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Brentford 1-3 Kingstonian

Kingstonian travelled the short distance to Griffin Park, Brentford, looking to beat a league team on their own turf for what would be just the second such occasion. The fact that this was accomplished speaks volumes for the team-spirit which exists at Kingsmeadow, and the fact that the win was totally deserved speaks volumes for the difficulties ahead for the Brentford fans.

For the first time this season (or so it seems) K's named an unchanged side to take on the second division side, who themselves had a couple of players out due to injury or being on-loan. And when the teams emerged from the tunnel, the noise that greeted them was unlike anything seen in a non-Wembley occasion for K's. The away end of Griffin Park was packed, top and bottom, with hoops and yellow shirts and, if the players needed any encouragement, such a site must have provided it.

Yet it was Brentford who took the early initiative. A clear push in the back of Ingimarsson by Eddie Saunders was punished with a free-kick, albeit about ten seconds after the offence, and Rowlands struck from twenty yards out. The shot hit the head of Colin Luckett, but the ball bounced back out to the Bee, whose follow-up shot just cleared Steve Farrelly's bar.

An even better chance fell to the home side just after. A cross from Rowlands from the right was heading straight to Eddie Saunders, but for some reason he allowed the ball to go under his foot, and Scott met it from the edge of the area. A brilliant save was needed from Steve Farrelly, and he didn't disappoint as he flung himself to his left. The ball bounced out between Partridge and Saunders, neither got a telling touch and the ball fell to Owusu, just six yards out. Somehow, the striker managed to clear the bar with the goal at his mercy, and K's breathed again.

Some fourteen minutes were on the clock before Kingstonian crafted their first real chance of the game. A fine move involving Eddie Akuamoah and Mark Beard on the right allowed the latter to cross. Colin Luckett just couldn't stretch far enough, but this allowed Phil Wingfield to meet the ball. Unfortunately his shot was from a tight angle and he shot just wide/over.

Another cross from the right provided Brentford with another close moment when Owusu and Saunders met the ball together. Owusu got there first but his headed effort hit the back of the K's man's head, and both turned to watch the ball trickle past the post for a Brentford corner.

Two good chances then fell to the Conference side, as the game settled into something of an end-to-end style of play. A great tackle by Beard allowed Saunders to release Winston on the right. With Pitcher and Wingfield in support in the middle, the odds looked good for the opening goal, but instead of feeding either of those, Sammy shot from out wide and the ball trickled past the far post. But the kick-out from Gottskalksson was poor, and Wingfield collected on the left. His shot was deflected, and the goalkeeper produced a very good save to tip the ball over for a corner.

But that save was nothing compared to that produced by Farrelly just after. A cross from the left was slightly re-directed by Colin Luckett, but the ball fell to Evans some twenty yards from goal. His shot saw Farrelly diving to his right, it then struck Gary Patterson's chest to head in exactly the opposite direction. Yet somehow, the K's keeper spun around in mid-air and got his fingers to the ball to deny Evans. And there was still work to do as the ball fell on the line to invite the on-rushing Owusu to prod home. But Farrelly got up and fell on the ball to complete an astounding save.

With both sides looking for the all important opening goal, there were occasions where both defences were somewhat short on numbers. Brentford tried to take advantage of this when they broke up a K's attack and headed straight down the other end. Partridge play in Gibbs, who was bereft of markers on the left. His run saw him to the edge of the area where he shot at Farrelly, only to see the big man produce another fine stop. The half ended with K's on the attack, with a run from Geoff Pitcher seeing him beat at least four opponents before his shot was deflected off for a corner.

The Brentford players were made to await the re-appearance of K's for the second half for a few minutes in the rain. But when the travellers did come back out, they wasted no time in proving that the break hadn't diminished their appetite. With roughly forty seconds of the half gone, Wingfield played square to Winston, who did the same for Pitcher. Some thirty yards from goal, the midfielder looked up and shot. Groans were heard as the ball headed somewhere between the left-hand post and the corner-flag. But the groans became gasps as the ball struck Marshall.

With Gottskalksson moving right to recover the wayward shot, the ball started heading towards the other - now unguarded - post and after what seemed an eternity the ball spun and bounced just inside the post for the opening goal. For the second season in a row K's led a league side just after the break - now all they had to do was hold out for the next 44 minutes.....

If there was a time in this game where K's looked somewhat out of their depth then this was it. For some reason, scoring the goal seemed to have a negative effect on the visitors and, as expected, the home side sought to capitalise on this. A cross from the right was inadvertently flicked on by Derek Allan and Owusu went close at the far post with his head. And the next such cross provided another chance for the striker when he jumped against Eddie Saunders, only for the ball to go just wide.

But K's weren't about to allow all of their good work to be for nothing. Phil Wingfield exemplified the desire in the team when he won a tackle in the middle of the park and played in Sammy Winston on the left. With Eddie Akuamoah screaming for the ball in the middle, Winston carried on towards the goal-line. Now K's fans have seen Winston attempt (and fail) to score from acute angles many times this season, and nobody can have been all that surprised when he ignored the advice from Akuamoah and went for goal instead.

But Gottskalksson hasn't seen much Conference football this season and was moving to intercept the cross as, with one swipe of his right foot, Winston put right the previous four months by putting the ball over the goalkeeper's head to double the lead. Some pundits have claimed that a cross was intended, but K's fans know different - Winston would never cross from there. And on this occasion his greed was well rewarded, as K's began to imagine the back page headlines.

Between the second and third goals there were probably chances for both sides, but none were of much significance, and the K's fans were having too much fun to care. And when the third goal did come, the feeling was "as good as it's ever been" according to one (cynical) long-suffering K's fan.

A great tackle by Eddie Akuamoah saw the ball drop to Gary Patterson, just over the half-way line on the right. He looked up to see Winston sprinting into the area, and played an inch-perfect first-time forty-yard ball to the striker. The ball was met some eight yards out with a right-foot volley, Gottskalksson had no chance, K's were three up and in FA Cup dreamland.

The Brentford fans recognised the superiority of their visitors by standing and applauding the goal, and then turned on their own players and board calling for the head of Ron Noades. But the K's fans were oblivious to all this as they revelled in the demolition of their more fashionable opponents. Well it's not often that a Conference side gets the opportunity to sing "Can we play you every week?" at a club 54 places higher than themselves.

The game, as a contest, was by now over. Brentford did go close with one cross which evaded everybody as it skimmed across the K's goal. And at the other end, only a last-ditch tackle from Rowlands prevented Geoff Pitcher scoring what would have been a deserved fourth. If anything, the midfielder must have doubled any transfer fee which would be demanded for his services.

By now into injury time, most of the home fans had crept away. Those that did stay did at least see a consolation goal for their side. And a consolation was all that it was. A shot was once again brilliantly saved by Farrelly, but the ball dropped to Pinamonte who shot home. But just moments later, and with K's on the attack, the whistle went to signal the end of Brentford's humbling.

The home fans left quickly, with some headed to the directors entrance to continue the demonstrations against Noades, but the K's fans stayed massed to applaud. The entire team came over to the travelling masses and thanked them for their support, as the fans did likewise. The only face missing was, of course, (Sir) Geoff Chapple (my-Lord), who was presumably having his cup of tea in the dressing room.

For those who couldn't make it, it was an amazing experience. The moment the third goal went in was quite possibly better than either Wembley victory - simply because everybody knew that the game was by then over. Every member of the team played superbly - from goalkeeper to striker. Let's just hope that this form can be re-produced in the upcoming league games. And of course in the second round.

Sat 18th Nov 2000
FA Cup 1st round
Pitcher, Winston (2)
1Steve Farrelly
2Mark Beard
3Colin LuckettCautioned
4Derek Allan
5Eddie Saunders
6Mark Harris
7Gary PattersonCautioned
8Geoff Pitcher
9Sammy Winston13
10Phil Wingfield16
11Eddie Akuamoah
12Simon Stewart
13Ronnie Green9
14Mark Jones
15Mark Boyce
16David Bass10
Man of the Match
Geoff Pitcher
Geoff Pitcher
Match Report By
Gary Ekins