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Sutton United 2-2 Kingstonian

If Sutton are Kingstonian's ultimate bogey team, then this game gave one of the biggest snots on the handkerchief of Kingston in recent times. If ever there was a time to play the auld enemy, then this was it. Sutton sitting in the bottom three and K's in second place, looking to go top. The last time the teams met in a 'proper' match, K's mathematically finished Sutton's chances of winning the league. And had they won tonight, the same would have happened.*

And to further the away team's chances, they had back Patterson and Akuamoah, previously suspended and injured respectively. Smith and Marshall therefore made way. Interesting inclusions in the Sutton team - only interesting in that they used to play for Ks - were Danny Brooker, Jimmy Dack, a certain Mr. Harlow, and Andy Riley on the bench. A good crowd turned out for this game, despite the police and stewards' best efforts, and all the ingredients were in the bowl for this derby game.

K's fans started the loudest and the Ks team started the brightest. Eddie immediately impressed, showing us exactly what we had been missing in his absence. But it was Leworthy who gave fans the most to get excited about early on. Curiously, Howells, in the Sutton goal, came out of his area, Leworthy dispossessed him, and then lost possession again. But it was quite exciting. As was Mustafa; his runs on the right particularly impressive. Pitcher, Leworthy and Akuamoah linked up well, and it was surely only a matter of time until Ks took the lead. Mustafa looked like he might have been the source of one of these goals, when he was set up by Leworthy, but his shot was weak. Later, a good Wingfield cross saw him only inches away from connecting, it was Skelly who saved Sutton's bacon.

The inevitable soon happened when K's took the lead on 22 minutes. Wingfield dispossessed Berry and ran towards the box. He then tried to feed Akuamoah who was to his right, but somehow his pass was deflected goalwards by Laker. Although the keeper got a hand to the ball, he could do nothing as he was totally wrong footed. And K's were 1-0 up.

Farrelly didn't really have much to do in this time. What was asked of him, he answered with firm authority, and K's were cruising. Mustafa, by far and away man-of-the-first-half, made a good interception and attempted to allow Wingfield to get a proper goal, and later Pitcher set up Leworthy, who did well from a tight angle, but never really troubled the keeper. As the half came to a close, Sutton wasted the best chance of the match up to that point. Winston's pull-back to Dack saw the ex K's player fire over from close range and he quite rightly had his head in his hands for some time afterwards. Just before the final whistle came another display of not putting the ball out when a player is injured. Mustafa was lying on the floor while Pitcher went on and had a good shot. Still, 1-0 up at half time was a good thing, but there were signs that it was, by no means, in the bag yet.

Ks started the second half well, and to be truthful, Sutton started it badly. Howells almost fumbled a Ks corner, and then a mix up between the Sutton defence and the keeper almost allowed Leworthy in. Wingfield wasted a good chance following a Mustafa cross as he headed across goal, and almost across the penalty area. But at the other end it was looking a bit shakey. Although Farrelly was dealing with what he could, there was a manic scramble which involved two headers and a shot. It was somehow cleared. Yet K's were looking to go two up. Patterson almost obliged when he got to the end of a Wingfield cross. As he swung at the ball on the second go, he looked to have been impeded, but it was unlikely the ref would have given a penalty for that. And he didn't. But it didn't really matter cos K's got the second. Akuamoah was played into space and delivered a dangerous cross towards the area. Wingfield was racing towards the ball but Berry got there first and it was his touch that booted the ball into the net. Wingfield looked quite angry about this, despite the fact that the goal had gone in. But at 2-0 up, K's were once again cruising.

Yet only five minutes later Sutton had pulled one back. Jimmy Dack, of all people, was the scorer when his lame shot bounced off Harris' out-stretched boot, and looped over Farrelly into the net. Very much a-la Paul Parker in World Cup '90. Farrelly had no chance. And K's were cursing.

It then turned into a real end-to-end game with Ks looking to get another, and Sutton needing the equaliser. A cross from the right caused problems in the Ks penalty area, and nearly a fourth own goal, but soon afterwards, Pitcher wasted a good chance after receiving the ball from Leworthy, beating two players and then firing over after the hard work had been done.

Soon after this came a strange incident. From seemingly nothing, a 16 man brawl occurred and everyone was at each other's throats. Patterson was looking most involved, but it was clearly hard to determine who was to blame, and Ks fans standing in the terracing which is a long way behind the goal, couldn't tell what was going on in the opposite half. Nor, it seems, could the ref. But after consulting both linesmen, he sent off Sutton's Forrester who had only been on the pitch for five minutes. He looked surprised. Ks fans looked happy. Ks players looked hard. And there weren't that many Sutton fans to be seen at all.

Maybe the sending off pulled the rest of the home team together. They certainly looked more fired up and had it not been for a good Luckett header, would have soon drawn level. But at the other end, it was still looking good for K's. Eddie fed Leworthy whose touch just let him down and the keeper did well to intercept from him. Soon after this Pitcher fed a nice chipped ball to Leworthy who was looking to lob the keeper, but he would have been lucky to get a kind bounce on that pitch. His luck was not in, and his shot looked a lot worse than it was in reality. He almost made amends soon afterwards when he was forced inside from the left flank. With no-one to give the ball to he fired in an amazing shot from nothing when he was perpendicular to one of the uprights. The ball crashed against the post and back into play. Sutton had the luck on their side, if not the referee, and were still in with a chance. But with time running out, K's still looked to have all three points. And the local pride of course.

In the 89th minute Sutton were awarded a free-kick on the left hand edge of the box. David 'I have hooped blood' Harlow took the kick and crossed well to Winston. He did well with his header from close range, and quite sickeningly the score was 2-2. Or was it? There was some doubt as to whether or not the goal was allowed, but when Ks took the ball to the centre, you got the message. The fourth official then held up a 2 indicating there wasn't a great deal of time to get a winner. Indeed there wasn't and the 2-2 score-line was how it stayed.

So that was that. Sutton were clearly delighted to have got a point against their superior rivals, and of course, a valuable point in their fight against relegation. Had the game ended five minutes earlier, K's would be top of the league and would have beaten Sutton in a league game for the first time since '95. But it wasn't to be. And we're all gutted. It's time K's bought some Tunes, and got rid of that Sutton bogey permanently.

Tue 2nd Nov 1999
Gander Green Lane
Football Conference
Sutton United2
OG (2)
1Steve Farrelly
2Tarkan Mustafa
3Colin Luckett
4Matt Crossley
5Mark Harris
6Derek Allan
7Gary Patterson
8Geoff Pitcher
9Eddie Akuamoah
10David Leworthy
11Phil Wingfield
12Dwight Marshall
13Richard Hurst
14Simon Stewart
15Junior Kadi
16Richard Thompson
Man of the Match
Tarkan Mustafa
Tarkan Mustafa
Match Report By
Gary Ekins