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Clacton Town 1-0 Kingstonian

The first of this season's several dozen trips through the Dartford Tunnel to Essex saw a match start rather later than planned. A delay of half an hour was required due to the sheer weight of traffic driving towards the sunshine at the seaside. What must be very close to the first-choice K's defence didn't seem to be too unsettled by their late arrival early on, but then managed to allow Clacton in for an early goal.

Max Hustwick played a short pass to Bashiru Alimi well inside his own half, immediately putting him under pressure. Clacton's Scott Hillier challenged and the ball broke towards the K's area. Hillier got there before Hustwick, and with Key moving to his right to cover, the ball went in the opposite direction and snuck inside the post to hand Clacton a fourth minute lead.

Hillier spurned a glorious opportunity to double the lead just a few minutes later when he collected a one-two on the penalty spot but blazed over.

Grant Payne and Scott Edgar - paired together for the first time this (pre-)season - both missed good chances to equalise on fifteen minutes when a long ball from Rob Hollingdale dropped over the head of the Clacton centre-half. Payne's first time shot from just inside the area was turned away by the goalkeeper's leg with Edgar blasting the rebound well over.

Lance Key produced a very good save from Town's number eight after Hillier had again shown his worth, and a good Liam Collins run/cross produced nothing when Hollingdale was unable to stretch at the far post.

The Clacton goalkeeper was finally extended as the half came to a close. Collins and Chris Nurse combined on the right, with the latter crossing for Edgar. He touched the ball back to the edge of the area with Payne sending in a precise left-footed shot that was well turned around the post.

The second-half saw a couple of early chances for K's come and go, with several substitutions following. Rod Davis again showed his pace on the right, with Stafford Browne continuing to impress - now paired with Edgar. Billy Mead found himself getting on the end of several crosses - three times heading goalwards.

The best opportunity of the half fell to Mark Beard after good work by Davis and Browne on the right. The ball was pulled back to Beard on the edge of the area, but his shot was a long way over - with Beard amusingly then blaming Browne.

Clacton ended the game by hitting the top of the bar when the number 8 ran down the right, cut back onto his left foot and shot from 20 yards. In truth that was one of very few chances for the home side, although the quality of the chances will have concerned the K's management duo.

A third defeat in a row isn't the best statistic at this stage of the preparations, but on another day K's could well have won this game comfortably. A good day out; a good run out for some of those still looking for match fitness; a disappointing result.

Sat 2nd Aug 2003
The Rush Green Bowl
Not available
Clacton Town1
Match Report By
Gary Ekins