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Heybridge Swifts 1-1 Kingstonian

Non-league grounds, stadia even, are usually hard to find. Little backwaters of not very much kept aside from ordinary folk, a bit like a slaughterhouse or a morgue. But Heybridge really takes the Wagon Wheel. It seems Mr Beeching decided to remove the local rail service sometime ago, the "crab and winkle line" used to run from Witham linking up with Heybridge and Maldon, also sans station. It seems the line would rush the little critters from the Essex estuary towns to the eager cockneys keen for their seafood fix. I know an eastender, Simon, who to this very day is still partial to a winkle, often before breakfast.

Anyway I digress, was it worth a £20.00 round cab fare from Witham to see the Sedgley Babes? Of course it was, it may have been two points dropped against the basement boys but K's continue to progress, especially when they keep to their passing game. It's still early days but Sedge has certainly re-invigorated Danny Bolt and Dave Clarke, Dave Sadler has a bustle about him and Greg Ball scored another goal that showed a maturity beyond his tender years. Could this squad next season with a few tasty imports challenge for the title? Our leader Alan Kingston thinks so and it's a good point that will I'm sure be discussed endlessly over foaming beer in hostelries the width and breadth of the royal borough.

With a new manager in Dave Greene and a tranche of new players, Heybridge certainly didn't look relegation haunted in the first half. On 4 minutes a good run by tricky little winger Danny Roberts saw him set up striker Dominic Gentle just inside the K's box but he fired straight at Lance Key. Three minutes later a fierce volley from Gentle was pushed away by an alert Key. On 12 minutes it was the K's who really should have opened their account. A good one two between Clarke and Sadler saw a corner won. Home keeper Kingsley Banks flapped at Bolt's corner as the ball fell to an unmarked Ball close in but the surprised youngster headed wide.

K's were on the backfoot for quite long periods and on 21 minutes Key did well again to block a drive from Kevin Budge close in. The rebound eventually fell to Sean Caton who blasted home, Key blocked again and Gentle tapped home the loose ball but he was offside. Just before halftime Max Hustwick was booked for bringing down Budge on the edge of his box. Gentle took it very quickly which was wide but Key scurried across his line to see it out.

The second half was all K's and they got off to the best possible start. On 50 minutes Bolt split a static Swifts backline releasing Greg Ball who took off, rounded a stranded Banks and curled the ball into an empty net. They should have gone on and wrapped up the game. Five minutes later a lovely cushioned header on the halfway line by Ball set Bolt free, he tried to find Sadler but Banks did well to intercept.

On the hour though it was the home side who came back into the game. Danger man Budge took off on a mazy run into the away box and Mark Jones flattened him. Upstepped Dominic Gentle who scuffed his spotkick but it was still powerful enough to send Key the wrong way. Immediately after the equaliser K's had a great chance to retake the lead. Sadler took off on a long strong run down the middle of the park, he only had Banks to beat but he unluckily sliced his drive wide.

The Swifts replied on 63 minutes when a long high ball from the left fell to an ummarked Roberts who slammed his volley against the post, inches away from the goal of the season at Scraley Road. K's then piled on the pressure, with 7 minutes remaining Bolt out on the right found Billy Mead on the near post, his first time flick looked a goal but Banks was perfectly placed. In the final minute Sadler took off down the right, he tried to pick out a speeding Clarke but a defender's boot blocked. Bolt sent in two consecutive corners in the dying seconds but a tired Swifts defence held out, still looking for their first home win of the season.

Sat 10th Nov 2001
Scraley Road
Isthmian League Premier
Heybridge Swifts1
1Lance Key
2Billy Mead
3Mark Jones
4Peter BarnsbyCautioned
5Max HustwickCautioned
6Bashiru AlimiCautioned
7Dave Clarke
8Danny Bolt
9Greg BallCautioned
10David Sadler
11Liam Collins14
12Ronnie Green
14Jon Leacock11
15Sean Thurgood
Man of the Match
Greg Ball
Greg Ball
Match Report By
Old Dubbin