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Kingstonian 2-2 Bedford Town

The final game before Christmas saw Bedford make the visit to Kingsmeadow. A clash of very good home record versus not so good away record - a position K's often find themselves on their travels.

Following the midweek win against Worthing in the League Cup, a flat back four was reintroduced with Max Hustwick and Mark Jones taking the full back slots. Dave Clarke missed out in midfield through a one-match suspension, and Phil Wingfield returned to partner Tim Sills up front.

Bedford fielded a couple of recently acquired players in young goalkeeper Duncan Roberts and former Manchester United striker Graeme Tomlinson. Indeed it was Tomlinson - a K's player just a month earlier - who was involved in the first action of the game, breaking out wide and firing safely over the target. After a lengthy delay for an injury to Josh Sozzo, the game restarted and K's set about taking the initiative.

A Scott Steele cross, deflected off Steve Jackman, was only partially punched clear by Roberts in the Town goal. The ball fell for Phil Wingfield in the box and his shot on the turn seemed destined for the goal had it not been for a recovering block from Bedford captain Paul Covington. Roberts, still on the ground, was the fortunate recipient of the low clearance and gratefully gathered the ball.

Eddie Lawley set up Tomlinson for another effort, though the striker was moved off the ball by K's skipper Peter Barnsby. Midway through the half Lawley was at the heart of the following attack, sending in a cross for Liam Folds to head into the ground a powerful header destined for the top corner of Lance Key's goal. The K's 'keeper is however again showing the form that made him player of the season last term, and pulled off a spectacular save to tip the ball around the post.

The spell of Bedford pressure relieved, and the game returned to almost constant K's attacking play. Bedford goalkeeper Duncan Roberts proved to almost consistently be the focal player of every attack, with his aerial prowess - or rather lack of - a feature that K's attempted to highlight. On the half hour mark, a long ball cleared Roberts' head as he came out to the edge of his area, leaving Phil Wingfield to battle sandwiched between Covington and Folds. The latter managed to throw in a saving leg, from which the ball shot across the players and seemingly against Covington's arm - though that was anyone's guess.

With most of the K's action coming down the left flank with Steele and Mark Jones, it was time for Max Hustwick to make a move, and the defender's cross, flicked on by Sills, landed at Jones' feet at the far post, though his effort blazed over the bar.

With the end of what was becoming a fruitless half approaching, Jones combined well with Steele as he charged forward, and whipped in a dangerous cross met by Wingfield six yards out to head home. The celebrations were still to die down when Hustwick sent a long ball forward from his more accustomed position - halfway down his own half on the right. Phil Wingfield, in rich scoring form with his head, rose above Roberts as the 'keeper came out of his area and nodded the ball into an unguarded net to double his side's lead into the break.

Bedford made a couple of half time changes, and moved to a far more attacking position - with as many as three forwards on the field. Yet it was K's who came out as they had gone in at the interval. Phil Wingfield worked a good crossing position on the left but was unable to get any lift on a disappointing ball that ended comfortably in Robert's hands.

With the hour mark approaching, a flick from Tim Sills on the penalty spot landed for Wingfield who neatly opened a clearing for himself at an angle with Roberts flying out. Wingfield, favourite for the ball, got his strike in though the expected hat-trick did not materialise as he hooked his shot over from close range.

To further press the impact, Bedford equalised almost straight after when Rob Miller ran down the left towards the touchline and sent in a fine cross for Tomlinson to beat his markers to the ball to smash the airborne ball past former teammate Key to reduce the deficit.

At the other end, it was Wingfield who now set Sills up, though the league's joint-second leading marksman was unable to get his effort past Roberts, who saved well with his legs as Sills tried to knock the ball past him.

Bedford were by now posing a serious threat to a game that had at one stage seemed won. Key was called upon to save low to his right from Tomlinson, though there was more to come. Only five minutes had passed since Tomlinson's first goal, and his second came about when the forward found himself some space on the right edge of the Kingstonian goal to drive a low shot past Key for what had become a deserved equaliser.

The game was now there for anyone's taking, and despite efforts from Steele and Wingfield, it was the visitors who brought about the biggest drama in the closing stages. With about ten minutes remaining, substitute Darren Lynch got his head onto a long ball and directed it towards the bottom corner of Key's goal, only for the 'keeper to pull off a superb save to tip it around.

The final couple of minutes saw Liam Collins only find Roberts' arms with an unmarked header whilst an acrobatic effort from Sills flew wide. Disappointing as it was not to win the game, it was a good effort from both sides and an entertaining game of football. The outcome turned out to be one reminiscent of what K's find themselves on their travels.

Sat 21st Dec 2002
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Isthmian League Premier
Wingfield (2)
Bedford Town2
1Lance Key
2Max Hustwick
3Mark Jones
4Craig Lewington
5Peter Barnsby12
6Matt Flitter
7James Pinnock
8Craig Rocastle15
9Tim Sills
10Scott Steele14
11Phil Wingfield
12Julian Sills5
13Adrian Jones
14Liam Collins10
15Bashiru Alimi8
16Neil Lampton
Man of the Match
Phil Wingfield
Phil Wingfield
Match Report By
Ali Kazemi