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Kingstonian 1-6 Morecambe

Back in October, Stuart Drummond struck a last minute winner for Morecambe to secure three points against a K's side which then sank to their knees knowing that relegation was a possibility. Now we're in March, and in the return game there was no need for a last minute strike, but the outcome was the same, except "possibility" can now be replaced by "increasing probability". And all of this on the end of a two match unbeaten run - the longest of the season so far.

Now if anybody is looking for excuses, please stop reading now. Yes K's had their captain suspended, but isn't that really his own fault? And yes K's had a man sent off, but the game was well and truly lost by that point. This was simply a case of Morecambe being far and away the better team on the day, and the result of six-one (the worst defeat at Kingsmeadow ever) was nothing short of justice.

It took just four minutes for the defensive frailties of the K's defence to be revealed - in fact they lasted one minute more than they could have, with Derek Allan clearing a spilled cross for Jimmy Glass. This led to a corner which was headed on by John Hardiker for Glass to compete with John Norman. Some claimed a foul by the striker, but the referee was having none of it and allowed the goal to stand as the ball bounced into the net. Glass should really have done better.

Mark Quayle almost made it two when he raced onto a Norman pass only for Glass to produce a good save low to his right, and Sammy Winston almost equalised just after when he headed a Geoff Pitcher corner over from the far post. But any thought of a K's recovery were extinguished by one swing of Eddie Saunders' boot.

A long punt from goalkeeper Mark Smith was about to land just in front of the hapless defender, but he totally missed his kick, the ball bounced once, Quayle raced onto it - something the other central defenders forgot to do - and had no trouble beating Glass from the edge of the area. Saunders held up his hand in apology, presumably making everything alright again.

Derek Allan and Pitcher both picked up cautions before they combined to give K's a fighting chance. A free-kick from the right was taken by Pitcher and he found Allan at the far post fairly unmarked. His header was spot on, and as the ball nestled in the far corner of the net there was finally some real hope at Kingsmeadow.

This lasted exactly fourteen minutes, when a corner from the left was taken by Ryan Zico Black and met by Jamie Murphy's head. Again there was no challenge and again there was no real surprise when the ball went in. Seconds before the break, any real thoughts of a second half revival were gone.

The home side did start the second forty-five positively, but with so many men pushing up there were always going to be holes for Morecambe to exploit - and exploit they did. The first break followed a Kingstonian corner - David Lee got the ball on the left and raced forward and his cross was sent just wide by Norman. Even their central defenders got in on the act when Hardiker tackled Eddie Akuamoah and raced some fifty yards with the ball past two or three horrible "tackles" by K's defenders. Thankfully his shot was saved, but this was merely a brief pause before the real scoring began.

A good run by Lee on the right saw him approach the goal-line and cross, Eddie Saunders - bizarrely named "K's Player of the Month for February" before the game - make a complete hash of clearing and instead gave the ball straight to Stuart Drummond. He was in no mood to just look a gift horse in the mouth and so despatched the ball past Glass with no trouble.

A triple substitution saw Ronnie Green, David Bass and Phil Wingfield introduced for Ian Duerden, Mark Jones and the hobbling Mark Harris, but this really did smack of desperation. But the desperation nearly worked, with Winston crossing from the left and Wingfield heading just wide with his first touch for over a month. He should have scored, but it probably wouldn't have made much difference.

The fifth goal came with ten minutes remaining, and it did so in what may have been the worst possible way. Substitute Robbie Talbot picked the ball up in the middle of the park and ran into the K's area. Glass came out to challenge, Talbot fell and the referee pointed to the spot. There was little doubt of what would happen next, Glass and ref had a chat and the red card was produced. And so, with all three subs already on, Colin Luckett had the dubious honour of wearing the number one shirt as we saw that rarest of events - an outfield player in goal, and as Luckett became K's eighth custodian of the season.

Luckett did get pretty close to the spot-kick but not close enough as David McKearney's effort went just inside the left hand post, and so for the last ten minutes it was a damage limitation exercise. If K's could hold out at five-one then they would still be outside the bottom three come the final whistle. But they didn't, and so they weren't. Talbot made another run into the area, Luckett tried to tackle him instead of using his hands and the sub had little trouble rounding him and scoring into the unguarded net. Six-one and K's were back in the bottom three after just one game's respite.

The game ended just afterwards and the K's players trooped off with heads hung low once more. And the fact that the next two games will be played with a large chunk of players missing through suspension there looks to be little hope on the horizon. This match wasn't even just a waste of a game in hand - the fact that K's were so comprehensively beaten can do nothing but harm to the confidence of the team, and will have done much good for the other nearby teams when they saw the result come through. Things are getting desperate.

Sat 10th Mar 2001
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Football Conference
1Jimmy GlassSent Off
2Mark BeardCautioned
3Colin Luckett
4Derek AllanCautioned
5Eddie Saunders
6Mark Harris16
7Mark Jones12
8Geoff PitcherCautioned
9Ian Duerden15
10Sammy Winston
11Eddie Akuamoah
12David Bass7
13Adrian Blake
14Paul Fewings
15Ronnie Green9
16Phil Wingfield6
Man of the Match
Jimmy Glass
Jimmy Glass
Match Report By
Gary Ekins