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Kingstonian 1-1 Doncaster Rovers

As seems to be par for the course at the moment, the eleven K's who ran out to take on Doncaster were somewhat different from those who played against Nuneaton a few days ago. Despite being dropped after the Kettering game, both Eddie Akuamoah and Derek Allan were brought back, while Eddie Saunders didn't even make the bench. Interestingly (or not) all of this means that, after just seven games, there are only four players with a 100% appearance record left intact. Doncaster - with just one win so far - travelled south to be cheered on by a large number of followers, who boosted the crowd to over a thousand for the first time this season.

It took just two minutes for the first chance to arrive, and when it did it was one of the better ones of the afternoon. A free-kick was awarded to the visitors about three yards outside the box and Kevin McIntyre's effort flew just wide. An early chance was created for the home side too, when a left-wing cross from Gary Patterson was met by Amara Simba at the far post. He connected well and headed the ball down as he should, but unfortunately for him, Andy Warrington in the Doncaster goal showed his best with a quite superb save to reward K's with just a corner.

But the best chance created for K's in the first half fell to new-boy Lee Allen. Simba did well on the left, beating two defenders, and crossed to the number ten on the edge of the box. Warrington had been drawn to the left side and it looked as though Allen had over half of an empty goal to shoot into. Except he sliced his shot about twenty yards wide. Just needs a goal that one...

Bizarrely, a K's corner almost led to Rovers breaking the deadlock, when a quick break saw Simon Shaw through on the right. His cross was met by Steven Halliday, but Richard Hurst's legs proved too strong as he deflected the ball away. His next save came after a long punt from Warrington bounced over Derek Allan and was collected by Matt Caudwell. The shot was powerful, but Hurst did very well to steer it away with his arm.

However, Caudwell's next chance proved more successful. He ran at the K's defence and then passed into the area, but Derek Allan did well to clear the ball. The clearance wasn't the most powerful ever seen, and when it struck Simon Stewart it got even slower. Caudwell collected and his side-foot shot beat Hurst low to his left and Doncaster led one-nil.

Geoff Pitcher, who had started very well in the middle of the midfield for K's, then showed his petulant side and was cautioned for it. But it has to be said that the referee was slightly to blame. After an horrendously late tackle on Mark Beard, play was allowed to continue. With the right-back in pain on the ground, the ball was collected by Jamie Patterson. Clearly presuming that the referee was allowing any sort of tackle, Pitcher "challenged" at waist height while the ball rolled along the ground.

The referee rightly blew his whistle, but Patterson wasn't happy. After much pushing and shoving, and more than a few threats, everything calmed down and both players were cautioned. And Mark Beard was allowed treatment. The half ended with the lead almost being doubled, when Neil Campbell sent in a shot which almost scraped the paintwork on the top of the K's bar.

K's thought that they might have had an early penalty when Lee Allen ran into the box only to be grounded after a challenge by Mark Barnard. The referee said no whilst Geoff Pitcher worried about whether he would still win the "best dive of the season" award.

When the equaliser did come, it was probably well deserved, although it took some time to come. K's had a good spell of pressure, which resulted in three or four corners. As Pitcher waited to take the last of these, the referee spotted a Doncaster player writhing in pain in the centre circle and allowed their physio on. Some time later play was allowed to continue, but it seemed as though all of the momentum which had built up might have just dwindled away.

Not so. The ball was played in to the near post, Simba challenged a defender and the ball flew into the net. Simba seemed less than keen to celebrate his goal, but that might have been because he almost certainly didn't touch the ball. However, nobody would want to deny him his eleventh goal for K's and so it goes to him.

The equaliser was well deserved, and hopes were high that K's could use that to go onto bigger and better things. But just like against Nuneaton, after the goal things went somewhat flat. Colin Luckett tried to make them better when he shot not far wide from a position on the left. But with three players running into the middle, he might have done better to have looked up and squared it.

Richard Hurst, after impressing in the first half, reminded us all of just how much we miss Steve Farrelly when he came to collect a cross from Jamie Patterson. Under no pressure, he dropped the ball towards Neil Campbell, but luckily Simon Stewart was there to prevent any additions to the score.

The late introduction of Ronnie Green - surely this is the best way to use him - did alter the pace of the game somewhat with K's at least looking like they wanted to score. But so did the Rovers, and they probably came closest late on. Shaw headed a McIntyre cross over, and for the final few moments of the game it was the red and white shirted ones who were hanging on.

But hang on they did, and the reward was another point. Doncaster looked to be a pretty good side and they may think that they did enough to claim all of the points. But the K's performance was at least a battling one, and one which actually involved some passes being strung together, which have been two areas in which the K's have seriously lacked so far this season. Maybe things have started to look up. We can but hope.

Sat 9th Sep 2000
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Football Conference
Doncaster Rovers1
1Richard Hurst
2Mark Beard16
3Colin Luckett
4Derek Allan
5Simon Stewart
6Mark Harris
7Gary PattersonCautioned
8Geoff PitcherCautioned
9Amara Simba
10Lee AllenCautioned13
11Eddie Akuamoah
12Junior Kadi
13Ronnie Green10
14Gary Drewett
15David Bass
16Mark Boyce2
Man of the Match
Ronnie Green
Ronnie Green
Match Report By
Gary Ekins