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Forest Green Rovers 3-1 Kingstonian

As if Kingstonian weren't having enough trouble, the petrol crisis gripping the country almost caused the postponement of this game. However, always a friendly club, Forest Green came to the rescue by donating their own coach. Always aiming to reply in kind, K's donated the three points to their rescuers. That may be an over-simplification of affairs, but it really did look like Kingstonian didn't mind that they'd lost this game.

Things started going wrong before the game even started, when Derek Allan got injured during the warm-up. This meant a late change to the team with Gary Patterson slotting into the centre of defence and David Bass resuming his midfield position. And things didn't get much better with the first whistle.

Within a minute - the official time being 45 seconds - Forest Green led. A corner from the right was swung in from Jason Drysdale, Adrian Foster rose unchallenged at the far post and headed past the stationary Richard Hurst. One-nil Forest Green. What we wouldn't give for a challenge in the box.....

But perhaps it was just a blip, and the good form from Doncaster would continue. Well it looked possible after a few minutes as K's crafted their first chance. Simba played in Pitcher, who took off on a good run to the left of the area. His cross was aimed at Ronnie Green but the youngster was just too short to connect. But at least the ball was up the right end.

Not for long though, as a cross from the right was very nearly put home by the head of Foster. Luckily he, like Green, was just too short. Luckily, because yet again he was totally unmarked in the area.

Patterson, who, bizarrely, had looked to be the best centre-half K's had had all season, let himself down by trying to play the ball out of defence. His woeful pass went straight to Tony Daley, who played the ball through to Alex Meecham. It was a straight chase between goalkeeper and attacker, and it therefore follows that the attacker won. He stabbed the ball past Hurst, but luckily for K's Mark Harris was covering to clear off of the line for a corner kick. Which was, of course, another worry.

From said corner kick, Simon Stewart did that rarest of things - won a header. His clearance reached Ronnie Green on the half-way line, and all of a sudden K's were attacking. Green had two defenders to beat and did his best to do just that. Unfortunately he lost control at the last moment, but the ball spun between himself and Nigel Spink in goal. One would have thought that, one-nil down, with the ball there to challenge for, in front of goal, Ronnie would have at least put in a tackle. Not so, as he looked up, saw Spink rushing out, made a mess in his pants and jumped clear of the challenge. But Spink didn't quite collect, as the ball fell to Eddie Akuamoah on the left of the area. He cut back behind one defender and shot at goal. With two defenders on the line it was always going to be tough to score, and so it proved as Drysdale cleared off the line.

Some moments later, and K's got worried again as they gave away yet another corner. It was from the right again, and again it was taken by Drysdale. And again an unmarked black and white shirt rose to connect. And again the header went in - this time from Billy Clark. And again Hurst didn't move. Although Mark Harris did move, when he pushed Amara Simba in the back, laying the blame squarely at the Frenchman's door. So that's what a captain should do. Always wondered that...

The next woeful pass (or the next one that got written down at any rate) was from Pitcher. He tried to pass to Simba, but instead threaded a perfect ball to Clark. He played the ball down the left to Meecham, Mark Harris misjudged ever so slightly (ok, by a mile) and Meecham was free to run towards Hurst. This he did, and he slid the ball past the goalkeeper to increase the lead to three. And it wasn't like it was undeserved.

K's looked to have a chance to get back in the game when they were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the Rovers' box. Pitcher lined up to take it, and the travellers wondered whether this would be the moment that rejuvenated the season. It wasn't though, as not only did Pitcher clear the bar with his effort, he cleared the fence behind the goal as well. The thirty foot high fence. Better luck next time Pitch...

But things were looking up very slightly, and in fact K's should have cut the deficit by the break. They didn't though, as first of all Simba headed wide and over from a great chance crafted by Pitcher and Boyce (still in for the injured Mark Beard). Simba's next chance was closer when Green headed on to him on the left of the area. His left-foot volley had power, but went just wide. And then Simba did what we all wanted to do. Kicked an advertising hoarding and screamed an obscenity at the top of his voice.

Early on in the second half, the lead almost became four when Tony Daley was set free on the right. His shot across goal beat Hurst (obviously) but just went wide of the far post.

Boyce and Stewart got cautioned, as tempers became frayed. Shame they hadn't shown as much desire in the box in the first half.

Eddie Akuamoah had a chance with a volley, but blasted high and wide, before the chances started appearing at the other end again. Daley took off on yet another run on the right, swept past Patterson as though he wasn't there and set up Meecham in the box. His shot looked goalbound, but was cleared at the last minute by Patterson who had covered well.

Daley almost made it four himself just after, when his shot from the edge of the box looked set to land in the top corner with Hurst beaten yet again. This time it was Harris who came to the rescue with a header away. The next Daley shot - from some thirty yards - was just saved by Hurst for a corner.

And then K's scored. Whether it was deserved or not is somewhat debatable. Personally, this writer feels no. Patterson played the ball square to Boyce on the edge of the area. He cut inside and sent a (very slow) shot towards Spink's right hand post. The goalkeeper walked over to his right to pick up the ball, the ball struck captain Chris Burns' heel and went the other way. Somehow the ball had enough momentum to cross the line and so it was three-one. And for some reason Mark Boyce seemed very excited by his goal. It's just a shame that he hadn't shown that much desire for the preceding 75 minutes.

Drysdale hit the top of the bar from 30 yards with an audacious chip, and Simba shot over from slightly closer. But other than those there were no more chances created. Still, there had been plenty to keep the home fans entertained before that.

Let's get some things straight. This was a crap performance from K's, and one of many that we've seen this season. But the team hasn't become a bad one overnight. The nucleus of the side which won at Wembley four months ago is still there. Yes confidence is low, and yes some of the players who have come in (Hurst, Bass and Green - yes Ronnie Green - to name but three) look nothing like Conference standard. But Chapple knows what to do. He always does. Doesn't he?

Wed 13th Sep 2000
The Lawn
Football Conference
Forest Green Rovers3
1Richard Hurst
2Mark BoyceCautioned
3Colin Luckett
4David Bass
5Simon StewartCautioned
6Mark Harris
7Gary Patterson
8Geoff Pitcher
9Amara Simba
10Ronnie Green
11Eddie Akuamoah
12Gary Drewett
14Luke Basford
15Junior Kadi
16Lee Allen
Man of the Match
Mark Boyce
Mark Boyce
Match Report By
Gary Ekins