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Brockenhurst 2-1 Kingstonian

If anybody was in any doubt as to the depths reached by the current Kingstonian squad then a trip to Wessex League side Brockenhurst's Grigg Lane ground would have confirmed the fact that this is - by some distance - the worst side to wear the hooped shirts for some time.

Just in case anybody has forgotten, the last Kingstonian FA Cup tie was a fourth round replay - for the right to visit Premiership Leicester City - after two Football League sides had been despatched, on the way to the joy and despair of a draw with another in Bristol City. This match, in contrast, was at a stage which K's had got beyond for the last twelve seasons.

They're going to let us down

Another load of changes had been made to the starting eleven, with Billy Mead, Dave Clarke and Danny Bolt returning from various injuries and/or poor form and with Mark Beard, Ronnie Green and Mark Jones making way - with seemingly no injuries amongst the three. Yet it all mattered little as recent horrible performances were repeated once again.

Lance Key proved his worth - once again - early on when Lloyd Webber crossed from the left to allow Phil Stone to shoot from ten yards out. The goalkeeper did well to hold the ball low to his right, and he also prevented Guy Dipper from connecting with a John Bailey cross from the right as the Brock forwards gave the K's defence a slightly unwelcoming welcome.

He let us down

Steve Brown had a good chance to ease the nerves of the travelling masses when a Clarke free-kick was headed on by Simon Stewart, but he headed wide. He must have then been thankful to see the linesman's flag raised for offside against Stewart. Mead was then given a chance when Danny Bolt did well on the left and cut in to feed the midfielder just inside the box. Goalkeeper Steve Staples did well to spread himself and save, the ball bounced up and was finally hacked away by Matt Parkin (see left).

K's did get the ball in the net with some twenty minutes gone, but the linesman once again raised his flag to rule out the effort. Greg Ball cut in well from the right and shot from the edge of the box. Staples saved with his left hand but couldn't prevent the ball bouncing back to Brown who (having momentarily stopped complaining at anyone and everyone) volleyed home from ten yards out. But Brown had been in an offside position when the shot came in and the effort was correctly ruled out (below).

He complained a lot - and then let us down

Bailey did all that he could to show up the deficiencies of the visiting defence when he ran rings around Colin Luckett on the right and crossed for Dipper. Stewart got a foot to the ball but smashed the clearance against Luckett's chest, the ball thankfully rebounding to Peter Barnsby who hacked clear.

Appeals for a Kingstonian penalty were turned down when a Danny Bolt corner was met by the head of Greg Ball at the far post. His effort was on target, but Dave Knighton got his chest in the way and the shouts were correctly met with a shake of the head by the referee.

The best chance of the half for the home side came and went with some ten minutes to go to the break. K's helpfully started the move with a Clarke free-kick into the box being cleared to Webber. He received the ball just inside his own half and looked up to see that his side had a three-on-two attack. The two backed off and backed off until Webber reached the edge of the area only to see his shot saved well by Key. Not long after and K's wasted two of their own good opportunities. Firstly Brown found Mead on the edge of the box only for him to shoot very very wide and then Clarke played a ball across goal for Greg Ball, who decided to use the outside of his left foot when his right would have done better. The shot was blocked by Parkin.

The second period started in much the same way as the first had ended - with neither side really able to take control of the game. Alex Rossi went close for Brockenhurst when he shot from the edge of the box only for Key to save once more, and then with ten minutes of the half gone the deadlock was broken.

He let us down

Max Hustwick did well on the right and he played a ball down the line for Greg Ball. His cross eluded the group of players at the near post, but Danny Bolt had gone far and had a simple tap-in when the ball reached him two yards out. He smacked the ball high into the net and finally things looked brighter.

Yet just when it looked as though K's might be getting to grips with their opponents two changes were made which seemed to upset the balance. The first was unforced when David Sadler replaced Steve Brown (who immediately stormed back to the dressing room) with Barnsby then limping off to be replaced by David Bass.

It wasn't long before the not exactly unexpected equaliser came. Bass committed a foul some twenty-five yards from goal and up stepped Andy Jones. His shot looked to be easy for Key to field to his left, but a deflection from a combination of Luckett and John Bailey saw the ball bounce the other way and into the net. Brockenhurst suddenly realised that this game was most certainly not over.

Phil Wingfield was introduced for Bolt on the left, but once again he was unable to save a game which was clearly slipping away from those in red and white. And with some ten minutes to go the second killer goal was scored. Jones crossed from the left and Jimmy Sheppard met the ball with a great volley from the edge of the box giving Key no chance. What had been a poor start to the season suddenly became so much worse.

The remainder of the tie became a desperate defensive job from Brockenhurst, with K's throwing all they had (including Lance Key) towards their goal. They did come close to saving the game when Ball shot from an acute angle on the right, but Nathan Bryant had gotten back well and cleared from the line. Wingfield had a late header saved by Staples, but the goal would not come.

We were let down

The game ended with the expected boos and cries for changes at the top, but whatever may happen in the coming days and weeks this was a horrible day for Kingstonian Football Club. Forget the prize-money, forget the prestige of a good cup run, forget the TV exposure. K's were out-played by a team two levels below them in the pyramid.

It is no good comparing this match to those we saw last year, when Brentford and Southend were beaten. In those matches both teams gave their all and gave the impression that they would die for the cause. This Kingstonian team did nothing of the sort. There is no such spirit in this team. Things have to change.

Sat 29th Sep 2001
FA Cup 2nd qualifying round
1Lance Key
2Max Hustwick
3Colin Luckett
4Peter Barnsby16
5Simon Stewart
6Bashiru Alimi
7Billy Mead
8Dave Clarke
9Greg Ball
10Steve Brown12
11Danny Bolt14
12David Sadler10
13Liam Collins
14Phil Wingfield11
15James Pinnock
16David Bass4
Man of the Match
Bashiru Alimi
Bashiru Alimi
Match Report By
Gary Ekins