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Kingstonian 0-0 Boston United

When the teams were announced, some of the 842 strong (sic) crowd must have thought that good ol' Mr Frawley (PA announcer) was playing a trick on them. Because, according to him, the K's goalkeeper was none other than Adrian Blake. Eight years ago this month, Blake was a part of the Kingstonian team which held Peterborough United to a home draw in K's first ever appearance in the "proper" rounds of the FA Cup. But he wasn't playing a trick - it was true. Blake had the number one shirt, leaving K's with their fourth goalkeeper in as many matches. The rest of the team saw a start for Phil Wingfield - strangely in the number 3 shirt but playing up front - and another game for the Saunders - Allan - Harris back line.

With K's coming off the back of a good win in last week's FA Cup game, and with Boston attempting to get their season back on track after being giant-killed in midweek, there were some high hopes of success for the hoops. And things looked good early on. A Duerden flick-on allowed Winston an early chance, but his slow shot wasn't good enough to beat Paul Bastock - who, of course, scored an own-goal for K's last season - in the United goal.

Blake got an early chance to impress, but unfortunately got it all wrong when a free-kick was crossed in from the left and he came to collect. He dropped the ball, but luckily for him Mark Harris got between it and Joby Gowshall and shielded it until Blake could collect. The goalkeeper dropped on the ball, allowed it to squirm away and was laying on the ground as Gowshall shot wide from six yards out. Mark Harris shook his head and walked off.

A lobbed through ball by Patterson allowed (a very much offside) Sammy Winston to scamper at goal. Clear of the defence, he lined his shot up but managed to pull it wide of the left hand post. Just after, a foul by Jim Dick - who thought that he might have had a penalty early on - was almost punished as K's took a quick free-kick. Wingfield took it and stabbed a perfect ball through for Mark Beard. The wing-back's right foot flicked the ball past Bastock as goalkeeper and goalshooter collided, but the ball went just the wrong side of the post.

Ian Duerden was having another good game, leaving everybody in little doubt that, if K's really are a forward-thinking club, this is the sort of player who needs to be signed permanently. His first chance came and went after a run at Colin Hoyle saw a shot clear the bar from out wide. The second was another shot from wide on the right, but this time it almost turned into a cross for Winston. Sadly the leg wasn't long enough for Sammy to get the touch.

Paul Fewings had one of the few (get-it?!) chances for Boston as he chased after a flick-on from Paul Raynor. Somewhere near the penalty spot, and somewhat devoid of opponents, Fewings couldn't get there, as Blake just got to the ball first to prevent an easy-ish chance for the visitors. But the chance of the half fell to the home side, when Winston was presented with the ball on the left from Beard. Just onside this time, Winston had just Lee Howarth to beat, which he did by cutting back inside the defender. The striker was probably fouled, but he still managed to get his shot in. After doing all of the hard work, he'd actually crafted a fairly easy chance for himself but wasted it as he rolled the ball past the right hand post.

Just before half-time Boston had another chance, as a good run from Ken Charlery ended with a shot being blocked by Harris. The follow-up fell to the attacker once more, but Eddie Akuamoah made a superb tackle - and not his first of the game - to deny him. Blake fell on the rebound and this time held on.

Two minutes had gone of the second forty-five when K's created a couple of good chances. Winston did well to get to the goal-line on the left and cut the ball back to Phil Wingfield. His cross was met by the overhead-kicking Ian Duerden, but he got it all slightly wrong as the ball trickled away towards the far touchline. But Beard collected, played it back to Pitcher and his cross was met by Wingfield at the far post. Obviously remembering his famous header against the same team last year, Wingers met the ball with his forehead but somehow managed to take the power off of the ball. But there was nowt wrong with the direction, as Bastock was forced to produce a very good tip-over for a K's corner.

Winston again got into a good position well upfield on the left just after, as K's took a firm grip on the game. Pitcher played him in and the striker cut in towards goal. Wingfield had made a great run to get free in the middle, but Winston ignored him, choosing instead to go for goal from the cutest of acute angles. The shot was blocked and the chance was gone.

But the next Winston chance could have produced a very different outcome. The ball was played through the square Boston defence for Winston to chase. He was ahead of the back-rushing defender, who was Colin Hoyle and moved towards the penalty area. Just as Winston was about to shoot, Hoyle produced a tackle of the finest quality to deny him. The fact that it was actually a rugby tackle confused some, but not the referee as he rightly awarded K's a free-kick on the edge of the box. The only question left was what colour the card would be - yellow or red. Red was favourite but Mr. F.Graham produced a real upset by showing only a yellow. Presumably, as it was Winston's, he decided it wasn't a "clear goalscoring opportunity"..... And to make matters worse, Duerden fired the free-kick straight into the wall.

The turning point could have been when a free-kick was awarded for a foul by Jim Dick on Pitcher. Already cautioned, there was only one way left for the United midfielder, and that was down the tunnel. And so, with their opponents down to ten men, K's had a real chance. Boston did what they could by switching to ultra-defensive mode, but from this point on there was only one team in it.

Another chance fell to Winston, and another chance was wasted by Winston after good control and distribution from Mark Harris of all people. Again the striker got the ball on the left, again he cut back behind the defender to create a good chance, and again he rolled it the wrong side of the post. Some time after, both he and Wingfield were replaced by Ronnie Green and Mark Boyce respectively.

Ten minutes were left when K's came closer than they had all game. Eddie Akuamoah - who really had had a superb game - went on a great run and then fed Geoff Pitcher. In turn, he played a one-two with Boyce to set up a chance for himself on the edge of the area. His shot looked to finally have Bastock beaten, and when it struck a defender to head in the opposite direction, hearts were in Boston mouths. But continuing K's luck of late, instead of nestling in the net, the ball struck the post and bounced out. And continuing K's luck of late, instead of dropping to Boyce - stood 6 yards from the by-now-open goal - it landed straight in the arms of Bastock, still laying on the ground.

Hearts were in Kingston mouths in injury time though, as more claims for a penalty were made when Derek Allan made a challenge on Charlery. The referee waved play on, and K's did just that as they launched one last attack. Straight up the other end, and somehow a lob from Pitcher gave Duerden a chase for the ball behind the goalkeeper. His opponent was again Hoyle, and this time the defender did everything legally as he made a great challenge to prevent Duerden from shooting at an open goal from ten yards out. The corner led to three more, and from the last of these Eddie Saunders (bizarrely named as the sponsors' man of the match) headed over.

The whistle went moments later and Boston celebrated their point. They had probably just about deserved it, as they battled hard, in the second half especially. The fact that they didn't have a single shot in the second forty-five goes some way to showing the domination of K's, but the goal just wouldn't come. No sooner do we get one end of the pitch sorted out, than the other starts causing problems. But overall this was a very good performance from Kingstonian. And it wasn't a loss was it?

Sat 4th Nov 2000
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Football Conference
Boston United0
1Adrian Blake
2Mark BeardCautioned
3Phil Wingfield12
4Eddie Saunders
5Derek Allan
6Mark Harris
7Gary Patterson
8Geoff Pitcher
9Sammy Winston16
10Ian Duerden
11Eddie Akuamoah
12Ronnie Green3
13Pat Jennings
14Mark Jones
15Junior Kadi
16Mark Boyce9
Man of the Match
Phil Wingfield
Phil Wingfield
Match Report By
Gary Ekins