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Kingstonian 2-2 Scarborough

The visit of Scarborough to Kingsmeadow had looked to be a good chance for K's to rediscover their winning form, but the sacking of Ian McDonald as coach had totally over-shadowed all of the build-up to this most crucial of games. The pre-match warm-up routines were the same as always, but absent was the almost-Scouse accent of the ousted assistant. In his place was Steve Sedgley, who presumably spent most of the afternoon saying "sorry, what was your name again?" to his new charges.

But the team was chosen by somebody who knew the names - Geoff Chapple - and it was his decision to revert to a 4-3-3 formation, with Mark Harris being the one to miss out. All of this meant that K's were starting the match in a very attack-focussed mood, with Ronnie Green, Ian Duerden and Gavin Holligan up front, ably supported by Eddie Akuamoah in the midfield.

Yet it took just three minutes for the change to backfire completely. A free-kick was taken by Neil Thompson on the K's left, Paul Ellender got his head to it just inside the box and the ball sailed past Jimmy Glass to hand Scarborough the lead. And the strange thing was that nobody seemed all that surprised. Apart from Sedgley perhaps.

But thankfully K's responded in the best possible way - with attacks. Firstly Luckett strode forward to shoot from just outside the box and he was unlucky to see his effort clip Andy Woods' left-hand post and go wide. Then just moments later a good run from Holligan was thwarted by Jason Blunt's foul and Luckett sent a free-kick just inches wide of the same post.

But the frailties of the new defensive formation were shown up immediately after when the visitors broke on their left, and when the cross came over Paul Atkinson was standing totally unmarked in the Kingstonian penalty area. Thankfully Atkinson showed that he cannot volley to save his life and the home crowd breathed again when his shot went some twenty yards wide.

With 20 minutes gone another chance was gifted to 'Boro, when Cherif Diallo crossed from the right only for Gareth Stoker to head into the side netting from just five yards out. He really should have done better - as should Glass who had decided not to come for the cross just feet in front of him.

The equaliser was finally served up for K's on twenty-eight minutes, and it was probably well deserved at that moment in time. Pressure had been exerted on the visiting defence for several minutes before this, and when Mark Jones set off on a run on the left there was expectation aplenty. He beat two men out wide and looked up to see the options available in the middle. At the near post was Duerden and further over was Green, but he chose the hairier attacker and aimed for Duerden.

The man who hasn't scored at Kingsmeadow since October completely missed the ball and so must have been relieved to see it fall at the feet of the man who hasn't scored at Kingsmeadow since April last year - Green. The touch wasn't the best, but it proved to be enough to beat Woods and to hand K's a leveler. Jones was delighted with his part and celebrated in style.

Yet the euphoria of pulling level lasted all of six minutes. Darryn Stamp crossed from the right and Scott Jordan produced a spectacular finish from the edge of the box. Glass was nowhere near it, and once again nobody seemed all that surprised. Least of all Sedgley, who must, by now, have seen what he's let himself in for. The half ended with Holligan heading a Luckett cross sideways instead of at goal, but it was a very difficult chance so there can be no complaints.

The second half was a completely different affair, and one which has certainly been a rarity this season. For almost the entire forty-five minutes, there was pressure from Kingstonian. Scarborough seemed clueless to stop K's from playing, but then it has to be said that they did very well to keep the home side at arms' length.

Chance after chance went missing for K's - firstly when Duerden played Holligan through for a run at goal. Back had come Ellender and the defender did exceptionally well to block the youngster's shot at the expense of a corner. This allowed Gary Patterson to cross from the left and a flicked header from Ronnie Green just cleared the bar.

One breakthrough did come in the 51st minute, and it looked as though this could be the signal for a triumphant K's win. A ball was played through for Eddie to run on to, and with two defenders in his wake things looked good. Both dived in, neither got anywhere near the ball, Eddie fell and the referee pointed to the spot. The only question that remained was which of the two would be shown the red card, and Shaun Rennison was the unlucky one to leave the field early.

Up stepped Colin Luckett as some K's fans looked elsewhere, but they had no need to worry as he sent Woods the wrong way to square the scores once more.

K's came close to winning the match on several occasions in the 40 remaining minutes. Firstly when Mark Boyce darted between two defenders and crossed to the far post where Eddie headed back to Holligan. Just as he was about to shoot, Ellender made his second superb block of the night to clear the danger. Patterson sent a free-kick just wide of the post after Luckett had been fouled on the edge of the box, and Duerden saw his shot well saved by Woods after being played through by Duerden.

The best chance for K's fell to Colin Luckett when a cross from Mark Jones was re-directed to the edge of the box where the midfielder (at least for tonight) shot. Danny Brunton was standing on his own line just inside the post and just about did enough to turn the ball past the post for a corner.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and the introduction of make-shift centre-forward Eddie Saunders for the last minute was desperate indeed. He got nowhere near the ball, but he was in the area when Simon Stewart headed a Patterson cross over. But that was the last chance of the night, and so three points go begging once more.

On the whole this probably wasn't a fair result. Scarborough certainly shaded the first half, but the second was total K's dominance. That this wasn't converted into goals is down to poor finishing and the organisation of the visiting defence. If K's had somebody on their books who could be guaranteed to score once every two or three games then things would be looking so much better. But they don't have a player of that ilk on their books - and we all know whose fault that is, don't we Ian?!

Tue 3rd Apr 2001
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Football Conference
Green, Luckett (pen)
1Jimmy Glass
2Mark Boyce
3Colin Luckett
4Derek Allan
5Simon Stewart
6Mark Jones
7Gary PattersonCautioned
8Ronnie Green
9Ian Duerden12
10Gavin Holligan
11Eddie Akuamoah15
12Sammy Winston9
13Adrian Blake
14David Bass
15Eddie Saunders11
16Mark Harris
Man of the Match
Colin Luckett
Colin Luckett
Match Report By
Gary Ekins