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Hornchurch 1-0 Kingstonian

The unfamiliar settings of the Hornchurch Stadium were the setting for Kingstonian's latest venture into Essex, with the plush settings of the clubhouse and the scarred old athletics track providing as stark a contrast as imaginable for this Ryman League fixture.

It would be unfair to make such a comparison between the sides, for the K's side does not lack ability. It does lack goals, however, and manager Kim Harris signalled his intent by recalling Stafford Browne to a starting line-up bearing the names of three strikers.

Hornchurch, assembled at some cost, were led by captain Steve West and boasted the likes of the dangerous Vinnie John and former Queens Park Rangers man Bradley Allen up front.

It was a good start to the game from the K's, with Liam Collins raiding down the right wing and Chris Bangura looking lively deployed on the other side. Home 'keeper Danny Gay was however well protected and only called upon to take a long range Liam Collins shot.

At the other end, Gavin McGowan saw his shot on the quarter hour mark strike the crossbar. The rebound did not fall kindly for the attackers and was hacked away to clear the danger.

The talking point of the first half came in the 20th minutes when Chris Nurse and Steve West went in for a challenge - one which Nurse seemingly fairly won, poking the ball through towards a colleague. Referee Evetts was unimpressed and Nurse was cautioned. The unfortunate West sustained an injury and had to be helped off.

No sooner had the game had restarted, the crucial opening goal had been scored. Gay's hoisted kick was flicked into the path of Bradley Allen by Vinnie John's head, and Allen's execution was excellent as he struck the half-volley low past Lance Key and just inside of the upright.

Following Saturday's troubles at Thurrock, K's were able to show their resilience and regroup. Bangura almost played Grant Payne in, only for Gay to come smartly rushing out to deny.

There was to be one more moment of danger before the break when Key was called into action to block from Allen after a quick break by Andrew Douglas.

Key was again in action after the break when John's header tested his handling.

With ten minutes gone in the half, Adam Locke caught Craig Lewington with a wild high challenge. A melee followed as Lewington fell to the ground, soon followed by Locke. The referee waited for tempers to cool before showing Locke no more than a yellow card. Lewington, still lying injured, was unable to attend Hornchurch manager George Borg's invitation to get the stretcher and so it was left to the substitutes to carry him off to the second of the evening's ambulances.

On came Martyn Williams, soon joined by fellow substitute Dave Timothy, to add some pace to the attacking options. Relative success was enjoyed in the wide areas, though Gay was again largely untroubled - his most notable piece of action being a save from Browne following a run down the left flank by Williams.

Having worked hard throughout the game, the K's side endured a tough last five minutes, with the pace of John and McGowan's breaking away to create clear openings only to fail to breach the target.

And so Hornchurch took all three points as could have been expected, but what was not so anticipated was the bite that was back in the Kingstonian performance. They may not have had much in the way of chances, but under slightly different circumstances K's may well have picked up a share of the spoils.

Tue 16th Dec 2003
Hornchurch Stadium
Isthmian League Premier
1Lance Key
2Stephen Broad
3Bashiru Alimi
4Matt Elverson
5Max Hustwick
6Liam Collins
7Craig Lewington15
8Chris NurseCautioned
9Grant Payne16
10Stafford Browne
11Chris Bangura
12Didier Moundi
14Josh Francois
15Martyn Williams7
16Dave Timothy9
17Adrian Jones
Match Report By
Ali Kazemi