack the shot away from his own line.

Between this and the next K's chance there were probably some chances at the other end - but the view from the away terrace is such that nobody could be sure exactly what was happening. That said, K's were looking pretty solid at the back - the first time in a while. The next chance fell to Colin Luckett, who was again performing miracles. A defender lost his footing on the half-way line and Eddie nipped in. His run took him into the box, he passed sideways to Pitcher who touched on to Leworthy. He was running out of room, so back-heeled the ball to the on-rushing Luckett. He rifled in a left-foot shot which was destined for the top corner. That was before Dickinson got a finger-nail to the ball to send it smashing onto the top of the bar and away for a corner. Was it going to be "just one of those days"?

Andy Gourk went close in a rare attack for the home side with a shot at Farrelly's left-hand post but the big man did well to get down to turn it aside. This was followed by a similarly good save by the home stopper when Wingfield fired in a free-kick. Allan headed an Akuamoah cross over the top before he then attempted to gift Southport the lead.

His sloppy back pass landed directly in between Farrelly and the on-rushing Ian Arnold and it was then a chase to see who would get there first. Nobody really won the race as the ball ended up spinning out to the left, Farrelly reversed back into his goal and was almost in position when the shot finally came in. He caught it with ease.

There was an interesting incident just before the break when Grayston fouled Pitcher on the edge of the 'Port box. A free-kick was rightly awarded by referee Mr. T.Jones and Luckett, Wingfield and Pitcher stood around deliberating about who would take it as the referee blew for them to proceed. Except all they did was stand and point at each other. And so after three minutes of waiting the referee got fed up, blew his whistle and took the teams off the field for half-time. Quite right too.

Except the K's team didn't seem to agree. All but Farrelly surrounded the referee as he made his way off the pitch, abusing him for not allowing them to take their time over the free-kick. Mark Harris seemed particularly upset and was still arguing fifteen minutes later as the teams came back out for the second half. Astoundingly enough no K's player was booked for this clear display of group-dissent.

The wind was still strong in the second half and the action was still at the visiting terrace end of the ground. The first chance of the half fell to Adie Mike, who had been totally anonymous up until this time. Patterson had sliced a pass to Morley who set up the striker on the spot. His effort went twenty yards wide, but it was a warning to K's.

The home side thought that they might be awarded a penalty when Guyett's cross struck Mustafa's chest, but that would have been very unjust. Arnold shot wide before Farrelly made a stupendous save. Morley and Arnold played a one-two and then set up substitute Elam. The shot came from about eight yards out and slightly to the goalkeeper's right, but Farrelly did everything right turning the ball aside with his legs. And then the home side really should have had a penalty.

A cross came in from the left, Mark Harris headed it up, Farrelly was (unfairly) challenged by two 'Port jumpers and so couldn't catch. The ball fell to Morley who was quite clearly tripped by Gary Patterson. The penalty wasn't given, and as the ball rolled out to the K's right, Crossley tried to help Morley up by kicking him in the head...

At this time in the tie there really was only one team in the game. Kingstonian really couldn't get out of their own half and were doing well to string two passes together. Boylan was introduced for the tiring Wingfield but that didn't seem to make much difference. K's were trying to soak up the pressure and were doing an average job of it. There were clear chances for the home side, but these were limited to just a handful. But as the half went on, the panic from the terrace seemed to be spreading to the players.

Bolland was the next to have a chance when he headed goalwards from the Southport left. The effort was probably going off, but Mark Harris was taking no chances conceding the corner kick. But then it happened. K's finally managed to get into the opposition half with Pitcher sending in a shot from the edge of the box. A deflection took it off for a corner from the left and Pitcher wandered over to take it.

By this time we were well into the final five minutes and most supporters were trying to calculate exactly what time the match would finish, and exactly how much sleep they were going to get once they got home. But they needn't have worried. The corner flew in to the near post, Dickinson flapped, the ball struck a defender's chest and fell perfectly for Leworthy. Two yards from an open goal, Dave was never really going to miss. He didn't and K's had scored.

To tell the truth, nobody behind the goal really knew what had happened. All of a sudden Steve Farrelly was jumping up and down, the players were hugging somebody and then it dawned. Oh so the ball must've gone in. Cue mass celebrations.

For the next five minutes it was just a case of keeping the nerves from fraying. Pitcher failed by getting booked for kicking the ball away and everybody knew that there was still time for an equaliser. Bolland had a header saved by Farrelly and then Colin Luckett stepped in.

Scott Guyett suddenly found himself with the ball at his feet ten yards from goal. Like Eddie in the first half he had an almost open goal. He shot low to the right and the ball headed in Luckett's direction. Colin misjudged ever so slightly and scuffed the ball with his studs. A firmer touch finally cleared the ball from the line, but with K's holding their breath everybody saw that the ball was this time heading to Bolland eight yards out. A combination of three K's players was laid in a wall in front of the shooter, the ball struck one and could have gone anywhere. On another night it may well have flown in, but this time it screwed wide of the left-hand post for a corner.

Southport made nothing of this final chance, the whistle went and all of the effort had been rewarded. The players were delighted and there seemed to be a contest as to who could get to the fans first. There were endless hugs, pats on back and shouts of well done. Yes K's had been out-played, but they'd done everything and more to stop Southport from scoring. The reward is another semi-final place in the Trophy, and the celebrations were then moved on to Mr Trophy himself. Geoff Chapple sprinted (yes, that was sprinted) over to the travelling masses and hugged all in sight. Ian McDonald followed and the K's celebrated an awesome victory. After this display of determination and guts, Sutton really should know that they have absolutely no chance of getting to Wembley this year. It shall be the hoops walking down Wembley Way come May 13th. And yes, you can quote me on that.

Tue 14th Mar 2000
Haig Avenue
FA Trophy Quarter final replay
1Steve Farrelly
2Tarkan Mustafa
3Colin Luckett
4Matt Crossley
5Derek Allan
6Mark Harris
7Gary Patterson
8Geoff PitcherCautioned
9Eddie Akuamoah
10David Leworthy
11Phil Wingfield16
12Joe O'Connor
13Richard Hurst
14Ronnie Green
15Luke Basford
16Lee Boylan11
Man of the Match
Matt Crossley
Matt Crossley
Match Report By
Gary Ekins