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Kingstonian 0-2 Braintree Town

When Kingstonian and Braintree's paths crossed back in September Braintree were sitting proudly on top of the Ryman League and K's turned in arguably their worst performance of the season. The result marked, if not the beginning, then certainly the middle stages of the end of Bill Williams rein. The title race is now very much a two-horse affair between Canvey and Gravesend, leaving the rest of the league to fight for respectability in the final league table.

On paper tonight's result would appear to be worse than the September game, but as is often the case, the bare statistics don't tell the whole story. Admittedly things looked bleak as early as the 13th minute when Braintree went ahead with the games first attacking forage. Mark Jones was the man who took the honours, beating Lance Key with a precise left foot shot from outside the area which nestled in the bottom corner.

K's responded well, Ronnie Green just failing to connect to the end of a Liam Collins cross on the volley, and the veteran (sic) striker was denied by a great piece of goalkeeping after an equally great piece of control saw him clean through (below).

It so nearly went in!

Braintree were far from content with just the one goal, and Jones almost doubled his tally for the evening but Key stood firm to his volleyed effort. Sean Thurgood almost drew the home side level with a header from a Pinnock corner which went inches wide, and then prevented Braintree going in at half time two goals up - heading off the line with Key beaten by a looping header.

The chances were being exchanged thick and fast and Craig Rocastle was the next to try his luck - letting fly from fully 30 yards, but his effort was always rising and flew over the crossbar.

A classic whodunnit...

K's started the second half with not a little urgency, clearly looking to get an equalising goal as soon as they could. Collins, Hustwick and Pinnock all fashioned half chances but all were to no avail.

As K's continued to press they were caught on the break and Bradley Quinton punished them with a clinical left foot finish from Jones's cross.

Almost straight from the restart Tim Sills wrong footed 2 defenders and drew a splendid one handed save from Paul Catley. The rebound fell to Green just six yards from an open net. A goal and an immediate way back into the game beckoned but Green somehow managed to put his effort over the bar. The young striker hung his head, as well he might; an easier chance he won't get all season.

The second goal and the ensuing miss at the other end seemed to take the wind out of the K's sails and the game petered out as a contest. Tim Sills went close with a header and Lance Key produced a fabulous reflex save when a shot took a wicked deflection off David Kreyling's rear.

Braintree completed the double over K's and on the night were probably worth the three points. On the positive side for K's though, Tim Sills was immense, losing not a single aerial challenge and he showed a good understanding with Green, who proved a more than adequate substitute for the missing Sadler, despite the reckless finishing.

Another thing that many of the protractors may do well to remember (and in fairness it is easily forgotten) is that this K's side are still a very young side. It's difficult to remember sometimes because rather than phasing the youngsters into the first team, the youngsters ARE the first team, and whilst sometimes they will turn in performances like tonight's, the more exposure they get to first team football the better equipped they will be to form part of a potentially championship challenging squad next year. That's the plan anyway.

Tue 26th Mar 2002
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Isthmian League Premier
Braintree Town2
1Lance Key
2Billy MeadCautioned
3Mark Jones
4Sean Thurgood
5Max Hustwick
6Bashiru Alimi
7James PinnockCautioned
8Liam Collins
9Tim Sills
10Ronnie Green
11Craig Rocastle15
12Mark Royal
14Liam Garman
15Dave Clarke11
Man of the Match
Tim Sills
Tim Sills
Match Report By
Simon Murray