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Carshalton Athletic 2-1 Kingstonian

With the announcement just before the last scheduled Ryman Premier League match of the season that K's would in fact be taking part in the play-offs at the end of the season, this trip to Carshalton's Colston Avenue ground suddenly became meaningful again. Depending on results elsewhere, a home tie for the forthcoming extra game or two could be claimed with a win.

K's started like the proverbial train and had several good chances before Scott Steele swung a foot on twenty-one minutes. Peter Wood had sliced just wide of his own post after a cross from Grant Payne, and Bashiru Alimi had got just a toe-nail on a Mark Beard corner when any greater touch would have sent the ball past Stuart Searle.

Yet when the opening goal did come, it really was from out of nowhere. A long diagonal ball found Steele on the left wing and he sent a twenty-five-yard unstoppable half-volley dipping over Searle and into the far corner of the net for a quite exquisite goal.

A goal deserving the plaudits

One could have become two not long before the break when a long kick-out from Lance Key was flicked on by Stafford Browne and collected by Grant Payne. The ball escaped the club's third top-scorer's grasp though, leaving him stuck on just the five goals for a very unproductive season.

The second half began with K's still in the ascendancy, but Searle saved well from a Steele free-kick and chances for Payne and another for Steele went begging.

Carshalton pulled themselves back into the game ten minutes after the break. A shot from Matt York from the edge of the box struck Sam Saunders, but the striker managed to collect his own ricochet and smash the ball past Key before any defender could react.

There was a moment or two of concern for the Robins' defence when a free-kick from Mark Beard saw Alimi, Browne and Payne all head goalwards, only for the massed ranks of the maroon shirted ones to repel the advance.

With the match heading towards the inevitable draw, the home side produced just one moment of magic. Marlow Paterson and substitute Des Boateng combined well to set up Saunders on the edge of the box, and his superb curling right footed shot crept inside Key's left-hand post.

Worse was to follow for K's though when it became clear that the goalkeeper had done himself some damage as he attempted to get to the shot. After several minutes of treatment the decision was taken to take him off, leaving Liam Collins to grab the gloves and over-sized shirt.

Liam 'the cat' Collins

For a team that had played the long ball all afternoon, it was then strange that Carshalton didn't do the same to test the stand-in 'keeper. Collins in fact had little trouble in keeping his sheet clean for the remaining ten minutes, with just one effort on goal from Nic McDonnell requiring a save.

A Key injury going into the playoffs

The season then ended with a defeat, but entry into the play-offs was assured. But Aylesbury's two goals in defeat against Maidenhead meant that one thing was confirmed - that Kingstonian FC scored the fewest goals in the 24-team Ryman Premier League. Something to improve on next season, that's for sure.

Sat 1st May 2004
Colston Avenue
Isthmian League Premier
Carshalton Athletic2
1Lance Key14
2Stuart BoothCautioned
3Scott Smith
4Matt Elverson17
5Max Hustwick
6Liam Collins
7Grant Payne
8Mark Beard
9Stafford Browne12
10Scott Steele
11Bashiru Alimi
12Martyn Williams9
14Craig LewingtonCautioned1
15Anthony Savage
16Aaron Gilbert
17Jermaine Hinds4
Match Report By
Gary Ekins