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Kingstonian 1-1 Bishop's Stortford

With the 7.45pm kick off fast approaching and no sign of the opponents, the big screen was the only source of football at Kingsmeadow whilst match referee Stuart Choate allowed Bishop's Stortford as much time as possible to arrive. Their coach broken down on the Dartford Bridge, Stortford eventually arrived for a 9.15pm kick off.

Er, Stanstead's going the other way!

The Kingstonian line-up saw the return of Bashiru Alimi to the starting eleven, whilst Dave Timothy was given his first start for the club. Bishop's Stortford player/manager Martin Hayes named himself on the bench and Roy Essandoh was tasked with leading the attack.

K's started the brighter, with Liam Collins causing problems down the right and Bashiru Alimi almost having a strike tapped in by Mark Beard.

The early breakthrough did come just after the quarter hour mark. A Max Hustwick free kick was hit off a defender by Stafford Browne, falling for Grant Payne at an angle inside the box. Without a goal all season, the relief was obvious when Payne drilled the ball low across Micky Desborough for the opening goal.

Desborough was the cause of his own problems later when Liam Collins picked up a poor clearance and sent in a deep cross that needed a good defensive header to deny the poachers waiting at the far post.

Half an hour or so into the game and Stortford started to emerge as a more dangerous attacking force. Roy Essandoh broke through on goal only to be denied by the presence of an onrushing Lance Key.

Glen Southam tested Key with a stinging shot and called the experienced 'keeper into action again straight after with a low strike that was well saved at the post.

Stafford Browne was first involved in the second half action, seeing his early strike taken by Desborough.

Gareth Gwillim cleared a dangerous low cross from the middle of the visitor's box following a link-up between Scott Smith and Mark Jones on the K's left. Meanwhile, Stephen Broad was called upon to make a good recovery tackle at the other end.

As the late show moved towards the final quarter of an hour, Stortford opened K's up in dramatic fashion. A run down the left saw a deep cross over into the opposite channel where Darren Wiltshire had acres of space to send a big header into the box. Received by Roy Essandoh, the striker had little problem tucking his header away for the equaliser.

Wiltshire (the aggressor) then tangled with Mark Jones (the reactor). Both escaped with a yellow card, though the feeling, as seems to be these days, was that the reaction deserved a harsher judgement.

Just as the first half, it looked like Bishop's Stortford would enjoy the stronger finish. And so it was until the final minutes. Substitutes Josh Francois and Craig Lewington had an impact upon the game and Kim Harris' men raised the tempo for a somewhat frantic finale.

The first of a flurry of late corners saw confusion amongst the K's ranks with none of Scott Steele, Liam Collins or Mark Beard on the pitch. After some head-scratching Craig Lewington was the unlikely set piece taker and he succeeded in delivering a number of dangerous balls to reap the pressure onto the visitors.

Hold firm they did, and a draw was a fair result for both sides. A tricky game under the uncertain pre-match circumstances for both teams, and a game reported to have been the latest finish in recent Isthmian League history at 11.05pm.

Tue 28th Oct 2003
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Isthmian League Premier
Bishop's Stortford1
1Lance Key
2Stephen Broad
3Scott Smith
4Matt Elverson
5Max Hustwick
6Liam Collins16
7Bashiru Alimi
8Mark Beard14
9Grant Payne
10Stafford Browne
11Dave TimothyCautioned15
12Billy Mead
14Craig Lewington8
15Mark JonesCautioned11
16Josh Francois6
17Adrian Jones
Match Report By
Ali Kazemi