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Kingstonian 5-2 Devizes Town

Entering the FA Cup at the fourth qualifying stage makes it somewhat easier to reach the first round proper for what would be the sixth time for K's. If Devizes were to make it, it would be the first ever for them. But at the end of ninety minutes it was the Conference side, as expected, who made the hat for the draw. But it wasn't due to a lack of effort from the visitors. They made K's fight for everything and it was only in the last few minutes that the expected goal-haul came.

K's lined up with Pat Jennings, son of the "real" Pat Jennings, in goal and with Eddie Akuamoah once again doing his best impression of a left-back. In a surprise inclusion Gary Drewett started in the number ten shirt, perhaps making Ronnie Green wonder exactly what he's waiting for. The visitors lined up in shirts which looked suspiciously like the referee's.

An early chance was crafted by K's when Gary Patterson played in Eddie on the left. He cut along the goal-line but crossed too high for any connection to be made. Sammy Winston went close some time after when Pitcher played him through, he beat Nick Mooney for pace (somehow) but saw his shot well saved by goalkeeper Paul Thompson. The resultant corner was taken by Pitcher, Eddie Saunders deceived everybody by calling for the short-one, and the ball went long. Winston headed back, Mark Harris touched square to Derek Allan and the big Scotsman volleyed home his second goal in as many games.

Just a minute later the score could have been two. Mark Beard - welcomed back to right-back - played a good one-two with Drewett on the right and sent in a cross which went all the way across goal. There waiting was Sammy Winston whose shot was blocked for another corner. The post came to Devizes' rescue when another Beard cross was spectacularly headed goalwards by Winston. He got his sights just slightly wrong and the ball bounced off the woodwork for a goal-kick.

Devizes almost had a chance to equalise when a right-sided corner was swung into the box. Jennings went up for the ball, was fouled by at least three blue-shirted ones, dropped the ball, only for the shot from Barry Flippance to be cleared off the line before the foul was given.

Ten minutes were left in the half when K's moved up a gear. Winston was played in on the left and cut back behind Mooney. He ran along the edge of the area, unleashed a very powerful shot which struck Mark Brown, but the rebound almost fell to Akuamoah who was waiting to pounce. Fortunately for Town the ball was cleared before Eddie could get there. But moments later K's were two up. Beard crossed from the right, the ball fell to brother-in-law Pitcher at the far post, he chested the ball down (with slight help from his hand) and shot home from eight yards.

And so K's were preparing to go in for the break with a deserved two goal lead. But that was before Flippance had his say. A kick out from Jennings against the (very strong) wind went more up than out, nobody challenged the striker as he picked up the ball some way from goal, he ambled forward a few strides and then shot from some twenty-five yards. The wind must have helped, but even so it was a great shot, and one that fully deserved to enter the net. It did, Devizes had scored and the lead was back to one.

The second half saw K's playing with the advantageous (or not) wind. The corner count went up and up, with Saunders going particularly close with a header from one when he challenged Darren Walters. Saunders then had a chance with his feet, but played in Derek Allan instead. He couldn't get a shot in either so played in Pitcher. He had similar luck when Thompson produced another good save low to his left.

A good run by Winston almost produced the third but his shot went across rather than into the goal after beating the last defender on the right. Winston was then the supplier, when his cross from the left went towards Mark Boyce (on for Drewett) and Pitcher. The ball was actually met by Brown though, and Thompson produced a save from the top draw to prevent the own-goal as he dived low to his left once more.

Time was getting on by now, and there were some worried glances at watches and/or maps of Wiltshire. But nobody needed to worry. From K's twenty-seventh (probably) corner the lead became two once again. Pitcher took it from the left, again it went to the far post, again it was Winston who headed back and again the ball ended up with Allan. Another right-footed shot saw the ball fly through a crowd of players and Allan moved himself up into third place in the goalscorer stakes.

With the third goal could come a small piece of confidence then. Well no. Some eight more minutes passed before Devizes got back into the game again. Substitute Andy Wicks got the ball in a similar position to that from which the first goal came, again nobody challenged, again the shot came in from some twenty-five yards and again the ball nestled in the bottom-right hand corner of the net. Three-two, with just ten minutes left to play.

Thankfully this proved to be the best bit for Devizes, as K's really did look a much better team after this. Winston was played in on the right and he rounded defender Chris Copp with ease. He looked up to see Pitcher free and pulled back the perfect ball to him. Thompson did his best to keep the effort out but only succeeded in diverting the ball into the top right-hand corner with his legs. And so the tension receded.

Another corner was met by Saunders, a Patterson shot was blocked and the ball fell to Winston. The striker really did deserve a goal for his efforts and he thought he'd got in when his volley went goalwards from eight yards out. But Thompson was out to prove that he deserves to play at a higher level and produced his third brilliant save of the game.

A welcome return for Phil Wingfield may have inspired K's even more, and within a minute the fifth goal came. Boyce was played in on the right with just Copp for company. The youngster got into the area and seemed to move towards the defender before falling. The referee, who was some way behind play, decided that a foul had been made, K's had a penalty and Town had one man less once the red card had been shown. All a touch harsh perhaps.

The only question remaining was whether Derek Allan or Geoff Pitcher would be given the chance to complete their hat-trick. The greedy Pitcher picked up the ball, the crowd wanted Allan and he even went to Chapple to complain about the midfielder's greediness. To no avail, as Pitcher struck the penalty straight, Thompson dived away and K's had five.

Another seventeen corners were earned by K's, and from the middle one Allan thought that he might just have done enough to get half of the match ball after all. Patterson played it in from the right and another superb volley was saved low down by Thompson. The follow up came from Winston and this just cleared the bar.

Perhaps feeling slightly guilty, Pitcher decided to try to earn a penalty for Allan. Bass played Winston in on the left who in turn passed to Pitcher. He was in the area and ran at the goalkeeper. His right foot touched the ball past Thompson and his left stayed where it was. If there was any contact it was minimal, but Pitcher still took a tumble. The referee, quite rightly, said no penalty and produced Pitcher's sixth yellow-card of the season. But that was that.

In the end K's had won fairly convincingly. The manner in which the two goals were given away was worrisome, but the amount of chances created was a plus point. And there's nothing like scoring five for boosting the confidence. Or being in the First Round of the FA Cup come to think of it.

Sat 28th Oct 2000
Kingsmeadow Stadium
FA Cup 4th qualifying round
Allan (2), Pitcher (3,1 pen)
Devizes Town2
1Pat Jennings
2Mark Beard
3Mark Harris
4Eddie Saunders
5Derek Allan
6David Bass
7Gary Patterson
8Geoff PitcherCautioned
9Sammy Winston
10Gary Drewett14
11Eddie Akuamoah16
12Ronnie Green
13Matthew Brown
14Mark Boyce10
15Luke Basford
16Phil Wingfield11
Man of the Match
Sammy Winston
Sammy Winston
Match Report By
Gary Ekins