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Kingstonian 6-0 Sutton United

With Saturday's attempt at this semi-final washed out there were endless phone calls to the club wondering whether the second attempt at the second leg would go ahead. It did so, and the fact that everybody had to wait an extra three days really doesn't matter - it was well worth the wait. The pitch looked worrying at 7.45pm, but somehow even that got better as the ninety minutes went on. And it was surely one of the most memorable ninety minutes in Kingstonian's history.

The starting eleven was as expected: Geoff Pitcher had recovered from his "groin strain" and with Derek Allan suspended Eddie Saunders made his Trophy debut (for K's at least) at number five. Sutton included ex-K's Andy Riley, David "I've got hooped blood" Harlow, Darren Brodrick and Jimmy Dack.

A fair Sutton following stood in the rain behind the goal defended by the holders in the first half and almost saw a goal for their side as early as the first minute. Rowlands crossed from the right and Hutchinson headed wide. But that was quite honestly the only time in the entire ninety minutes that Sutton had their noses in front.

The K's team which had taken to the field was one which seemed absolutely determined to win this game. Whichever team they had faced it is almost certain that the outcome would have been the same. The first chance fell to Amara Simba when Pitcher played him through. His shot towards the top right hand corner was saved fairly easily by Howells, but the same can't be said of the next chance.

Tarkan Mustafa stormed down the right wing and whipped in a dangerous cross along the edge of the area. A defender got a slight touch with his head and diverted the ball outwards. Colin Luckett was loitering with intent about 25 yards from goal just to the left of the area. He met the ball with possibly the sweetest volley ever seen and rocketed the ball at goal. The strike was superb and gave Howells no chance as it went into the bottom right hand corner of the net. Just 12 minutes were gone, K's were one up and from that moment on there was simply no looking back.

Simba played in Wingfield who had a great chance to double the lead, but his shot from the edge of the area was again saved well by Howells. Pitcher went close with a free-kick from much the same position as Luckett's opener and the midfield maestro then set up Simba with a brilliant run and cross from the left. Simba was denied the chance by Brodrick's hand but the referee disagreed. Simba then returned the favour for Pitcher when he sent him through with a clear run at goal. Already sensing that the game was in the bag Pitcher tried to produce the party piece, but unfortunately didn't quite get enough height on his chip which was easily caught by Howells.

Pitcher, involved in everything, then played a one-two with Patterson out on the right and crossed. The ball was met by the most unlikely of sources - the head of Colin Luckett. His header at the far post came from about 8 yards out, and the only uncertainty was whether the ball would break the net or not. It didn't, but it did its best as K's took a two-nil lead. And all this before half-time. There probably were a couple of chances for the visitors, but there were quite simply so many for K's that they weren't worthy of note.

K's probably hadn't wanted the first half to end, but it took just six minutes for the holders to get back into their stride. With the rain and the distance affecting things, nobody behind the K's goal was quite sure what happened, but a cross from the left was headed in by Simba and the Frenchman celebrated the goal which would help take him back to Wembley.

Clearly beaten by now, Sutton decided to try and take revenge on the main cause of their misery: Geoff Pitcher. A clear foul on him was ignored by the referee, but Pitcher almost made the best possible come-back with a shot from 25 yards. Howells was easily beaten, but unfortunately the shot just cleared the bar. But don't worry - Pitcher's time was still to come.

The fourth goal came on 64 minutes and was almost an exact replica of the third. Another cross from the left was met by Simba's forehead and he made no mistake with the finish. And so with almost half an hour left, K's were four up against their local rivals and there looked to be no end to the scoring. The K's crowd were, by now, in ecstasies as they attempted to find even more ways to make fun of their hapless opponents. And then Gareth Howells made a blunder which made him an easy target for abuse.

K's were awarded a free-kick out towards the Sutton left wing and Phil Wingfield trotted over to take it. He swung the ball in left footed and most people tried to work out which of K's three centre halves would connect. But they didn't even have to bother. Wingfield probably didn't mean it (although that might be harsh on the winger) but his shot swung perfectly inside the left-hand post as Howells flapped but failed to clear. And so five-nil and it was all getting just a touch easy.

Simba was looking for his hat-trick and Eddie Akuamoah gave him the chance to complete it. One on one with Howells, most expected the sixth goal to be a formality. But Simba sent his shot just past the left-hand post. Still, no matter. Just a moment later and Colin Luckett (also on a hat-trick of course) whipped in a cross from the left which was met by Simba on the edge of the six yard box. Quite how he managed to send his shot over the bar would need some good explanations, but then nobody really complained all that much. And we all knew that a sixth goal couldn't be all that far away.

A triple substitution did little to alter the balance of play as Ronnie Green, Lee Boylan and Joe O'Connor entered the fray. And what better time to enter a game is there than when your team is five-nil up? Well it could have been six of course. And on 85 minutes it was. Pitcher played a superb ball out to Boylan who was stood on the right wing. He controlled with his chest and played a good ball in. Both Green and O'Connor dummied the ball to leave Geoff Pitcher the chance with no defenders in sight. His left foot did the rest as the ball nestled in the bottom right corner and Pitcher had the goal that his performance deserved. If anybody deserves a return to Wembley then it is he. The only reason he doesn't get the Man of the Match award is that, quite simply, Colin Luckett's opener was superb.

Sutton, whose last shot was in the first minute, managed another with about three minutes left. Harlow took a free-kick from the edge of the box and Steve Farrelly finally had to get dirty as he flung himself to his left to turn aside for a corner. At the other end Howells had lost interest and wasn't even looking when a pass was played back to him from the half way line. He didn't know who had played the ball so merrily walked to the edge of his area and picked the ball up. After trying to decide whether anybody could actually be that dumb, the referee decided that they could and awarded the free-kick to K's for a back-pass.

Colin Luckett, by now the only player on the field on a hat-trick, took the shot, but it was blocked by the Sutton wall. And that was the only thing that the yellow and poo coloured ones stopped all night. There was just time left for Pitcher to pick up a needless booking before the referee's whistle commenced the celebrations.

Just like last year, Chapple was nowhere to be seen, as he left it to the players to jump around and make idiots of themselves. The fans did the same and everybody generally had a good time. Nobody ran onto the pitch, which is probably a good thing considering the fixtures upcoming. But they don't really matter now do they? The only game of any importance out of the (possibly) twelve remaining games is the one that will take place on May 13th. The one that will take place at Wembley Stadium. The one that will be played against Kettering Town. The one that will see Matt Crossley climb the steps to reclaim the FA Trophy. Well you didn't think K's would let it go that easily did you?

Tue 18th Apr 2000
Kingsmeadow Stadium
FA Trophy Semi final 2nd leg
Luckett (2), Simba (2), Wingfield, Pitcher
Sutton United0
1Steve Farrelly
2Tarkan Mustafa
3Colin Luckett
4Matt Crossley
5Eddie Saunders
6Mark Harris
7Gary Patterson
8Geoff PitcherCautioned
9Eddie Akuamoah12
10Amara Simba15
11Phil Wingfield16
12Ronnie Green9
13Richard Hurst
14Luke Basford
15Lee Boylan10
16Joe O'Connor11
Man of the Match
Colin Luckett
Colin Luckett
Match Report By
Gary Ekins