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Kingstonian 1-3 Harrow Borough

This being the first home match since the potential sale of Kingsmeadow became public knowledge, there was much discussion amongst those present about the deal and how it would affect the club, with the efforts of the twenty-two players on the field somewhat secondary.

With the pitch resembling the conditions currently being encountered by US and UK troops in the Iraqi desert, much of the action throughout the afternoon was above head height, as the players struggled to stop the ball bouncing on the hard and sandy surface. They mostly failed, and for large parts the match was a pretty woeful spectacle.

K's started with Scott Edgar and Grant Payne paired up front - leaving Tim Sills to rest before Tuesday night's semi-final - and with Mark Jones making a surprise appearance on the left. It was on the other wing that the first chance of the afternoon was created though - Liam Collins playing in Edgar, who in turn played in Payne, who turned well only to see his shot blocked.

Harrow's Pat Gavin was gifted two chances in the space of two minutes, when twice he connected with a Ross Fitzsimon corner only to head over. Both times he was unmarked, with much head-scratching following from the Kingstonian back-line.

With two goals in his last two games, Grant Payne was starting to show what he could do, and just after the half-hour mark he got his first goal in front of the home fans. The ball was played in from the right by Max Hustwick, Collins flicked on to Edgar, who turned the ball on to Payne. His chest control was exemplary, as was his turn, and he smashed the ball in through the legs of goalkeeper Matthew Ferguson with his left foot to give K's the lead.

As the half moved towards its conclusion, it looked to be only a matter of time before one became two. Payne touched the ball just wide after Chris Whelan had headed across goal, and Edgar headed a Bashiru Alimi free-kick over. But with just two minutes to go to the break, Harrow woke up.

Debutant James Osborn picked the ball up just inside the K's half and moved forward. Craig Lewington did his best to bring him down before he had gone too far, but Osborn rode the tackle and carried on. He cut into the area, set himself up onto his left-foot, and just before Whelan's tackle came in sent the ball over and past Lance Key to equalise.

With all of the on-going rumblings around the club, it was never going to take much to knock the stuffing out of this K's side - and Osborn's goal proved to be all that was required. Heads dropped noticeably, and within two minutes Harrow had the lead. Another Fitzsimon corner came in, Matt Flitter managed to head out towards the edge of the area, but Osborn met the clearance with a sweet volley that went in just inside the post. The half-time whistle went just after with - for the second time in as many matches - K's losing two-one after being one goal to the good.

The second-half was, in truth, something of a non-event. K's started fairly well, and had some good possession, but actual chances were few and far between. Payne had a couple of half chances early on, but didn't manage to make Ferguson produce a save. The introductions of Phil Wingfield and Tim Sills did little to change the fortunes of the home side, as Harrow defended in depth - happy with their lead.

Wingfield came closest to earning his team an equaliser when a long kick from Key was flicked on by Alimi. With Sills sprinting into position in the middle, the winger cut in from the left and unleashed a very good shot at goal. Ferguson got his fingers to it and turned it aside for a corner. Whelan's header from the cross was saved comfortably.

As time wore on the K's defence got stretched on occasions. A fine run by Osborn saw him play in Fabio Valenti, who cut in from the left only to see his shot blocked by Hustwick and turned away.

With just three minutes to go another counter attack - following a K's corner - saw the lead become two. Ferguson caught Pinnock's ball in and kicked long, Whelan couldn't turn the ball aside and in nipped Fitzsimon. He played in Valenti on the right who in turn crossed for Pat Gavin to head home. A good move by Harrow, but had K's not sent so many men forward for the equaliser, a goal that might not otherwise have come to pass.

These three points will have made everyone at Harrow more confident of their place in the Premier League next season. K's have long been safe as far as points go - it's just all the other parts of the club that nobody is quite sure about. A pretty poor display - but one that can be excused.

Sat 22nd Mar 2003
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Isthmian League Premier
Harrow Borough3
1Lance Key
2Max Hustwick
3Bashiru Alimi
4Craig Lewington
5Chris Whelan
6Matt Flitter
7Liam Collins
8James Pinnock
9Scott Edgar12
10Grant Payne
11Mark Jones14
12Tim Sills9
13Adrian Jones
14Phil Wingfield11
15Matt Elverson
16Matt Bradford
Man of the Match
James Pinnock
James Pinnock
Match Report By
Gary Ekins