[personalise the site]   [search the site]

Welcome to K's Web - home of the Kingstonian archives
The official club website can be found at


Bristol City 1-1 Kingstonian

Three weeks ago, the draw for the fourth round of the FA Cup was met with a huge collective groan at Kingsmeadow as K's were "rewarded" with a trip to second division Bristol City instead of the dreamed of Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge and all the rest. But when the dust had settled Geoff Chapple, amongst others, said that we'd just have to win that one and get a big draw in the fifth round. Well the day finally arrived, and it is one which none of those present will ever forget. Ever.

Just one team change was made from that from of the last round, with Ian Duerden coming straight into the team after his free transfer from Doncaster and with Sammy Winston getting to keep his tracksuit on in his stead. The home side, on an impressive run of form, decided to leave their leading scorer - Tony Thorpe - on the bench.

A fairly large K's following had made the journey along the M4, and when the teams emerged from the tunnel it must have been a pretty good sight for the players. But they only had eyes for Bristol fans as they made their way to the home stands to hand over what looked like flowers to some lucky Bristolites. And it proved to be the only thing which those in yellow gave away all afternoon.

The match started with both sides attacking their respective supporters, and all of a sudden we were watching Kingstonian in the fourth round of the FA Cup, with a fair chance of seeing them progress to the last sixteen. How strange. And things got stranger still when the first real chance of the day fell to a yellow-shirted one. Phil Wingfield swung in a corner from the right, Mark Harris leapt and headed the ball against the top of the bar. What a start that would have been.

That may well have provided the wake-up call that City needed, because a good spell of pressure followed over the following minutes. Firstly Mickey Bell shot wide from the edge of the box, and then Brian Tinnion provided Lee Peacock with a great chance. With the K's defence rooted to the spot the attacker was played through for a one-on-one with Gavin Kelly. Except for some reason he tried to lob the goalkeeper and the ball span quite a long way wide.

The next shot from City came even closer to breaking the deadlock, as a corner on the right was played back to Tinnion. He shot from some 25 yards and looked to have given the home side the lead. But the slightest of touches from Kelly was enough to divert the ball ever so slightly upwards and the crossbar did the rest as the ball rebounded to safety. Except it wasn't quite safe enough as Bell retrieved it and crossed from the left. Keith Millen climbed highest at the far post and headed down only for Gavin Kelly to produce a slightly more obvious save low to his right.

Obviously aware that they would be on Match of the Day later on that evening, the K's defence - and in particular Eddie Saunders - decided to give Alan Hansen something to analyse. A woefully short back-pass fell in between Kelly and the on-rushing Lee Peacock, and as Kelly cleared he fell to the ground clutching his leg. And all of a sudden the idea of Ronnie Green in goal formed. Thankfully Kelly recovered.

Thankful to be playing after his reprieve from the FA, Gary Patterson celebrated by body-checking/elbowing one of his opponents on the half hour, and referee Graham Poll continued his employer's easy-going attitude toward the midfielder by waving play on. The only other real chance for K's fell to "danger-man" Geoff Pitcher with about ten minutes remaining. He cut across the edge of the box from the right and sent a powerful, but straight, shot into Steve Phillips' stomach.

Derek Allan sought to improve Hansen's mood when he executed a quite superb tackle on Peacock just before the break when the striker looked to have a clear shot at goal following a good cross from Louis Carey. The ball fell to him on the spot, but Allan managed to get a toe in to deflect the ball wide for a corner.

The second half opened with a great chance being crafted by Bristol, when a cross from the left was deflected by Mark Beard. Peacock got to the ball and shot from almost on the goal-line but Kelly did exceptionally well to fall on the ball once more. And then on fifty-two minutes, leading scorer Tony Thorpe was introduced - to the biggest home cheer of the afternoon thus far.

Yet instead of inspiring his side, this seemed to do exactly the opposite, as Kingstonian showed us that they were still in the match as an attacking force. Beard got the ball in the middle of the field and played in Ian Duerden on the right. Bristol's desperate appeals for offside became somewhat stifled when they saw Millen lurking some ten yards behind his fellow defenders, and all of a sudden K's had a great chance, as both Phil Wingfield and Geoff Pitcher were in fine positions in the middle. But instead of rolling the ball across goal for either to score - as they surely would have done - Duerden decided to blast the ball across. The result was that neither player got a touch and the ball missed the far post by the narrowest of narrow margins. But the next K's attack had a very different outcome.

Gavin Kelly kicked long - and this time managed to kick straight - and Ian Duerden flicked the ball on. Unfortunately the ball fell straight to defender Louis Carey, who had an easy chance to ease Alan Hansen's mood by playing the ball back to his goalkeeper. Except he got it all wrong and played the ball sideways, in the region of Phil Wingfield. Belying his age, the winger sprinted as fast as he ever has before and was on the ball in a second. Phillips came out to pressure him as the K's support held their breath, yet Wingfield worried not a jot as he easily beat the goalkeeper and rounded him. But there was still work to do, as Carey had gotten back to cover and Wingers was at a very tight angle on the right. And on his right foot too.

But this was Wingfield's day. The same player who was distraught when he missed out on Wembley last year finally got the chance to show the nation what he can do and his shot was perfect. It cleared the head of Carey and nestled in the far corner of the net and all of a sudden the K's end erupted. This was the stuff that fairy-tales, and dreams, are made of. A non-league side (and not a very good one at that) winning at a second division side, ready to progress to the last sixteen of the world's most glamorous club competition. And all they had to do was hold out for the remaining 33 minutes. And all of a sudden there was a feeling of maybe, just maybe.

It was clear that the remainder of the match would see City attack and see K's defend - but everyone who was at Southend knows just how capable this team is of doing just that. The first chance fell to Clist, but he drew his shot just wide of the left-hand post. Moments later and City had a corner on the left. It swung into the middle of the box and Mark Harris quite clearly (to those behind the goal) played it away volleyball style. There were muted appeals from a couple of Bristol players, but the referee hadn't seen the transgression and play continued with Tinnion shooting high and wide. And there was that feeling again.

Another bad clearance was made, this time by Colin Luckett (sorry Mrs Luckett) and Murray had a chance on the edge of the box. Except two bodies - those of Pitcher and Luckett - were laid in his path and the shot was blocked. And then all of a sudden the ball was with Eddie Akuamoah and K's were breaking. He rounded a defender on the right, cut in and had a chance to shoot. Unfortunately his shot wasn't the best and Phillips was able to fall on it gratefully.

Tony Thorpe got his first real chance of the game when a cross from Peacock dropped onto his head at the far post, but the presence of Mark Harris might have put him off as he only managed to head against the defender's face to win a corner. Yet the corner produced more concerns for those behind the goal. It dropped at the far post, and Carey had the chance to make up for his earlier mistake. His header was a good one, but a combination of Mark Beard and Gavin Kelly stopped the ball at the far post.

The last real chance for the visitors came and went with some twelve minutes remaining when a Patterson cross went towards Akuamoah. The goalkeeper easily caught the ball, but just for a second it fell from his grasp with Eddie closing. But Phillips recovered and the chance was gone.

With ten minutes plus injury time left, Bristol finally got the ball into the net, but the goal was quite rightly wiped out. Peacock crossed from the left and Tinnion played the ball back for Bell to "score" via the post. Yet referee Graham Poll had seen the use of Tinnion's arm and intaken breaths were allowed out. And that feeling got all the stronger.

David Bass was introduced for Phil Wingfield, as K's attempted to waste some time, and strengthen the midfield for the final few desperate minutes. Three extra minutes were signalled by the fourth official as the pressure continued unabated.

By this time everything was in place for the celebrations to start. The media was centred on two places - the K's dugout and the fans behind the goal. But still time ticked on. And on. And City had the ball. Substitute Amankwaah crossed from the right onto the head of Eddie Saunders. Unfortunately, instead of heading out (which is what he tried to do) the ball went in the opposite direction for a corner to Bristol. And the dice was rolled for the last time.

Murray took it and sent the ball to the far post. Saunders challenged Peacock and the ball dropped to what looked like safety on the left of the box. But Thorpe moved with lightning speed and somehow managed to get in a shot from a tight angle. The Mark Beard/Gavin Kelly combination on the post tried to keep the ball out, but this time failed and that feeling was replaced with a very different one.

Colin Luckett was the first to react as he dropped to his knees with his head in his hands. He was quickly followed by most of the rest as football proved that it can be the cruellest of games. The media suddenly had a different story to cover, and they took their pictures of the devastated players who had just had their dreams shattered.

The official time of the goal was 93 minutes, 32 seconds but there can be no complaints about the extra time being allowed. There was time only for the kick-off to be taken before the game was brought to a close and expressions were the same all around - shocked disbelief. What had been so close had been snatched away with one swing of a foot. Yet there is still so much to be proud of.

Kingstonian, second bottom of the Conference, had come to a good second division side and played well enough to have won. That they didn't is nothing to do with the determination or character of anybody involved with the club. Nobody could have done more, and there can be no recriminations. And yes, there is still a chance. Although it felt more like a loss than a draw, K's still have a fighting chance of making the last sixteen of the FA Cup. And there cannot be anybody outside of Bristol who would deny that they deserve to be there.

Sat 27th Jan 2001
FA Cup 4th round
Bristol City1
1Gavin Kelly
2Mark Beard
3Colin Luckett
4Derek Allan
5Eddie Saunders
6Mark Harris
7Gary Patterson
8Geoff Pitcher
9Ian Duerden15
10Eddie Akuamoah
11Phil Wingfield12
12David Bass11
13Mark Boyce
14Simon Stewart
15Sammy Winston9
16Ronnie Green
Man of the Match
Mark Harris
Mark Harris
Match Report By
Gary Ekins