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Kingstonian 2-1 Basingstoke Town

On the back of an unbeaten start to the season, confidence was fairly high before the visit of Basingstoke Town to Kingsmeadow. The fact that the last three matches had seen three draws dampened the spirits somewhat, but this match proved to be just the opportunity the Kingstonian squad needed to show their mettle.

A fair few changes were made to the starting line-up, with Mark Jones making his first start of the season and Jamie Leacock displacing Liam Collins on the wing. With Max Hustwick still injured from Saturday, Julian Sills stepped back into the defensive threesome of himself, Matt Flitter and Sean Thurgood.

The opening moments saw K's in the same mood as that in which they ended Saturday's match at Sutton. Basingstoke rarely touched the ball in the first ten minutes and K's capitalised with a deserved early goal. A foul on Mark Jones out on the left was punished firstly by a free-kick, and secondly by Tim Sills' head. Phil Wingfield swung the free-kick over to the far post, where the unmarked striker planted his header over goalkeeper Simon Arthur for his first of the season.

He was clearly in the mood to wreak havoc upon his old chums in the Basingstoke defence, and he very nearly doubled the lead five minutes later. He picked the ball up on the half-way line and - though not always in complete control of the ball - produced a superb run which ended with a shot just wide from 30 yards.

The visitors started to get back into the match as the twenty minute mark was reached. There were appeals for a penalty when a shot from Craig McAllister was blocked by some part of Julian Sills' anatomy. The referee decided that his hand had not been used so play continued.

At the other end, brother Tim was doing his utmost to prove that those who doubt his interest in Kingstonian's season talk complete twaddle. He shot just wide after being played in by a fine diagonal ball from Dave Clarke and he then connected with a Clarke cross only for Steve Hemmings to block.

Still, as has happened more than once this season, the K's defence managed to let down those at the other end of the field when they - with apologies for the terrible pun - handed Basingstoke an opportunity to equalise. Alex Ewin picked up the ball on the right, and as he crossed towards Neville Roach, Flitter stuck out his right hand prompting the referee, Mr Ralph Bone, to award a penalty which McAllister confidently swept home.

Chances were missed by both sides as the interval approached, with Greg Ball and Phil Wingfield both guilty for the home side, and Roach for the 'Stoke. A change in both personnel and formation was made during the break - with Liam Collins coming on in place of 'flu victim Flitter, as the defence became a foursome again.

The second half began in a similar vein to the first. K's attacked almost constantly, and the only question was when the second goal would come. Clarke played in Wingfield on the left after three minutes, and although his cross sought the head of Sills, it managed instead to strike the middle of the crossbar, leaving goalkeeper Simon Arthur relieved.

Within a minute, a different part of Arthur's goal frame had been tested too. Collins crossed from the right where Sills connected with a fine header only to see his effort hit the post and bounce across goal and away. Still, no need to worry. The deserved second goal came with nine minutes of the half gone, and it was nothing short of a beauty.

Clarke played a ball down the left which looked to be no real threat to Basingstoke until Hemmings missed it. Sills was on it in a flash, and as Kevin Gibbons came across to challenge, he flicked the ball up and over the defender, then executed the perfect volley as he met the ball on the down. The shot went straight into the top corner and Sills went straight into the crowd as he celebrated a quite spectacular goal. Think of Paul Gascoigne's Wembley goal versus Scotland, then double it.

The game was, of course, now unable to live up to the expectation that had been amassed. K's certainly controlled the majority of the play and could have extended their lead on a few occasions. Yet there were still worrying moments at the other end - mostly caused by a lack of concentration at the back. Craig Lewington didn't collect a throw from Jones and was relieved when Ricky Allaway shot over and several chances were spurned by the visitors as the final few minutes were reached.

Yet the whistle went with Kingstonian still very much in the lead. More goals could - and perhaps should - have been scored in the second half, but a win, as they say, is a win. With five games gone, a record of no defeats is nothing to be ashamed of. Basingstoke were a fairly impressive side, but there was never really any doubt as to who would win this match. And with Tim Sills in this kind of mood, anything is possible for this side.

Tue 17th Sep 2002
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Isthmian League Premier
Sills (2)
Basingstoke Town1
1Lance Key
2Sean Thurgood
3Mark Jones14
4Craig Lewington
5Matt Flitter15
6Julian Sills
7Jamie Leacock
8Dave Clarke
9Tim Sills
10Greg Ball
11Phil Wingfield12
12Bashiru Alimi11
13Adrian Jones
14David Ocquaye3
15Liam Collins5
16James Pinnock
Man of the Match
Tim Sills
Tim Sills
Match Report By
Gary Ekins