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Kingstonian 2-2 Nuneaton Borough

The first Tuesday night home game of the season produced four goals, and not a little excitement. And with K's starting out seemingly determined to put right their poor start to their season, things looked rosy. For about 35 minutes at least. And then the view turned bleak.

Chapple's threats to "bring in the reserves" should the team fail to play well at Kettering - and if the truth be told it's difficult to see how they could have played any worse - were clearly idle threats, as the only changes to the team were that the three Saturday substitutes (Green, Simba and Lee Allen) started in place of Eddie Akuamoah, David Bass and the suspended Sammy Winston. Mark Boyce, who played in a couple of friendlies, was also given a place on the bench. Nuneaton, of course, lined up with ex-K Delton Francis, Lee Charles and Marc McGregor up front.

The game started with Kingstonian attacking the Athletics' End, but the first action came up t'other. A shot to the top-right from Francis needed to be well saved by Richard Hurst for a corner. But on fifteen minutes, it was the end nearer the (cr*p) pole-vaulters which was celebrating.

A foul on Gary Patterson was punished with a free-kick which was taken by Colin Luckett. He swung it in to the far post, and there lining up - totally unmarked - were Eddie Saunders, Amara Simba and Simon Stewart. Stewart won the race to get his head there first and gleefully gave K's the (uh-uh) lead.

Amara Simba, who was of course still looking for his first goal of the season, was given the chance to score just after when Ronnie Green threaded the ball through to him from the half-way line. Wayne Simpson was in hot pursuit, but it was the Frenchman who led that particular race all the way to the edge of the area. Unfortunately his toe-poked shot rolled wide of Ryan Young's right-hand post. The Frenchman's next chance was much more entertaining though - he somehow managed to head a Mark Beard cross off for a throw.....

The lead was almost doubled just before the half-hour mark, but somehow Nuneaton survived. The chance came from a Geoff Pitcher free-kick, Stewart once again connected, but this time headed back towards Simba. His shot was blocked by the feet of the goalkeeper, the rebound fell to Saunders whose follow-up shot was blocked by Terry Angus from on his own line.

Ronnie Green - who interestingly has never scored a goal in a worthwhile game (his only effort so far was in last year's Nationwide Trophy semi) - came close at last when Simba played him through. Under pressure from Angus, he did get in a shot, but Young got down very well to save.

Simba came closer yet to opening his 2000/2001 account when he received a ball from Mark Beard. Stood on the edge of the area with his back to goal, he executed the perfect Cruyff-turn sending Simon Weaver totally the wrong way. Unfortunately he slightly ruined the performance with a shot just over.

And then Nuneaton came back into the game.

A long punt out from Mark Harris landed between Simba and Michael Love. Love won the chase and then sent his own punt back down the left touchline to Delton Francis. He found himself totally alone, cut in to the edge of the area and beat Hurst low to his left. And so Francis had scored at Kingsmeadow - something he never achieved while in the hoops.

The second half started with the visitors clearly having the upper hand whilst K's seemed nothing like the team which had started the game. There was no cohesion, no idea and the passing was completely atrocious. That it took so long for Borough to grab the lead is the only surprise. McGregor was the man who finally beat Hurst again, after playing a good one-two on the edge of the box, Borough led and it was no more than they deserved.

Yet another triple-substitution (surely a sign that Chapple has no idea of his best eleven) saw an end to Lee Allen's home debut, and a first game for Mark Boyce. Perhaps it was this change, or perhaps not, but whatever the reason K's did start to look more lively, and even passed the ball a couple of times. The reward came late on, and when it did, it was Simba who celebrated most.

A corner from the left produced a huge scramble at the near post and it was finally a "hipped" shot from Simba which headed goalwards. Three defenders were stood on the line, all three got a touch - including one with a hand - but they couldn't keep the ball out and Simba had his first of the season. It may have been a scrappy goal, but seasons have turned on scrappier incidents.

There were a couple of late chances for both sides, but none were taken and so the game ended all square. This was probably the fairest result, as K's had started very well, had fallen away badly in the middle of the game, but had then got better late on. The reason? Who knows? It seems that nobody - Chapple and McDonald included - have any idea.

Tue 5th Sep 2000
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Football Conference
Stewart, Simba
Nuneaton Borough2
1Richard Hurst
2Mark Beard16
3Colin Luckett
4Eddie Saunders
5Simon Stewart
6Mark Harris
7Gary Patterson
8Geoff Pitcher
9Amara SimbaCautioned
10Lee Allen13
11Ronnie Green15
12Derek Allan
13Eddie Akuamoah10
14Gary Drewett
15David Bass11
16Mark Boyce2
Man of the Match
Eddie Saunders
Eddie Saunders
Match Report By
Gary Ekins