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Purfleet 0-1 Kingstonian

Kim Harris' first ever victory at the Thurrock Hotel was earned thanks to some much needed defensive grit, a slightly fortuitous first-half goal, and a swirling wind that just kept on swirling. For various reasons this report will be somewhat briefer than the norm - not least because there was in fact very little incident to report on.

The afternoon started in depressing fashion for the visitors. At 2:40, Lance Key fell awkwardly while warming up, and made a slight pain in his back even worse. The decision was taken not to risk him, and so Adrian Jones started just his third league match, in front a back-line bolstered by the return of Messrs Flitter and Hustwick.

The K's stopper was called upon within just a few minutes of kick-off. A short back-pass from Bashiru Alimi - in for the chastised Mark Jones - allowed Kris Lee to cut in from the right and unleash a shot from the edge of the box. Jones got down well to his left and turned the ball aside fairly comfortably.

It's above you...

Grant Payne - still looking for his first goal in a hooped shirt - almost had the chance to make a name for himself on the twenty minute mark. Tim Sills sent a fine ball over his own head for Payne to run onto, but Gary Howard tracked him back, bringing him down just outside the box with a tap to the ankle. A red card was probably not deserved, but a yellow certainly was. The referee produced neither. The free-kick was predictably wasted, when James Pinnock drove it straight into the defensive wall.

The half-hour mark saw the game's only goal, and scorer Payne owed much to both Scott Edgar and the wind. A good run from Phil Wingfield earned a corner on the left, Pinnock swung it in, Edgar got to the ball before goalkeeper Alex O'Reilly could and headed goalwards. The ball was certainly going in, but Payne was determined to get his name on the scoresheet, and deflected the ball ever-so-slightly, with his eye-brow, some three centimetres out. Both players claimed the goal, but most on the terrace agreed that Payne had just about got a touch, and so it goes down as his first goal for the club.

Sills uses his body

Purfleet did have one loud shout for a penalty when a cross from the right struck Flitter, but the referee was uninterested. The closest the home side came to a first-half goal was when Tresor Kandol crossed from the right and the swirling wind took the ball towards goal. Jones was aware enough to tip the ball over the bar and keep his sheet clean.

The second-half was, if anything, even more bereft of incident than the first. Now that K's had the lead they seemed happy to sit back and allow Purfleet to attack them. Yet for some reason the home side couldn't even muster a shot on goal, despite having the majority of the possession. K's on the other hand were happy to play on the break, but only really threatened once or twice.

In fact, the equaliser should have come after just five minutes after the interval. A good run from Lee saw him cut the ball back from the goal line, only for Paul Linger to balloon his volley well over. This was really the only time that the home side created a chance worthy of the name. Cliff Akurang did have a sniff of goal some time later, but after he had turned well on the edge of the box, he sent his shot a long way wide of AJ's goal.

This might have been the big scramble

K's did manage to hit the post on one rare foray forward in the second period. Another corner from Pinnock - this time from the right - saw Sills head against the up-right as he met the ball at the far post. The rebound fell to the edge of the six-yard box, where an almighty scramble saw shot's from Whelan and Payne blocked before Mark Goodfellow hacked the ball clear.

The subdued match ended with congratulations all around to those in hoops. Purfleet have been on a good run of late, and to claim three points is certainly a much-needed boost to all at the club. With so much else going on the match became something of a distraction as everybody tried to work out exactly what is happening at the club. But the players certainly kept their minds on the job, and produced a very good performance and three well-earned three points.

Sat 15th Mar 2003
Thurrock Hotel
Isthmian League Premier
1Adrian Jones
2Max Hustwick
3Bashiru Alimi
4Craig Lewington
5Chris Whelan
6Matt Flitter
7James Pinnock
8Grant Payne
9Tim Sills
10Scott Edgar
11Phil Wingfield16
12Matt Elverson
13Lance Key
14Ronnie Green
15Matt Bradford
16Liam Collins11
Man of the Match
Adrian Jones
Adrian Jones
Match Report By
Gary Ekins