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Kingstonian 3-0 Croydon

Steve Sedgley's first ever home match as a manager was against a team who were just one point and one place below Kingstonian in the league table. The travelling support of five hoped to see further evidence that the Surrey side were still on the way down and out, but when the referee belatedly brought this match to an end, it was the home side who could celebrate a deserved victory.

They're only meant to collect the footballs

Things started in bizarre fashion when the linesman discovered that one of the nets was less than securely attached to the crossbar (left), which meant that everybody got to stand around in the sunshine for five minutes before play commenced. No sooner had it done so, Bashiru Alimi took a kick and went down for a few minutes' treatment. He got up, Peter Garland went down and the other physio was on. By this time it was 3.15 and we'd seen about two minutes of football. Still, at least it was still nil-nil.

The football finally started for real, and it did so with Croydon threatening. Danny Bower sent in a long throw from the right, the ball was flicked on at the near post and Nic McDonnell turned well and shot wide from the left edge of the area.

This may well have been the wake-up call that was needed for K's, because they took the lead not long afterwards. A clearance fell to the diminutive (to say the least) Jonathan Leacock - making his first start for the club - and he fed a ball through the static and square Croydon defence.

The arms went up, but Sadler had timed his run perfectly as he sprinted through with just goalkeeper Matt Martin to beat. This he did with ease by sending the ball wide of the keeper's outstretched right-hand and just inside the post.

See how much room he had?

The game settled down into something of a scrap for a while after this. The Croydon defence was forever pushing as far up the field as possible, and Sadler was trying everything to get in behind them. There were several occasions when only the linesman's flag prevented another chance for the striker to run in on Martin, but Croydon seemed to have worked out how to frustrate those in hoops.

Bower's long throws were causing more problems at the other end of the field too, with one particular effort seeing Dave Stevens' flick on roll agonisingly across the face of Lance Key's goal as everybody stood and watched. Yet for all their effort, Croydon didn't actually manage to record a shot on target in the first half.

And what's more, K's had quite a few. Billy Mead and Danny Bolt combined on the right to set up Sadler at the near post, and when he controlled and turned on the edge of the six yard box it looked for all the world as though the score would become two. Yet when the shot came in, Martin did fantastically well to block the effort from point blank range. The ball bounced to Alimi on the edge of the area, but his effort was also blocked.

Leacock came more into the game as the half wore on and almost got on the scoresheet himself when his shot was turned around the post by Martin. He was also involved a couple of minutes later as well, when he played the minor role in a one-two with Billy Mead. The full-back's (sic) run was by now into the area, he touched the ball past McDonnell and went flying only for referee Mr. J Pearce to wave play on.

The new look Kingstonian

The second half started in a more encouraging way for the visitors when they managed to get the ball into the net after just three minutes. A free-kick was crossed in from the right, Ross Edwards headed home, but Key knew that the flag was up and so made no real effort to stop the ball.

The second goal for K's, which really should have arrived in the first half, came on 56 minutes. Sadler was again heavily involved, and once he had rounded Mark Dickenson on the right wing it was really just a question of whether he would shoot himself or set up partner Greg Ball. He chose the less selfish option, crossed for Ball, and the number nine tucked away the easiest of his five goals so far this season from eight yards out.

Between this and the third goal there was something of a panic in the home side's area when Mead sliced the ball upwards instead of outwards as Croydon attacked, but Key came to the rescue with a good punch under heavy pressure.

The third goal really killed off the game, and when it came it was from an obvious source: David Sadler running through the static and square Croydon defence. He had been denied several more times by the raising of the flag, but when Clarke sent him through on 76 minutes the linesman ignored the appeals. Martin put up as much resistance as he had in the first half and so Sadler recorded his second of the afternoon and K's third.

The 'programme'

The breathing space allowed K's to play without the obvious financial worries coming to the fore. They went close to getting a fourth when Alimi blasted over from the edge of the box, but that probably would have been somewhat harsh on the visitors who put up a decent enough display. Still, after playing such a mind-numbingly boring offside trap, it was good to see them beaten due to the ineffectiveness of said trap.

And so a win for Steve Sedgley. It was his first, and it must be a welcome relief for him. Croydon were not the best team who have visited the Meadow this season, and there will be many sterner tests in the weeks to come, but a three-nil win is all that can be asked for.

Sat 27th Oct 2001
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Isthmian League Premier
Sadler (2), Ball
1Lance Key
2Billy Mead
3Mark Jones14
4Peter Barnsby
5Max Hustwick
6Bashiru Alimi
7Dave Clarke
8Danny Bolt15
9Greg Ball12
10David Sadler
11Jon Leacock
12Ronnie Green9
14Liam GarmanCautioned3
15Liam Collins8
Man of the Match
David Sadler
David Sadler
Match Report By
Gary Ekins