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Kingstonian 1-2 Sutton United

The final chapter in a tumultuous season saw Kingstonian up against the Auld Enemy of Sutton. After hours, if not days, of speculation, the eleven charged with contesting the Surrey Saturday Senior Cup Final were named. As expected, Adrian Jones claimed the number one shirt, with the slightly unexpected naming of Matt Elverson (skipper for the night) being paired with Matt Flitter in front of him.

With the numbers in attendance increasing steadily during the first few minutes as the queues outside the ground slowly diminished, K's set out their stall. The opening twenty minutes saw almost constant possession for the hooped ones, with several chances being created.

Just two minutes were on the clock when Dave Clarke and Liam Collins combined well to play in Grant Payne. His run was against ex-K Scott Corbett, and although he did get a shot in, the deflection off of the big/bad one made Tom Dunn's first save of the evening easier than it might have been.

Tim Sills spurned his first chance with only five minutes gone. Payne played in Collins on the right, and his first time cross found the striker ten yards out at the far post. He connected well enough, but he could only send his header across Dunn's goal.

Another ex-K, Danny Bolt, provided a chance for the U's when he ran up the left unchecked and cut in to shoot. His shot though was poor, as it went across AJ's goal, crossing the goal-line some yards wide.

They're all supporting The K's Trust

Yet the chances continued apace at t'other end. A Bashiru Alimi free-kick from the left saw Sills set up Collins for a free shot from close-in, but he too dragged his shot wide. James Pinnock, Sills and Payne combined to set up the leading goalscorer for another shot from close-in, but this one also finished with Sills shooting wide.

The third ex-K, left-back Eddie Akuamoah, had to intervene when Pinnock's left-wing cross was flicked on by Sills to Collins. The winger would certainly probably have opened the scoring had Eddie not just managed to head the ball wide.

The finest chance of a hugely wasteful opening period fell to Sills just after the twenty-minute mark. A long kick from Jones saw the striker head out to Collins on the right. His first time ball back into the middle was met by the striker, who had continued his run into the area. He met the ball sweetly at the far post, but once more headed wide to send heads into hands all around Imber Court.

As so often happens, the multitude of chances suddenly counted for nothing, as one individual mistake by a K's player let the lead fall into Sutton hands. A corner from the right by Bolt was met in the middle by Ryan Palmer. His header went towards the goal, and as Jones was challenged by Nick Bailey, the goalkeeper got the last significant touch as the ball somehow crossed the line. The Sutton players were obviously delighted - the K's players immediately regretted their wastefulness even more.

The half ended following a pointless caution for Pinnock, a horrible miss from Matt Gray after meeting a Bolt free-kick, a Matt Elverson header over and a too-high effort from Phil Wingfield. One-nil to Sutton at the break provided concrete evidence that, in this game, chances count for nothing.

Where was the national anthem?

With the start of the second half, hopes were high that K's could pick up where they had left off - creating chance after chance amongst the beleaguered Sutton back-line. Except that isn't quite what happened. Not sixty seconds of the half had elapsed before the lead had become two.

Akuamoah picked up the ball inside his own half and set off of one of his runs. He beat Max Hustwick as though he wasn't even there and just before he reached the goal-line crossed to the near post. There waiting was Mark Watson to side-foot in his 100th goal for Sutton and in the process knock the stuffing out of the suddenly not-so-up-for-it K's.

The red and white ones continued to press though. Phil Wingfield - in what may prove to be his final outing - spurned two chances to pull a goal back within minutes of Watson's goal. First he shot over with his right-foot, and then sent the ball across goal after being played through by Pinnock.

Liam Collins was provided with yet another chance, this time thanks to Sills and Wingfield. The winger's deep cross from the left was headed back by the number nine to Collins, who thighed the ball down only for his shot to strike (fourth and final ex-K) Danny Brooker and bounce over.

Yet with so much pressure on the U's defence, the K's were starting to leave gaps. Sutton almost exploited this when Akuamoah and Bolt played a fine one-two on the left, leaving the former to cross for Watson once more. His header from the near post was a good one, but he got his directions every so slightly wrong, sending the ball inches wide of Jones' left-hand post.

Imber Court

There were claims for a K's penalty when Tim Sills ran down the left only to be floored by Bailey. Referee Mr Bruce McLaren waved away the protests - leaving many assembled behind the goal to mutter sentences containing the words "days", "those" and "one of".

The introduction of Craig Lewington and Scott Steele with fifteen minutes remaining provided K's with some much needed steel - in more ways than one. The assistant manager's first involvement saw him send in a fine free-kick from the left only for Elverson to head just over at the far post.

With the match almost into injury time, Dunn produced another fine save after a Dave Clarke long-throw had been cleared to Sills. Clearly frustrated, the striker picked up another pointless caution a moment later when he finally managed to get the ball into the net - but only after being flagged offside.

The goal that the K's performance truly deserved belatedly came in the fifth minute of added on time. A foul on Phil Winfield on the edge of the box saw Steele send a superb curling free-kick in off of Dunn's right-hand post, but it really was too little too late. There wasn't even time for the ball to leave the centre-circle as Sutton kicked off before the final whistle sounded.

All in all, K's certainly had the vast majority of both the possession and chances. But without the finishing touch they have never been enough to win a match. On another day Tim Sills would have scored a hat-trick - on another day Adrian Jones would have kept out Suttons' early effort. But on this day the trophy went to the team who did manage to convert their chances.

Still, there's always next year.....

Come on own up - who did that?

Wed 7th May 2003
Imber Court
Surrey Senior Cup Final
Sutton United2
1Adrian Jones
2Max Hustwick
3Bashiru Alimi
4Matt Elverson
5Matt Flitter15
6James PinnockCautioned12
7Liam CollinsCautioned
8Dave Clarke
9Tim SillsCautioned
10Grant Payne14
11Phil Wingfield
12Craig Lewington6
13Trevor Jones
14Scott Steele10
15Liam Garman5
16Mark Jones
Match Report By
Gary Ekins