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Kingstonian 0-0 Billericay Town

Bottom placed Billericay, somewhat surprisingly struggling without any points, came to Kingsmeadow seeking their first points under the stewardship of Justin Edinburgh.

The Kingstonian lineup included midfielders Chris Nurse - making his first senior start for the club - and Liam Collins from what was otherwise the same team that took to the field at Bedford at the weekend.

Visiting captain Russell Penn opened a lively first half with a drive into Lance Key's arms and Scott Smith showed some of his international class in an attacking role at the other end, sailing past a couple of men before striking a fierce shot over the target.

Marlon Patterson and Danny Hockton combined well for the visitors, their one-two opening a gap in behind the K's defence in the box. Patterson's shot was well saved by Key's legs.

At the other end was a former Kingstonian custodian not to be outdone. Jerome John - from the 1997/98 League winning side - produced a splendid fingertip save, tipping onto the bar a Matt Elverson header that was flicked on just a few yards from goal by Grant Payne.

Payne was involved in some more close-range drama minutes later when a Liam Collins cross was tipped on at full stretch by John, only to reach - and hit - the K's striker before going wide of the target.

The impressive Hockton was continuing to give the K's defenders a hard time and having beaten Max Hustwick, it was only an excellent recovery tackle that prevented a clean strike on Key's goal.

Full back Jimmy Lee then went on a mazy run of his own down the right, and although once again foiled by the home defence, Billericay were showing that they could certainly cause trouble running at people.

Trouble of another sort was on the way, however. Dave Reddington almost got himself caught in a terrible mess when trying to deal with an awkward ball back to him on the edge of the box. Almost disposed once, Bashiru Alimi was on to him again, though this time Reddington seemingly caused an offence just outside the box on the left. Referee Chris Jones, to the disgust of a vocal home crowd waved play on.

And so play went straight up to the other end where it was Lance Key who would almost be caught out. Some smart goalkeeping when coming out to head a dangerous ball away was almost undone when his header failed to travel far - and critically out, instead landing to Niall Ritchie. Ritchie however failed to take advantage of the glorious opening and the chance went begging without so much as a shot on the exposed goal.

The controversy continued a minute later when Reddington's elbow connected with Liam Collins. the punishment was for Matt Elverson's dissent, and the yellow cards would continue to flow in the second half after the game took on an aggressive streak.

The promise of the first period certainly whittled away in the second, and goals started to look distinctly unlikely. A Liam Collins cross was almost converted by Browne just after the break but Jimmy Lee did well to block on the line.

The introduction of Greg Ball midway through the half though almost produced a welcome result when his first strike of the game fizzed just past the post.

The chances went and the game was played out to the end in what became a rather uninspiring manner after what had been a game of promise in the first half. The team may not be firing on all cylinders, but there are solid foundations to work - the defence is one of the meanest in the league already and there is plenty of attacking skill and experience to be exploited as the campaign gets into full swing.

Tue 2nd Sep 2003
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Isthmian League Premier
Billericay Town0
1Lance Key
2Billy MeadCautioned16
3Scott Smith
4Matt ElversonCautioned
5Max Hustwick
6Mark Beard
7Liam CollinsCautioned
8Chris NurseCautioned15
9Grant Payne14
10Stafford Browne
11Bashiru Alimi
12Scott Steele
13Trevor Jones
14Greg Ball9
15Mark Jones8
16Craig Lewington2
Match Report By
Ali Kazemi