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Kingstonian 0-2 St Albans City

Cold Tuesday night's are never the busiest of occasions at Kingsmeadow, with not even the visit of the league's third placed team enough to inspire more than 229 to attend. The lowest attendance ever recorded for a league match at the ground was treated to a game that had a lot of effort, but little end product.

The K's defence was reshuffled somewhat, with four central defenders strung out across the back - with Chris Whelan replacing the injured Max Hustwick - as well as Mark Jones. Scott Edgar wasn't allowed to continue his partnership with Tim Sills up front, with Phil Wingfield re-positioning.

Just five minutes were on the clock when K's conjured the first chance of the match. Whelan played in Liam Collins on the right, but with Mark Jones unmarked and screaming for the ball at the far post, the winger went for goal himself - sending the ball across goal and out of Jones' reach.

Things took a downturn for the home side twice in quick succession. Wingfield took a blow in the head very early on, and on 12 minutes he gave in to his concussion/blurred vision to be replaced by James Pinnock. Just a few minutes later and Mark Jones pulled up with a groin problem, forcing Dave Clarke into unexpectedly early action. The re-shuffles took some time for K's to get over, and St Albans were able to wrest the initiative.

Kevin Slinn was proving to be a thorn in the K's side, and twice came close to helping his side take the lead. Twenty minutes before the break he played a superb ball through the Kingstonian back-line for Gary Crawshaw to run onto. His shot somehow bounced some ten feet in the air, forcing Lance Key to claw the ball away to his left. Just a couple of minutes later Slinn controlled a cross from Scott Oakes on the right and played a square ball across goal for the in-rushing Martin Young. A combination of Bashiru Alimi and Clarke just managed to put him off, as he sent his shot very over.

The opening goal came six minutes before the break, and St Albans more than deserved it. Oakes sent in a corner from the left, Ryan Moran rose unopposed at the near post and headed home for a very simple goal. The lead was very nearly doubled a couple of minutes later too, when Joe Challinor crossed for Young, whose shot from twelve yards out was brilliantly saved by Key.

For a few moments at the start of the second period it looked as though there were better things to come from the home side. Pinnock steamed down the left wing and sent in a cross to the edge of the area. Tim Sills - by now with his hand heavily bandaged after landing awkwardly in the first half - shot, only to smash the ball against Dominic Naylor. The rebound reached Collins on the right, and he crossed for Pinnock, who had continued his run into the box. He met the ball with his head just outside the six yard box, but couldn't get enough of a connection on it, as he sent the ball spinning wide of Richard Wilmot's right-hand post.

The promising spell didn't last though. In fact, as the half wore on, St Albans sat deeper and deeper, content to soak up the pressure and play on the break. This decision paid dividends when they scored a second goal on 68 minutes. A cross from the left was cleared by Chris Whelan - now operating as part of a three-man back-line - to Young some twenty-five yards out. His left footed shot flew into the top-left-hand corner giving Key no chance and doubling the City lead.

There were a couple of chances for K's to get back into the game - most notably when Matt Flitter chested down and shot wide from the edge of the area, and when Tim Sills headed a late Liam Collins cross over - but in truth St Albans never looked like being breached after going in front.

K's certainly were affected by the two early injuries, and it took some time for the team to re-adjust, but this game can be put down as just one of those things. St Albans weren't particularly two goals better than Kingstonian - they just got their noses in front and knew how to keep them there.

Tue 18th Feb 2003
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Isthmian League Premier
St Albans City2
1Lance Key
2Chris Whelan
3Matt Flitter
4Craig Lewington
5Peter BarnsbyCautioned
6Julian Sills
7Liam Collins
8Bashiru Alimi14
9Tim Sills
10Mark Jones16
11Phil Wingfield12
12James Pinnock11
13Adrian Jones
14Scott Edgar8
15Scott Steele
16Dave Clarke10
Man of the Match
Mark Jones
Mark Jones
Match Report By
Gary Ekins