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Hampton & Richmond Borough 2-1 Kingstonian

On the face of it, a trip to a team in the league below you in the FA Cup isn't the most harrowing of prospects. But when you consider that the "under-dogs" went into this match unbeaten at home and having won their previous four games, K's job became clearer.

The Beveree

The eleven selected were the same who came so close to claiming three points versus Bognor during the week, but there was a defensive look to the bench with just the recovering Scott Steele of an attacking bent.

A chance came to K's within the opening ten minutes. A sliced clearance from Samuel Okafor fell to Bashiru Alimi on the left who crossed to Mark Beard. He touched the ball to the side before shooting with his left-foot, but ex-K Adrian Blake in the Beavers' goal was untroubled.

The closest that Hampton came to a chance in the first half an hour was a shot from the edge of the box from Rob Paris which deflected off of Max Hustwick before being picked up by Lance Key. There were however a couple of worrying moments for the K's backline when they twice switched their brains to the "off" position, playing terrible passes across their own goal. Thankfully nothing came of either.

Several chances came and went for the boys in blue before the half-time whistle sounded, but determined to keep the recent run going, none were converted.

Grant Payne just missed connecting with a Liam Collins cross, who then followed up with his own effort which was turned away by Okafor. The same player then crossed superbly twice in two minutes, but both times the combined efforts of Alimi and Stafford Browne at the far post couldn't make the most of what were fine chances.

As half-time approached it was difficult to work out how K's didn't lead. Yet things almost became worse when a quick break from Hampton saw Richard O'Connor's through ball find Adrian Allen for a run on goal. Hustwick managed to get back and just about managed to divert the ball for a corner.

Hopes that K's would continue to dominate in the second half were quashed before most people had finished their interval drinks. Mark Jones gave the ball away to O'Connor, his shot was deflected into the path of Allen, who drilled the ball into Lance Key's bottom left-hand corner to give the home side the lead.

Claims for a Kingstonian penalty were rejected within a couple of minutes of the goal going in. Another good run from Collins on the right saw him play in Grant Payne, who in turn crossed for Browne. His shot did strike the hand of defender Rob Paris, but the referee decided that it was not deliberate so play continued.

Mark Beard went close on three separate occasions as K's strove to restore parity, but when the second goal came it was once again in front of the "shed". Stephen Omonua stormed up the right and played in O'Connor, whose first time shot gave Key no chance as it went into the far corner.

From then on it was desperation time for K's. Scott Steele was introduced almost immediately, and made an impact almost straight away. He'd already shown that - even less than 100% fit - he could torment the Hampton backline, and it took just ten minutes for him to pull one back for K's. He took the ball on the edge of the area, beat Paris and drilled a left-footed shot in via Blake's right-hand post.

As the visitors pushed forward desperately looking for the equaliser, gaps were left at the back which Hampton exploited. Lance Key made two fine saves in the dying minutes, whilst substitute Lee Channell wasted a glorious opportunity to settle his supporters' nerves in the last minute.

Blake makes a save

Still, it didn't really matter that he didn't, because K's couldn't pull back the deficit. Defeat at the first attempt in the cup is never easy to stomach, but when it comes against a team from a lower league, and in a game that should have been tied up at the break, the pill is even more bitter.

Sat 27th Sep 2003
Beveree Stadium
FA Cup 2nd qualifying round
Hampton & Richmond2
1Lance Key
2Stephen Broad
3Mark Jones15
4Scott Smith
5Max Hustwick
6Liam Collins
7Craig Lewington14
8Mark Beard
9Grant Payne
10Stafford Browne
11Bashiru Alimi
12Chris Nurse
13Trevor Jones
14Scott Steele7
15Anthony Savage3
16Billy Mead
Match Report By
Gary Ekins