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Southend United 0-1 Kingstonian

For the first time ever, a Kingstonian side took the field in the third round of the FA Cup. As they did so, it must have been some sight that reached them, as over a thousand K's fans were packed behind the goal which they were to attack first.

With no injury worries - apart from Steve Farrelly of course - the side named was as expected, with Sammy Winston starting against his old side after missing the last three games. Mark Beard was also making a return to Roots Hall, and the some of the home fans let him know just what they thought of him too.

The game started in the best possible fashion for the Conference outfit. A throw on the left was taken by Phil Wingfield and then dummied (or perhaps "missed") by Geoff Pitcher. There to pounce was Eddie Akuamoah, and after one touch took him into the area, the next sent the ball flying into the top right hand corner of the net to give Kingstonian a remarkable one-nil lead. Now all they had to do was hold out for the next 82 minutes.....

The only other chance for K's in the first half fell to Phil Wingfield, who blasted a free-kick from the edge of the box straight into the wall. But then Southend didn't exactly have too many chances, with Ben Abby seeing his shot saved well by Gavin Kelly, and Leo Roget shooting over.

The half was almost over when the most talked about incident of the day occurred. Ben Abby was heading in the direction of the K's goal, and Gary Patterson caught him with his foot. Abby fell to the ground, the referee gave the free-kick and all seemed ok. Except some of the Southend players still weren't happy. Roget in particular seemed upset, and managed to run all of 40 yards to confront Patterson. Fists flew, players fell, more players piled in and by the time events settled down the only players not involved were both goalkeepers.

The referee decided that action was required and red cards were shown first to Gary Patterson and then to Leo Roget. Neither side seemed to agree with the decisions but then at least things were still even. K's changed things around at the break by bringing David Bass into the midfield at the expense of Sammy Winston - leaving K's with absolutely nobody up-front. So at least the second half action would be down the "right" end.

At times the second period went by with amazing speed, but by the end time seemed to be standing still. Every time K's managed to get the ball they looked to clear as far up the field as possible, and with no attackers it just kept coming back. Southend didn't really look to play football - instead they relied on the tried and trusted long ball up to their attackers. Except Mark Harris, Derek Allan and Eddie Saunders are more than equipped to deal with that kind of threat.

There were chances for Southend - forty-five minutes of pressure must provide some - but when they came Gavin Kelly looked invincible, just as he had against Southport in the last round. And on the one occasion that he was beaten, the shot from Daniel Webb (son of manager Dave) bounced across the goal, against the right-hand post and away.

By the time the fourth official held up the board indicating that there were still three minutes to play, the time was almost 4.55 and some of the K's fans had bitten their nails almost to the quick. The extra time saw one last clear chance for the home side to save their blushes, but Phil Whelan headed wide.

The cheer which greeted the final whistle was immense, as was the delight seen on the faces of the players. Once again they all ran to the supporters and allowed the press men to get the pictures which will adorn their scrap books. BBC's Grandstand showed the celebrations, as did Sky Sports, as the country sat up and noticed that Kingstonian are the only non-league side definitely through to the fourth round.

One K's shot to Southend's nineteen may seem one-sided, but the fact remains that it was a superb defensive performance from the side. It may be unfair to single players out, but Gavin Kelly, Derek Allan and Mark Harris all did everything and more to ensure that their barrier would not be broached. And Derek Allan was rewarded by being the last player seen on the closing credits of Match of the Day. At last, the nation has noticed. It's just a shame that the people of Kingston have yet to be persuaded.

Sat 6th Jan 2001
FA Cup 3rd round
Southend United0
1Gavin Kelly
2Mark Beard
3Colin Luckett
4Derek Allan
5Eddie Saunders
6Mark Harris
7Gary PattersonSent Off
8Geoff PitcherCautioned
9Sammy Winston15
10Eddie Akuamoah
11Phil Wingfield16
12Ronnie Green12
13Mark Boyce
14Mark Jones
15David BassCautioned9
16Simon Stewart11
Man of the Match
Gavin Kelly
Gavin Kelly
Match Report By
Gary Ekins