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Kingstonian 0-0 Dover Athletic

An air of resignation existed around Kingsmeadow as Dover attempted to bring the axe ever closer to K's Conference life. In the end a point was handed to either team, with both sides seemingly reaching the conclusion that neither eleven deserved to be upset all that much. After all, it was only a game.

As is happening constantly at the moment, the side which began this game wasn't the same as the one which had started the previous one, with Mark Harris and - obviously getting ready for next season - Geoff Pitcher losing out to Ronnie Green and Eddie Akuamoah. This meant that a 4-4-2 formation was aired, surely signaling that there would be a desperate fight for the points.

Don't make us laugh.

In actual fact, the first half was a semi-interesting affair. K's had the best of it and might have gone in goals to the good. But they didn't, and they really only had themselves to blame. Gavin Holligan had one early chance, which he created by himself (well there was nobody else there to do it for him was there?) when he ran down the left wing and cut in only to fire his shot straight at Paul Hyde.

Mark Beard - who's still looking for his first goal for the club - came as close as he ever has when his good shot flew just over the crossbar from some twenty-five yards. Holligan went close again when his left-foot shot just cleared Hyde's right-hand up-right when he shot from the edge of the box, but all of the chances seemed to be created outside of the box.

One close-in effort was possible, when a good run and cross from the right from Mark Boyce caused confusion in the Dover defence. The ball finally dropped to Ronnie Green towards the right edge of the area, but his shot was hopelessly wide, and it even smashed into Eddie Akuamoah before bouncing harmlessly away.

The half-time news that Kettering were winning by two wasn't exactly unexpected, and the players seemed to show the same lack of belief as was shown on the terraces in the second period. A game that K's were certainly bossing in the first half, and which had a few good chances for both sides, became a turgid "when is this ever going to end?" affair in the second.

Joff Vansittart had a good chance for the visitors when Steve Norman crossed from the right and the (needless to say unmarked) striker shot goalwards. Jimmy Glass produced a fine save to tip the ball away for a corner - but then the K's defence hasn't done too well with these of late. Still, they managed to survive this one.

But they almost didn't survive one of their own. Gary Patterson took it, but within 1.4 seconds Dover had turned defence into attack, with a three-on-two break. A fine run on the left ended with a cross towards Sam Okafor, who saw his header well saved by Glass.

Sammy Winston was introduced for Ronnie Green, who had once again shown enough to prompt fears that he could easily find a new team during the summer who have to travel outside the M25 next season. This was followed by the re-introduction of Pitcher, although not in the circumstances anybody hoped for. A long punt by Glass was headed away by Lee Shearer, but Holligan was challenging, slipped and crashed his head into the defender's knee. The crack was heard from as far away as the A3, and Holligan laid motionless. His exit was via the stretcher, and he then made his way to hospital where they tried to re-align his broken nose.

The referee laughably gave a free-kick to K's, Paul Hyde protested too much and was shown a yellow card for pointing out to the referee that jumping up and heading the ball is not actually a foul. Still, he shouldn't have worried. Colin Luckett blasted the free-kick straight into the wall.

With four minutes to go something of real note did actually occur. Substitute Lee McRobert ran down the left for Dover and was challenged in the area by Derek Allan. The referee said penalty and nobody really seemed to complain all that much. Still, Glass did well to keep Shearer's spot-kick out low to his right and thus the points were shared.

A draw was probably a fair result. Neither side seemed overly desperate to go for the win, despite K's "all-up" last few minutes. Dover's season was effectively over some weeks ago, and they will be quite happy not to have lost to K's, who have been something of a bogey side. And on that note, this was the last chance for K's to "do the double" over anybody this season. Still, there's always next year right?

Tue 24th Apr 2001
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Football Conference
Dover Athletic0
1Jimmy Glass
2Mark Boyce
3Colin Luckett
4Derek Allan
5Simon Stewart
6Mark Beard
7Gary Patterson
8Ronnie Green14
9Phil Wingfield
10Gavin Holligan12
11Eddie Akuamoah
12Geoff Pitcher10
13Adrian Blake
14Sammy Winston8
15Mark Harris
16Mark Jones
Man of the Match
Jimmy Glass
Jimmy Glass
Match Report By
Gary Ekins