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Kingstonian 2-1 Sutton United

Four weeks since the last Kingstonian match at Kingsmeadow, it was local rivals Sutton United who provided the opposition as K's sought their first league victory for well over a month. A plethora of ex-K's were on show, with Eddie Akuamoah and Danny Bolt in the starting eleven, later to be joined by Scott Corbett and Danny Brooker.

K's lined up with a re-shuffled back-line - Matt Flitter moving to the left to replace the suspended Mark Jones. There was also a return for Ronnie Green, who had returned to the better parts of Surrey following some "administrative problems" whilst on loan at Carshalton.

It was the home side who began like the weather. Brightly. Green was presented with a superb opportunity to open the scoring before the queues at the turnstiles had disappeared after Tim Sills flicked on a throw from James Pinnock. He ran into the Sutton area on the right, but got his shot all wrong as he fired wildly across goal. A poor touch from Darren Beale actually made the shot look better then it was, but it was certainly an encouraging start.

That encouragement was rewarded in the ninth minute. A foul on James Pinnock out on the right allowed Max Hustwick to send a long free-kick into the Sutton box. From some fifteen yards, Sills met the ball with his head and sent the ball past goalkeeper Jamie Ribolla to open the scoring.

Alimi challenges

Dave Clarke limped off a couple of minutes later, with what looked like a reoccurrence of his recent injury, to be replaced by Craig Rocastle. This did little to upset K's rhythm, as they looked to make their superiority count. Green missed another half chance when he latched onto a short back-pass from Ryan Palmer, but Ribolla managed to stick out a foot to deny him.

On nineteen minutes K's were awarded a corner on the right. Pinnock took it and looked to find Tim Sills on the edge of the box. Nick Bailey managed to clear, but only at the expense of another corner. Pinock took it and looked to find Tim Sills on the edge of the box. Nick Bailey was nowhere to be seen, and Sills struck the ball sweetly to send the ball in for his second. The ball did come through a large number of players, but Ribolla will still be disappointed to have let it in.

Strangely, the second goal seemed to inspire the visitors more so than the home side. They managed to wrest the initiative from K's, and all of a sudden it was they who were on the front foot. Their pressure finally told on 27 minutes, with their goal coming from a predictable source.

A free-kick was awarded to Sutton just outside the K's box, Bailey touched the ball to the left and Danny Bolt shot home. Lance Key will have been most perturbed to let the ball squirm through both of his hands and all of a sudden the match was up for grabs again.

Somebody doesn't head in

A couple more chances came and went for Sutton before the most talked about incident of the entire match the first-half. Peter Barnsby fouled Mark Watson just outside the K's box, but for some reason Watson wasn't happy with the award of a free-kick. A couple of pushes followed, which was the cue for the majority of the players to rush in and jump on the offenders. The referee, Mr Chris Salt, waved yellow cards at both players and allowed the game to proceed. Danny Bolt was already lining up another strike from the edge of the box, but he wasn't happy with the position of the wall. He complained to the referee, who amusingly cautioned Bolt. And just to add to his misery, the free-kick was high and wide.

The half ended with the score still at two-one, but not before the fourth caution of the game. Lewis Gonsalves took the ball around Tim Sills, who chased back and clipped the defender's leg. A free-kick was awarded, but once again the referee went above and beyond the call of duty by brandishing another yellow card.

The second half began with neither side really in the ascendancy. K's made an early change, sending on Liam Collins in place of Ronnie Green and pushing Phil Wingfield up with Sills, but it was some twenty minutes before there was a chance of note.

Before that, the referee managed to display his pure incompetence for all to see. Max Hustwick picked the ball up to take a throw on the right and slowly inched his way up the touchline. Before the ball was released Mr Salt decided that he had seen enough and awarded the throw to Sutton, clearly forgetting that you cannot say a throw is a foul one if it hasn't yet been taken.....

Anyway, that chance of note. Pinnock sent the ball in from the right, where Sills played a one-two of volleys with Phil Wingfield, before sending in a shot straight at Ribolla. The best chance for a third goal fell to Wingfield himself just afterwards. A good run by Collins saw him play in Sills on the right. He crossed to the edge of the six yard box, only for Wingfield to fail to make enough of a connection, sending the ball across goal instead of into it.

The defensive wall was broken twice

Paul Honey had a chance for the visitors when he received a throw from the left, only for Key to make up for his earlier blunder, saving well low to his left. Flitter then rescued his team when an up and under landed between himself and Mark Watson, with the defender somehow managing to keep the ball out at the far post.

With some twelve minutes remaining, and with Sutton beginning to build even more pressure, one of the two most talked about incidents of the afternoon occurred. Lance Key kicked long down field and Sills challenged Darren Beale. The K's striker won the ball in the air, heading off for a throw to Sutton. Except the referee somehow construed Sills' challenge as a foul. Even more inexplicably he decided that the challenge was worthy of a(nother) caution. By the time the red card was waved after the yellow, Sills had marched off in sheer disbelief at the referee's decision.

A few minutes later and it was James Pinnock shaking his head in the direction of the referee. A corner was won on the right and Pinnock sent it in to the far post. Beale headed off for a corner on the opposite side of the pitch, so Pinnock trotted across to take it, but had difficulty placing the ball. With no warning at all, up marched Mr Salt, waving his yellow card in Pinnock's face for time wasting.

Things looked even bleaker for K's just a minute later. The corner was belatedly sent in, where Peter Barnsby challenged Ribolla. The goalkeeper went down clutching every part of his body, the Sutton players protested and with the predictability of night following day, Mr Salt waved his yellow card, then his red in the direction of the skipper (below). K's were now down to nine men, but with just a few minutes left to play there was hope that the points could be saved.

Naughty boy number two

Little did those present know that Mr Salt's watch was very different from everybody else's. Ninety minutes were up as Sutton continued to press. Yet the whistle went nowhere near lips. In the end, after more than eight minutes of added time, the referee brought the game to a halt to a series of boos for his benefit.

That K's managed to hang onto their lead says much for the spirit in Kim Harris' side. Against a team who have been on a decent run of late, they pulled together when they needed to and controlled the last few minutes fairly comfortably. The referee's performance was laughable, but that shouldn't detract from what a good result this was. Tim Sills scored two (more) fine goals, and the defence handled the Sutton attack well. A fine performance all around.

Sat 25th Jan 2003
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Isthmian League Premier
Sills (2)
Sutton United1
1Lance Key
2Max Hustwick
3Matt Flitter
4Dave Clarke16
5Peter BarnsbyCautioned and Sent Off
6Matt Elverson
7James PinnockCautioned
8Bashiru Alimi
9Tim SillsCautioned and Sent Off
10Ronnie Green15
11Phil Wingfield12
12David Ocquaye11
13Adrian Jones
14Julian Sills
15Liam Collins10
16Craig Rocastle4
Man of the Match
Tim Sills
Tim Sills
Match Report By
Gary Ekins