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Boston United 2-1 Kingstonian

The A16 - that greatest of delights. The straightest road ever laid. The favourite haunt for slow-moving trucks, family day-outers and caravans anywhere in Lincolnshire. The players got there on time, the Supporters' Club coach just about did so, and those who followed the K's Web directions had slightly less luck (sorry - it's that Marble's fault). Yet the frustration found on the journey north and then east pailed into significance once the K's fans had made it to York Street.

The team which ran out in the hoops was one which presumably can read a league table. It takes but a National Curriculum Level 2 in Mathematics to calculate that Kingstonian are very much in the sh*t. Yet the eleven who started this game appeared not to have quite grasped the significance of "twenty-first place with five games to go". And so it was that the sixth loss in the last nine games was achieved, when just a small amount of fight, desire or hunger may well have seen three points claimed.

Just four minutes were on the clock when the chance Sammy Winston has been waiting for since November 25th - his last goal - came his way. He was sent through a static defence to run at (and foul) Joby Gowshall, as the centre-half did well to toe-poke the ball away. It only reached Pitcher though, and the midfielder unleashed a superb left-footed strike from twenty-five yards. The ball took a slight deflection off of Gavin Holligan's ear and then smacked against Paul Bastock's left-hand post. Yet K's fans were delighted when the rebound fell perfectly for Winston, who had followed up on the right-hand side of the area. But the man who will be on a hat-trick of relegations next season managed only to scuff his shot hopelessly wide. Still, at least he looked distressed laughed out loud about it.

Boston's Jamie Cook had a chance for the home side when Simon Stewart helpfully flicked on a long throw from the Pilgrim's right, though Jimmy Glass did well to turn the ball aside for a corner kick. A couple more chances were created then missed for K's - most notably one Stewart header straight at Bastock - before the visiting defence showed exactly why they've conceded the twenty-first-least number of goals this season.

Pitcher gave the ball away in midfield, won it back, then gave it away again. Derek Allan was covering and had little option other than to pull down David Town on the left side of the area. Simon Weatherstone's free-kick was sent to the far post, Lee Howarth headed back across the strangely inactive K's back-line and Town headed in at the post. Another cross, and thus, another goal.

The score-line was almost doubled when Jim Dick played in Weatherstone on the left, who then cut in and fired a very good shot towards goal. Glass did well to get down and so prevented what would have been a hope-sapping second.

Deep into first-half injury time Gavin Holligan created a chance for himself after Gary Patterson had dispossessed Ken Charlery. Holligan ran at, and rounded, Howarth, but could only fire his shot straight into the waiting arms of Bastock.

Yet the second half seemed destined to remove some of the frustration of the travelers, and things even looked quite bright for some twelve minutes. Early on, Colin Luckett received the ball on the left, cut in and saw his shot deflect off of Howarth to completely wrong-foot Bastock as the ball bounced not far wide of the post.

Ten minutes of the half had passed when a life-line was presented to those in red and white. Winston headed on a long kick from Glass, and Holligan darted in between Richard Lucas and Gowshall. Both defenders attempted a foul as the trio entered the area, but Holligan could see the goal and was determined to carry on. But Lucas' second attempt at bringing him down was far more successful and the referee quite rightly awarded the spot-kick.

Once the referee had shown the yellow card - when many K's fans expected red - the pressure dropped onto Luckett's shoulders. Never one to shirk responsibility he stepped up and blasted the ball straight down the middle of the goal. Thankfully Bastock had dived out of the way and K's were level. Surely this could be used as a spring-board to three points?

When will we learn? Just two further minutes passed before hope had been replaced by that frustration factor once more. A free-kick was sent high to the edge of the K's box, the ball dropped to Andrew Stanhope and the defender's outstanding volley gave Jimmy Glass no chance. And so two-one, but still with thirty minutes remaining.

A plentiful supply of chances was created by both sides, with Jamie Cook volleying horribly wide from in front of goal for Boston, and Winston making a good attempt from out wide on the right when nobody had bothered to support him.

But the frustration felt by those who have followed K's this season was summed up perfectly with some ten minutes remaining. Mark Boyce crossed from the right as Holligan and Howarth competed at the near post, but neither got a touch as the ball reached substitute Phil Wingfield on the left of the area. His first touch settled the ball in front of him and the second was supposed to be the one which saw the ball enter the empty net. But he got it totally wrong as he smashed the ball into the side netting. Both the shooter and others fell to the turf with head in hands.

And so K's fight against relegation is now all but over. It would now require a miracle for the Conference status to be retained, and on current form (played 9 won 0) divine intervention seems to be the only hope. We're told that there were tears in the dressing room after the game, but if that it so, how come so little emotion was shown on the pitch? It is now, of course, far too late anyway. But it would be nice to see that some of those responsible for the pain and frustration were hurting too.

Sat 21st Apr 2001
York Street
Football Conference
Boston United2
Luckett (pen)
1Jimmy Glass
2Mark Boyce
3Colin Luckett
4Derek Allan
5Simon Stewart
6Mark Harris15
7Gary PattersonCautioned
8Geoff Pitcher
9Sammy Winston16
10Gavin Holligan
11Mark Beard
12Eddie Akuamoah
13Adrian Blake
14David Bass
15Ronnie Green6
16Phil Wingfield9
Man of the Match
Colin Luckett
Colin Luckett
Match Report By
Gary Ekins