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Kingstonian 4-2 St Albans City

Kingstonian and St Albans took to the Kingsmeadow pitch this afternoon to fulfil a fixture that looked unlikely to take place just a few short weeks ago. Ironically K's first game after the public announcement of their financial crisis came against St Albans back in October and the two poorest sides in the league met again with K's looking for their first home win since turning over Canvey Island back in January.

Sedgley named a familiar starting line up but opted for a less than familiar formation; Billy Mead and Sean Thurgood taking on the two centre back roles, with Max Hustwick acting as sweeper behind them.

James Pinnock started in the centre of midfield and his deft flick to right wing back Liam Collins brought the first chance of the game after five minutes, Tim Sills volleying over from a good deep cross.

Sills was unlucky again moments later when he failed to connect to a Craig Rocastle cross from the left wing which eluded the St Albans back line before drifting harmlessly out of play.

Gary Ansell came close to giving the visitors the lead mid way through the half when he brought a fine save from Lance Key with a low right footed drive. The visitors, who only arrived at Kingsmeadow ten minutes before kick off, were slowly starting to come into the game and a flurry of corners were defended well to keep the game scoreless.

From yet another St Albans corner on the half hour K's broke and Sadler was sent clear only for his touch to let him down, the ball collected by a most grateful Richard Wilmot in the visitors goal.

Within ten minutes however Sadler turned from villain into hero. A K's free kick was only partially cleared and when Thurgood flicked the ball on Sadler was on hand to open the scoring via the post. That he appeared to be offside came of less concern to the home fans than it did to the visiting rearguard, one of whom earned himself a booking for his protests.

The second half started with K's looking to cement their position. A corner from the left was met by Sills, only for his header to be well saved by Wilmot. Wilmot could only parry the effort and Sadler looked to have nodded his second of the game but for a last ditch clearance from Cook on the goal line. It was only a temporary respite however as when the ball came back into the box Thurgood curled a right foot shot through a crowded penalty area to give K's a two goal cushion.

Lance Key was again called into action as St Albans, to their credit, pushed for an opening back into the game.

K's however, had other ideas and further extended their lead on the hour mark, Billy Mead skipping past a defender before drilling a left foot drive firmly past the despairing dive of Wilmot from just inside the penalty box.

A fourth was added just two minutes later when from a Collins cross Sills stooped for a header but didn't connect, the ball hitting a bemused Sadler on his left shin. Sadler had time to curse his miscontrol before looking up to see the ball bobble over the line to stake a claim for goal of the season. Worst goal of the season that is, but they all count.

Sadlers second goal summed up the visitors day. Not playing particularly badly they somehow found themselves four down with little more than twenty minutes to rectify the situation.

They stuck at their task though, and the introduction of substitute Simon Martin brought some reward when he turned Matt Bradford (on for the injured Hustwick) and coolly placed the ball past Key.

Sadler had the chance to complete his first hat trick in a K's shirt but control let him down again when one on one with Wilmot he dragged the ball too far past the keeper and Moran got back to clear.

It was Martin again who made the closing moments more tense than they should have been when the K's defence were caught flat footed and he ran through to finish well and add a degree of respectability to the score line, although in fairness four nothing would have flattered the home side a touch.

Don't get me wrong: K's fully deserved the three points but four goals implies a walk over and the visitors more than made a game of it, especially in the latter stages.

Whether this K's side is good enough to form a side capable of challenging for the title next season is uncertain. Whether these two clubs will exist next season is even more uncertain but finances permitting Sedgley has shown he's able to get the best out of his young squad. If he's given the chance and resources to bring in a few new faces and get the best out of technically better players then if K's don't quite have the players at the moment to mount a challenge next season they certainly have a manager capable of doing so.

Sat 23rd Mar 2002
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Isthmian League Premier
Sadler (2), Thurgood, Mead
St Albans City2
1Lance Key
2Billy Mead
3Mark Jones
4Sean Thurgood
5Max Hustwick15
6Bashiru Alimi12
7James Pinnock
8Liam Collins
9Tim Sills14
10David SadlerCautioned
11Craig Rocastle
12Mark Royal6
14Ronnie Green9
15Matt Bradford5
Man of the Match
David Sadler
David Sadler
Match Report By
Simon Murray