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Kingstonian 1-0 Hednesford Town

The third relegation "six-pointer" in a row for K's was played out in front of the lowest league attendance of the season (so far) at Kingsmeadow of 651. But those present witnessed something which has simply not occurred since mid-October: a K's home league win. And that it was against Hednesford, who are themselves desperate for points in their bid to avoid the drop, makes it all the sweeter.

With Ian Duerden suffering from 'flu, the team which had salvaged a point at Hayes a few days ago was altered once again. David Bass also stepped down, as Mark Jones and Eddie Akuamoah came in, meaning that Colin Luckett was asked to step up into the midfield. And K's added to this season's goalkeeper list by including Jimmy Glass - who has signed for the rest of the season - in the number one shirt.

The game almost started in the worst possible way for K's when a cross from the right was met at the far post by Mickey Norbury who headed on to the top of the bar. Maybe because it was so early, or maybe because it was expected, nobody in the ground really seemed to notice that Hednesford had almost taken the lead in the first two minutes.

No matter. K's showed that this wasn't going to be like all of the previous home games this season and from then on put pressure on the visiting goal. The first chance fell - strangely - to Eddie Saunders when a mistake allowed Sammy Winston to set him up. The chance was a tough one and the shot flew wide from just inside the box. Next, Winston played a good ball through the (somewhat square) Hednesford back line, Akuamoah raced on to it but saw his shot saved by the knees of Mark Gayle.

Mark Jones was, once again, impressing at left back and a run from him allowed Mark Beard to cross for Saunders. Again it was a tough chance for the big man, and he just missed connecting with the ball at the far post when any connection would have tested the goalkeeper, but the next chance was the one that counted.

Sammy Winston was continuing his recent good form, and a good ball from Pitcher found him on the right. He danced round Lee Culkin, got to the goal-line and looked up to see the middle filled with both attackers and defenders. The ball across goal perhaps wasn't the best ever, but even so, it took a touch from somebody and nestled in at the far left-hand post. Eddie Akuamoah got the congratulations, Mark Jones was officially credited with the goal, but it looked to most present that Stuart Lake had gotten the touch to claim the o.g. Not that it really mattered.

Five minutes passed by and then K's had the ball in the net once again. A Pitcher free-kick was flicked on from the edge of the box for Mark Harris to head home from ten yards out. The celebrations were muted as soon as the offside flag was (correctly) raised.

There were appeals for a Hednesford penalty when a cross from the left was clearly played with somebody's hand, but the referee - like most present - seemed unable to decide who had offended and so play was waved on.

There were two more good chances for K's in the half, firstly when Winston met a right-winged Luckett corner at the far post only to play the ball in totally the wrong direction, and secondly when a brilliant cross from Jones was met by Akuamoah eight yards out. A goal looked to be a certainty, but somehow he lifted the ball over the bar and Gayle turned, relieved to see the ball nestling in the building site.

Stuart Lake sought to make amends for his first half woe when his was the first real effort on goal in the second period. He picked the ball up some twenty-five yards from goal and unleashed a fine effort at Glass' goal. Luckily for K's the new boy was alert enough to get fingertips on ball and to divert the shot for a corner.

From then on the match was really a tale of missed opportunities - mostly falling to those in red and white. Colin Luckett shot wide after Gayle had spilled a Winston shot, Norbury shot just over when nobody had any thoughts of him even shooting, Akuamoah saw a shot saved by Gayle and Jones missed a diving header after a Winston cross.

A fine move gave Jones another chance to score when Winston and Akuamoah combined superbly. A dummy and a one-two allowed Winston to cross from the right, Luckett just missed the ball at the near post, Jones connected at the far but the combined efforts of Gayle and Jake Sedgemore cleared the danger.

The visitors became increasingly desperate to pull the goal back, and they had another good shout for a penalty with some five minutes remaining. A free kick from the right was played into the K's box, Mark Harris jumped with Dan Robinson and headed clear, but many felt that the defender had transgressed. K's didn't care though as they sought to capitalise on the pressure exerted on them by breaking quickly. And things looked good until Akuamoah lost his footing on the edge of the box.

Injury time saw two successive corners for the visitors, for which goalkeeper Gayle joined in. K's just about held their nerve, and as Saunders (who had a very good game) cleared the second, the whistle went. Whilst a one goal win with an own goal against the league's bottom side might not seem like much, this result should hopefully prove to all involved that K's can win home games. The first half performance deserved more than just the one goal, and it would have been a travesty had Hednesford pulled the goal back late on. The question remains why K's can't finish teams off, but at least the question can be asked with a smile on the face.

Sat 3rd Mar 2001
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Football Conference
Hednesford Town0
1Jimmy Glass
2Mark Beard
3Colin Luckett
4Derek Allan
5Eddie Saunders
6Mark Harris
7Gary Patterson
8Geoff Pitcher
9Sammy Winston
10Mark JonesCautioned12
11Eddie Akuamoah
12David Bass10
13Adrian Blake
14Paul Fewings
15Mark Boyce
16Ronnie Green
Man of the Match
Mark Jones
Mark Jones
Match Report By
Gary Ekins