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Dover Athletic 1-3 Kingstonian

With an amazing rainbow on the way down and a huge fire on the way back, it was an interesting journey to Dover. And the fact that Kingstonian produced their best performance of the season so far made it all the more worthwhile. Just one change was made from the team which battled so well against Chester at the weekend, as David Bass replaced Amara Simba in the number ten shirt. However, one significant change was that of the formation, with K's playing what looked to be 4-4-1-1 with Marvin Harriott at right back, Mark Boyce in midfield and Geoff Pitcher playing behind the lonely Sammy Winston.

And it took just four minutes for a clearly determined Kingstonian side to take the lead. A throw from Boyce - earned after great work from the ex-Hayes man - allowed Harriott to produce a great cross. Bass rose highest in the middle and headed home, via the underside of the bar, from some six yards and K's led for the first time in 21 days.

Yet the lead didn't last quite as long as some had hoped. A corner was conceded on Dover's right wing and the worried expressions leapt onto the faces of the travelling hoops. The worries proved well founded as Neil LeBihan took the kick, Jimmy Strouts rose unchallenged and beat Steve Farrelly at his near post. Was Matt Crossley really that good that we can no longer defend a set-piece?

But K's responded well to this set-back. Eddie Akuamoah was fed by Pitcher, the winger beat his man and tried to cross back to the midfielder. Unfortunately, Lee Shearer got there first and cleared the danger. But the next chance was an even better one, and one that really should have seen the lead restored. Winston picked up the ball on the left and powered his way past the trailing defender. He cut into the box, looked up to see Pitcher free in the middle, ignored him and shot himself. The ball sailed across goal and Pitcher let him know exactly what he thought. It sounded as though he said that they were going on a "ducking hunt" but then we might have misheard slightly...

And still the pressure was piled onto the home goal. The next chance fell to Akuamoah, and again it really should have ended with a goal. Boyce played a good one-two with Winston on the right and then cut into the area. Pitcher was again totally unmarked in the middle, Boyce played the ball square but unfortunately just behind him, yet Eddie was following up well and connected at the far post. The angle was acute, but with the goalkeeper desperately trying to get to the right side of goal he really should have scored. He didn't, as his right footed shot went into the side netting.

There were still chances being created by the home side, but Farrelly was dealing well with most things. A break from Simon Beard on the left allowed Joff Vansittart to get in a shot at the near post, but the K's goalkeeper got down well.

David Bass was having a splendid game in the midfield, and he came close to doubling his goal haul for the season when he connected with a Mark Boyce cross, but unfortunately Paul Hyde saved his under-strength shot.

The second half began just as the first had, with a goal for Kingstonian. A foul on Geoff Pitcher was punished with a free-kick on the K's right, Colin Luckett swung in the cross and the ball sailed to the back post. There standing was Mark Harris who thought about jumping, decided against it and instead just stood still allowing the ball to strike his privates (or as some comics have said, his "Chopper") to divert the ball past Hyde for two-one.

Farrelly was called upon to make another fantastic save when Steve Brown was played through a static (to say the least) Kingstonian defence. Mark Harris chased back but couldn't get there in time, but he needn't have worried, as Farrelly deflected the shot over for a corner kick.

The next save was probably even better. Jake Leberl unleashed a shot from some 25 yards which looked destined for the bottom-right hand corner. Not so, as Farrelly flung himself down and brilliantly tipped the ball around the corner.

The last ten or fifteen minutes of the game were played out with almost every touch coming from those in yellow. Akuamoah had a chance similar to his opener at Wembley, but Hyde did well to save with his legs whilst the last chance for the home side came and went with Lee McRobert shooting wide. And then we were into the Geoff Pitcher show.

He took the ball into the corner on the K's left and then proceeded to give a display of close control which is probably unrivalled in Conference football. Two defenders were on constant patrol but neither got close to winning the ball. In fact, they were getting so frustrated that they ended up fouling the maestro four times in quick succession. From the fourth free-kick, Pitcher finally lost the ball and Dover got the throw. Yet still they couldn't get the ball out of the corner. They gave it away to Winston, he sprinted along the goal-line and tried a shot from the tightest of tight angles which came very close but just went past the far post.

The third minute of injury time was when the encore happened. Winston played the ball to Eddie on the left and he cut into the box. For the third time in the match, Pitcher was completely free in the middle. This time he was found, and after one touch he powered the ball home for number three. Suitably impressed with himself, he ran to the hoarding and struck a pose before being mobbed by the ecstatic K's fans.

That was practically the last touch of the match - a match that may well prove vitally important for Kingstonian's season. They produced the form that we all know that they can, and what's more, they got the goals that they deserved. Had the equaliser not come so soon, the score may well have been more. The message for Saturday's visitors Rushden? Look out - K's are back on form.

Tue 26th Sep 2000
The Crabble
Football Conference
Dover Athletic1
Bass, Harris, Pitcher
1Steve Farrelly
2Mark Boyce
3Colin Luckett
4Derek Allan14
5Marvin Harriott
6Mark Harris
7Gary Patterson
8Geoff PitcherCautioned
9Sammy Winston
10David Bass
11Eddie Akuamoah
12Ronnie Green
13Richard Hurst
14Eddie Saunders4
15Amara Simba
16Junior Kadi
Man of the Match
Eddie Saunders
Eddie Saunders
Match Report By
Gary Ekins