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Kingstonian 0-2 Aldershot Town

League leaders Aldershot - seemingly on the march into the Conference after some years of trying - were the visitors at a hectic Kingsmeadow and seeking to avenge their two-one defeat to the home side exactly a year earlier.

The Kingstonian side showed only a couple of changes from the previous weekend, with Bashiru Alimi coming in to replace Mark Jones on the left and Dave Clarke returning in place of Craig Lewington. Aldershot had Lance Key's representative understudy Nikki Bull in goal and former K's right wing back Dean Hooper in their line up. Former lightning Woking man Roscoe D'Sane was a name to note on the starting line up too, though Lee Charles, well known from Conference encounters, was left on the bench.

With five minutes gone, it was D'Sane who had the first moment of note in the game, though having been presented with an opportunity on the left side of the box the little striker fired high and over Lance Key's goal. A period of controlled midfield play followed, in which K's fared well, with Scott Steele and Tim Sills almost able to conclude promising moves in the opponents' danger area.

'Heads I win...'

However, with the half hour mark just gone came a spell of Aldershot pressure that started when a D'Sane right wing cross was cleared almost off the line by Scott Smith, just in front of the awaiting Jason Chewins. Another wave of Shots pressure immediately followed when the ball was sent back in from the left and broke nicely for captain Paul Buckle to smash into the roof of the net to open the scoring.

The game did move back into its previous rhythm and Tim Sills almost notched an equaliser when his guided header went just past the stanction. Sills made his next chance, running down the left channel before releasing a fierce strike that was, unfortunately for the K's top scorer, into the side netting.

As the half drew to a close, Peter Barnsby was penalised for a foul as he advanced to deal with his opponent. The resulting free kick was well delivered by Chewins and left to Lee Holsgrove to head in from close range almost unmarked.

With half time upon the game, a two-goal cushion divided the sides, a margin that was certainly unkind to Kim Harris' side in a relatively quiet opening period.

The second half saw K's attempt to seize the initiative, and former Aldershot man Grant Payne held the ball up in the box before laying off to Liam Collins, whose cross was just a bit behind Scott Steele in the middle and the little Scot was unable to direct his header on target.

Experienced centre back Ray Warburton almost unwittingly gave K's a way back into the game when his headed clearance shot just past his own upright. A couple of further balls into the area were almost sufficient for reward, but not quite.

Another nearly moment

A nice ball laid off by Sills for Scott Steele saw the playmaker line up his effort and whip in a curling effort destined for the upper corner of Nikki Bull's goal, but the young goalkeeper made a spectacular save to prevent his goal from being breached. Bull was on hand again moments later to save from a Sills header.

Sills was presented with an opening when the Aldershot defence failed to deal with a Steele cross, but the striker was unable to get full control of the ball and sent his strike over.

All of the attacking emphasis since the break was with Kingstonian, though the goal had not come and a blow was on its way. Peter Barnsby and Anthony Charles went in for a ball that bounced somewhat differently to what most had expected on a surface not playing well at all. Barnsby went in with his raised foot and Charles with his lowered head. The foul was clear and Barnsby was in the wrong, though quite how the referee considered it to be a red card left most bemused as the K's skipper marched off to the changing rooms.

Barnsby sees red

And so the game crept back into a control battle and the shots column was effectively wiped, with the exception of a chance each for the two England strikers. D'Sane, in typical fashion, raced through the dusty middle and broke clear of the defence before sending in a poor shot wide of goal, whilst at the other end a Sills header needed the interception of Jason Cousins on the line to prevent it from entering the back of the net.

The game went as the form book - and league table - would have suggested, though the gap in performance was not as apparent as one would have expected. Aldershot are clearly are effective unit and had strength throughout the whole squad. Whether or not they are to be rated as one of the stronger champions (to be) of recent seasons is however a question still open to debate...

Sat 12th Apr 2003
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Isthmian League Premier
Aldershot Town2
1Lance Key
2Liam Collins
3Bashiru Alimi
4Scott Smith
5Peter BarnsbySent Off
6Matt Flitter
7James Pinnock
8Dave Clarke12
9Tim SillsCautioned
10Grant Payne14
11Scott Steele16
12Chris Whelan8
13Adrian Jones
14Scott Edgar10
15Craig Lewington
16Phil Wingfield11
Match Report By
Ali Kazemi