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Kingstonian 1-2 Hendon

The fact that these reports are now going to appear in the matchday programme means that we need to get a few things straight right away. Every Kingstonian player is brilliant. Every opposition player who does anything even remotely good is lucky. Every Kingstonian player who does anything even remotely bad is shockingly hard done by. Every win is a convincing one and every defeat is a travesty of justice.

Except today of course. Third from bottom Hendon visited Kingsmeadow and secured their three points with a minimum of fuss. Even forgetting their goalkeeper's jersey didn't upset their rhythm.

...and JUMP over the sand dunes...

K's had two players making what couldn't really be called a debut, but in Tim Sills and Matt Elverson there were two reasons why the mood prior to the game was one of some buoyancy. Only four minutes had passed before that was cancelled out with one swipe of Byron Bubb's boot.

The midfielder lost control of the ball in front of the Kingstonian defence, ran through into a position offside by either two or five yards (depending on which sets of supporters you listened to) and was allowed to continue from said position when played in by Martin Randall. The ball was dispatched under Lance Key with the minimum of fuss, with the goalkeeper then running towards the linesman to vent his spleen about the validity of the goal. It was given though, and so K's had once again handed the (by now customary) one goal lead to their visitors.

What proved to be the most amusing incident of the entire match involved K's custodian too. Max Hustwick played a pass back to the keeper, who kicked clear. The ball went forwards, then up, then up some more, then back a bit, then down, then it bounced and then it was caught by Key. Backpass? Quite possibly, but play continued. The wind was certainly making it interesting.

Hooked past the post

The attacking half of the team should have earned a chance of an equaliser with twenty minutes gone, but the officials conspired to deny even that. Mark Jones crossed from the left and Sills got to the ball just ahead of Hendon's Steve Butler. The striker controlled with his chest and attempted to play the ball square. Butler poked out his arm to stop the pass and the referee blew.

Yet for some reason, despite the fact that nobody had moved, and despite the fact that the transgression had quite clearly occurred inside the penalty area, and despite the fact that the referee was in a perfect position to see the incident, the referee - Mr Peter Yeo - gave just a free-kick to K's on the very edge of the box. Strangely there were few complains, and when the resulting cross was cleared, Bashiru Alimi saw his shot fly over.

The second goal was nothing if not unexpected, and so it proved. Twenty-nine minutes were on the clock when Simon Clarke crossed from the left, Randall headed back across goal and Ricci Crace swept the ball home from close in. The three-man central defence was completely exposed and Hendon had taken advantage clinically.

The contrast between blue sky and grey cloud really is remarkable

The only reason the scoreline didn't get worse for K's before the break was (Player Of The Year In Waiting) Lance Key. He denied Randall with a fantastic save from a header, and he also kept out another Crace effort. If there is one player who deserves to play at a higher standard then it is he. Better than Farrelly? Quite possibly.

The half-time break saw the introduction of Liam Garman in place of Billy Mead. The substitute took little time to get involved - picking up a caution after being on the field for some five minutes. The resulting free-kick allowed Key to show his worth once more - this time saving a Butler header. A quick break almost presented Sills with a debut goal (of sorts) but Butler had raced back down the other end and cleared just before the striker could connect with Dave Clarke's cross.

The lead should have become three when Hendon's substitute Dale Binns ran past Max Hustwick on the left and crossed for Crace. The forward had ample time in front of goal, but only managed to balloon his effort some distance over the crossbar.

However in truth, K's did have a better time of it in the second half, and they got the goal which they deserved on 62 minutes. Mark Jones (below) - who was having a storming game at left wing-back - crossed from his position just inside the touchline. Butler inadvertently flicked the ball on at the near post and Liam Collins, coming into the area on the right, unleashed a very good right-footed volley across goalkeeper David Hook. The ball nestled into the far corner of the net for Collins' first goal for the club.

A late candidate for Sven's squad?

There were several chances for the scoreline to be equalled by K's, but a combination of saves from Hook, poor touches in front of goal and one poor decision by the referee conspired to mean that the game ended in Hendon's advantage.

The poor decision came when a Collins cross was flicked on towards the right-hand edge of the area. Steve Forbes stopped the ball reaching Clarke with his hand but once again neither official agreed with the view of those behind the goal. Play continued until Alimi shot wildly over once again.

Elverson shot wide and Hook saved from Sills late on, but Hendon had done enough in the first half to claim these three points. The visitors were delighted with their win which increases the likelihood of them re-visiting Kingsmeadow next season. One can but hope that they will see a different sort of performance from those in red and white.

Sat 9th Mar 2002
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Isthmian League Premier
1Lance Key
2Billy Mead12
3Mark Jones
4Sean Thurgood
5Max Hustwick
6Matt Elverson
7Bashiru Alimi
8Dave Clarke15
9Tim Sills
10David Sadler
11Liam Collins
12Liam GarmanCautioned2
14Mark Royal
15James Pinnock8
Man of the Match
Mark Jones
Mark Jones
Match Report By
Gary Ekins