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Kingstonian 1-2 Canvey Island

Bookmakers would have made Canvey Island incredibly hot favourites for this game, and, whilst in the end they would have been right, they may have got a fright as a determined Kingstonian side once again raised their game against the soon to be Isthmian-meisters.

But, once again it was all for nought as far as the Ks were concerned. In October, the men from the Isle of Canvey blew the hoops away with a stonking 6-1 victory, however in April it took a controversial penalty to separate the two sides.

Canvey, still celebrating their penalties victory over Telford that took them to Villa Park and an FA Trophy Final date with Hednesford, started the game in a very attacking mood. The first main chance came in the sixteenth minute, when a cross from the right by Kevin Dobinson found Lee Boylan, whose powerful header was excellently saved by the Ks custodian Key. Absolutely awful alliteration.

Ks' best chance of the first half came in the twentieth minute, and it was a golden one. A through ball by Craig Lewington sprung any offside trap that there may have been, young forward Aaron Gilbert raced in on goal, but in the one-on-one, Canvey keeper Danny Potter stood his ground and made a top save.

Twenty-six minutes gone, and Canvey cursed the Ks goalkeeper once again. A corner came in from the right, and Lance Key saved brilliantly low down from a Dobinson header, and then managed to save the goalbound follow-up from Ben Chenery.

Substitute Jason O'Connor, who came on for the injured Dave Timothy after only fifteen minutes, was released down the right by another pinpoint Lewington pass in the thirty-third minute. He seemed (from the viewing angle of the press box) to be clear on goal, but possibly wasn't, as he elected to cross. Chenery came flying over to clear for a corner, which was wasted when Jermaine Hinds was pinged for handball.

Lance Key was the hero again a minute later. A free kick on the right was taken by Paul Gibbs, and powerfully met by Dobinson. Key flung himself low and left and made another miraculous save.

However, in the thirty-sixth minute, the expected opener from the Islanders duly came, and it was an exquisite move. Thirteen patient passes (thanks to the mathematically unchallenged Sean Cotter for keeping count) led to the goal. In the end a cross went into the edge of the area, looped up off a defender, Ollie Berquez reacted the fastest and headed past the blameless goalkeeper and into the net. Avalanche now expected, avalanche never materialised.

A largely dull second half (made even worse for this writer when his microphone packed up, only for it to inexplicably fix itself after the end of the match.) picked up with twenty minutes to go. There was a slowly growing belief that if only for work ethic and effort alone, Kingstonian were deserving of an equaliser.

The deserved goal came in the seventy-third minute, and this was a glorious goal. A cross came in from the right by Bashiru Alimi, and what Anthony Savage was quite doing on the edge of the penalty area is anyone's guess, but Ks fans sure were happy he was, as he beautifully volleyed right foot from 18 yards, curling past goalkeeper Potter off the post and into the net. Marvellous.

This woke Canvey Island up, and five minutes later came the decisive moment of angst. A soft header by the otherwise excellent Hinds put the Kingstonian defence under pressure. Kevin Dobinson picked up possession in the penalty area, ran at Matt Elverson at pace, tried to go past him, and launched himself over Elverson's outstretched leg. Arguments ensued that the Ks' defender never touched the Canvey man, but the referee thought otherwise and pointed to the spot.

Opinions were divided depending on the viewpoint any particular person had, but the sad fact is (cue Hansenesque analysis) when a defender lunges into a tackle inside the penalty area, the danger is always evident that an intelligent forward will play for the penalty kick. Unfortunately, Dobinson was intelligent, and Lee Boylan gleefully rammed the penalty home for a winner that was cruel on the home side.

Canvey Island now looked forward to an away game on Good Friday away to Thurrock, a game which, if won, would clinch their first ever Isthmian League Championship. Kingstonian, on the other hand, had Sutton United waiting for them at Gander Green Lane.

Tue 6th Apr 2004
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Isthmian League Premier
Canvey Island2
1Lance Key
2Anthony SavageCautioned
3Scott Smith
4Matt Elverson
5Max HustwickCautioned
6Jermaine Hinds
7Craig Lewington
8Aaron Gilbert14
9Stafford Browne15
10Bashiru Alimi
11Dave Timothy12
12Jason O'Connor11
14Vidal Graham8
15Martyn Williams9
16Scott Steele
Match Report By
Robert Wooldridge