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Northwich Victoria 2-1 Kingstonian

Yet another midweek away game saw yet another late arrival by the Kingstonian team, meaning that yet another kick-off was put back by fifteen minutes, surely meaning yet another fine for the club. Still, no matter - both of the other late arrivals this season have seen three valuable points won, against Stevenage and Telford - so hopes were obviously high that the omen was a good one.

It wasn't though, as K's started like a train - a tube train during the recent strike. It took Northwich all of seven minutes to take the lead, and when the goal came it did so from an expected source - a Mark Barnard cross into the semi-vacant penalty area leaving Adie Mike to head home unchallenged. Steve Sedgley used to play at centre-half for Tottenham, but he clearly hasn't had much effect on the marking capabilities of Derek Allan or Simon Stewart.

The visitors -with Sammy Winston being handed the chance to put an end to his almost-but-not-quite five-month-long goal drought - did come back into the game after they'd warmed up. One can only imagine what they'd have been like if they'd been able to stretch before hand.

Several corners were won by the yellow shirted ones, with Ronnie Green completely confusing the linesman on a couple of occasions leaving left-back Barnard most upset. Yet they came to nothing. Geoff Pitcher, who was back in his normal midfield role after Saturday's excursion forward, did have one chance on the break, but despite the presence of both Green and Holligan in good positions, the attack whimpered out with nothing really happening.

Blundell provided Sedgley with more evidence of what is required when another cross from the right found the attacker standing some ten yards in front of the K's goal, once again all alone. Quite how he planted his header wide of Jimmy Glass' goal is up for discussion.

Yet K's were looking much better, and on 29 minutes they got the equaliser which they just about deserved. Pitcher found Gary Patterson on the left and his lofted cross sailed towards the far post. There waiting was Ronnie Green, but when his header went goalwards it looked like an easy catch for Lance Key. Not so as the Northwich custodian got it all wrong allowing the ball to sneak in between his left hand and his left-hand post. One-one, K's were back in the game and they was surely no looking back from now on.

Within minutes the lead was almost grabbed, when Patterson and Colin Luckett combined well on the left and the latter's cross found Winston. His first touch wasn't the best (and how many times has that been said?) but his second was most excellent, as his attempted over-head kick went only very slightly over the bar. That was the end of the chances in the first half, but at half-time the K's following was left in a fairly confident mood.

That confidence seemed well founded when a superb chance was presented to the visitors within ten seconds of the half beginning. A pass found Winston in on goal on the left of the area with the seemingly simple task of beating Key. He didn't manage it though, as Key's thigh got a good enough touch to divert the ball just past the post for a corner.

Mike went close to restoring Victoria's lead when he shot from twenty yards after Pitcher had lost out to Norris, but Glass got down well to his left to save.

Patterson - presumed injured - was replaced with David Bass, although the stunning lack of preparation meant that K's were actually down to ten men for a short while. No matter, Pitcher sent in a free-kick and Simon Stewart climbed highest in the Northwich box, but headed just over.

Restored to their full compliment of eleven, it really did look as though K's were on top. But once again the tables were turned and Northwich regained the initiative. Firstly substitute Mitchell headed over after Burke had crossed from the right, and the same player then attempted an over-head kick which went nowhere near goal, but did present Devlin with a chance. Thankfully he missed.

And then, in the 76th minute, things took another down-turn. A through ball was played and left to chase were Mitchell and Luckett. The striker got there first and his touch took the ball into the area. A slight tug on his arm was seen as a foul by the referee - aided and abetted by Mitchell's tumble - and a penalty was given. Luckett was distraught, but was thankfully spared what really should have been a red card. Barnard took the kick and, via Glass' legs, Northwich took the lead once more.

K's looked to get another equaliser of course, and Ronnie Green was given one chance to score. Winston played him in on the right, he cut back along the edge of the area and shot left-footed. But Talbot had gotten back to block, and block he did as the ball span away for a corner. This was cleared to the edge of the box from where Pitcher returned the ball with interest, but despite Key's fumble, nothing came off it.

It was now getting late, and thoughts turned to possible changes. Several were predicted, but nobody present came anywhere near matching the thoughts of Chapple. Mark Jones was introduced in place of Holligan, with Eddie Akuamoah moving forward into the centre-forward's space. Still - he knows best.

The final chance came and went with some two minutes remaining. Pitcher sent another free-kick into the area and Simon Stewart met it with everything he had. Sadly, everything he had wasn't quite enough as the ball smacked against the far post and bounced out to be cleared by Walling.

And so K's lost once more - their fourth defeat in the last five games. Such form is clearly relegation form. Yet once again the team showed, in parts, that they do still have a fighting chance of staying up. But the time for looking good but getting no points is past - it's time for fighting and scrapping for every single point. This one definitely goes down as three points lost.

Tue 10th Apr 2001
The Drill Field
Football Conference
Northwich Victoria2
1Jimmy Glass
2Mark Boyce
3Colin Luckett
4Derek Allan
5Simon Stewart
6Ronnie Green
7Gary Patterson12
8Geoff Pitcher
9Sammy Winston
10Gavin Holligan15
11Eddie Akuamoah
12David Bass7
13Adrian Blake
14Eddie Saunders
15Mark Jones10
16Mark Harris
Man of the Match
Ronnie Green
Ronnie Green
Match Report By
Gary Ekins