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Kingstonian 3-0 Hampton & Richmond Borough

With many eyes focussed on the North of London and the return of a certain Mr Campbell to his old stomping ground, the 714 packed inside Kingsmeadow knew where the real story of the day was. Peter Barnsby was captaining resurgent Kingstonian, against the side he left just a few short months ago, in "the match that everybody has been waiting for" (according to The Informer at least).

With David Sadler out injured, Ronnie Green was handed his first start since August, and Mark Royal stepped up from the reserves to make up the numbers on the bench. Hampton had player/coach Craig Maskell out, whilst Stuart MacKenzie (who played a minor part in K's victorious Isthmian season of 1997/8) kept goal for the Beavers.

Indeed it was the visitors who almost got off to the perfect start. Dave Clarke was harshly punished for a foul in the middle of the park, Fouhade Belaide took it quickly, found Paul De Luca on the edge of the box, and his turn and shot was smartly turned aside by "Ryman Number One" Lance Key.

Insert amusing caption here...

Green was handed an early opportunity of his own when a good move allowed Danny Bolt to cross from the left. Green got up well, but headed wide of MacKenzie's goal. Just moments later and K's came even closer. Liam Collins crossed from the right, Greg Ball got a touch with his head and the ball dropped for Bolt some ten yards from goal. MacKenzie was stranded at the other side of his goal, but Bolt didn't quite get it right as he lashed the ball against the inside of the post. The ball trickled along the line, but with no red and white shirt close enough to apply the finishing touch it was left to Phil Dicker to smash the ball clear.

Yet the clearer of the chances were still falling to those in white. Richard O'Connor sent a long range effort just past the post and Eseyas Yadego cut in from the right only to see his shot - deflected off of Max Hustwick - well saved by Key. But the best was saved for last. Belaide sent in a cross from the left and the ball fell to Yadego at the far post. He did superbly well to flick the ball up and over Key with his left foot, but the goalkeeper did the expected by producing a fantastic tip over to deny the visitors what probably would have been a deserved lead.

Greg Ball plays whilst Danny Bolt stands and watches

This seemed to inspire Kingstonian however, and from that moment on there really was only one team in the game. Collins took off on a brilliant run on the right, only to see his shot blocked after cutting in. The resulting corner saw Bolt cross into the middle, but Greg Ball's charge into MacKenzie was never going to be allowed.

But the goal did come just four minutes before the break. Ball played a pass through the static Hampton defence to Danny Bolt on the left, MacKenzie was tempted out to the winger, which meant that when he crossed to Ronnie Green there was little for the striker to do. He nodded home from six yards out and sprinted off to share his glee with the bench (below).

Me thinks the goalkeeper was slightly out of position

Things almost became worse for Hampton just a couple of minutes later when a terrible kick from MacKenzie landed at Ball's feet, but Danny Hedges got back to intervene just before Green got onto his through ball. And so at the break K's held the one goal lead, and were perhaps fortunate to do so.

But the second half was nothing like the same. K's finished on top, and were certainly deserved winners. Things started brightly too, with some early chances for the front two, but Hampton were playing as though they were determined to shut Kingstonian out. Yet as time passed, the second goal came closer and closer.

Hang on - I need to wipe this chip off my shoulder

Firstly Danny Bolt went close with a wayward cross which MacKenzie did well to turn over, and the same player then smashed a long range effort just past the post with his left foot. The ball bounced back from one of the advertising hoardings and Greg Ball amusingly blasted the rebound out of the ground.

De Luca saw a shot once more brilliantly saved by Key at the other end, but the pressure was almost exclusively at the Kingston Road End of the ground. Barnsby almost got the goal that he really wanted, but his header from a Bolt corner was inches too high. MacKenzie was then called on to block a Ronnie Green effort with his legs, but on 69 minutes the goalkeeper (left) got it all wrong.

Danny Bolt broke out of defence for K's and he set Green free on the right. He in turn played in Liam Collins who scampered towards the goalline. Looking up he saw Greg Ball in the middle, but his cross was far too long for the forward. Not to worry. MacKenzie moved to his right, caught the ball in one hand and threw it back to Ball, six yards from goal. Never one to turn down a very early Christmas present, Ball smashed home and ran off to practice his cartwheels in front of the Surrey Comet Family Enclosure (below) as he scored his fourth goal in as many games.

They're families, and they're enclosed.  Hence the name

Ten further minutes passed before the killer third goal came. The still improving Dave Clarke played a ball through the visiting defence and Ronnie Green ran onto it. He ran at the goalkeeper, beat him once, turned inside, beat a defender, turned back, beat the goalkeeper again and then belatedly shot home from ten yards. The joy of his team-mates as they joined him to celebrate showed just how much more like a team Kingstonian now are.

There was still time for substitute Mark Royal to strike a post when he met a Bolt cross, but four-nil may have been slightly more than K's deserved. Yet three was perhaps just. Had it not been for Lance Key's early saves, this match might have turned out completely differently, but after half an hour there really was only one team in it.

Unbeaten in four. Three three-nil home wins in a row. Top half of the table. Things certainly are looking up at Kingsmeadow.

Sat 17th Nov 2001
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Isthmian League Premier
Green (2), Ball
Hampton & Richmond0
1Lance Key
2Billy Mead
3Liam Garman14
4Peter Barnsby
5Max Hustwick
6Bashiru Alimi15
7Dave Clarke
8Danny Bolt
9Greg Ball12
10Ronnie Green
11Liam Collins
12Mark Royal9
14Mark Jones3
15Sean Thurgood6
Man of the Match
Ronnie Green
Ronnie Green
Match Report By
Gary Ekins