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Maidenhead United 0-4 Kingstonian

After the slight disappointment of an opening day draw with Thurrock, K's travelled to York Road, Maidenhead looking to record their first victory of the season. Bashiru Alimi had recovered from injury in time to take his place in the starting eleven with Billy Mead stepping down.

Maidenhead - who started their campaign with a nil-nil draw at Heybridge - were certainly looking to trouble the K's defence and did so after just a couple of minutes. A cross from the left saw Lawrence Yaku and Max Hustwick compete, with the K's defender managing only to head back to Yaku. Scott Smith intervened and settled the nerves by heading back to Lance Key.

K's looked far more balanced with Alimi back on the left, and he was involved in a fine move which gave the visitors the lead. A great move saw Craig Lewington win a header, before Alimi and Grant Payne combined to play in Mark Beard. The skipper was just inside the area when he swept the ball past Phil Wilson with a right footed drive to hand his side the lead on nineteen minutes.

The Maidenhead goalkeeper redeemed himself by keeping out Payne not long after. A good ball by Lewington allowed the striker to lift the ball over a defender towards the edge of the area. The race between Payne and Wilson was tied, with the ball spinning away from both.

The half ended with several chances for K's being spurned. First Beard fired marginally over after good work from Payne and Lewington, next Browne fired inches wide after his shot had struck a defender, and finally Payne headed on for Browne to again fire wide. A one-nil lead at the break was the bare minimum that K's deserved.

The second period began in exactly the right way for K's, as the lead became two after just three minutes. A long clearance from Key found Payne, who did well to hold off the attentions of two defenders. His pass through to Beard was perfectly weighted, and the skipper lifted the ball over the goalkeeper for his second of the match.

The goal straight after the break didn't deflate Maidenhead though. In fact they had one of their best spells immediately after the second goal went in. Michael Currie saw a shot from twenty-five yards deflected just wide and Steve Saunders sent a header spinning across the face of goal after beating Scott Smith at the far post.

Yet the Kingstonian forwards were proving that they were far too good for the Magpies' defenders. The third goal came just after the hour, and once again it was the front pair who were the providers. A long ball reached Browne just inside the Maidenhead half, he held off the attentions of a couple of defenders and played a perfect ball for Liam Collins to run onto. He finished with aplomb from just inside the area and celebrated at length with the supporters behind the goal.

A rash of substitutions disrupted the team somewhat, but they still managed to add to their goal haul before the final whistle. Another through ball from Lewington arrived at the feet of Browne, and from the left of the area he toe-poked the ball past Wilson to make the scoreline look even better.

Both sides had chance in the last minute - the K's one coming from a ludicrous throw from Wilson which landed at Alimi's feet just outside the area. The midfielder was presumably stunned to be handed - literally - such an easy chance, and the goalkeeper recovered to save his shot.

This was just the sort of performance that is called for early in the season. While the defence didn't quite dominate as the scoreline suggests, the front two - and the midfield behind them - showed their undoubted quality. Both Alimi and Lewington in midfield had fine matches, but the plaudits must go to Grant Payne, who showed quality with every touch.

Tue 19th Aug 2003
York Road
Isthmian League Premier
Maidenhead United0
Beard (2), Collins, Browne
1Lance Key
2Stephen Broad
3Scott Smith
4Matt Elverson
5Max Hustwick15
6Mark Beard14
7Craig Lewington
8Liam Collins16
9Grant Payne
10Stafford Browne
11Bashiru Alimi
12Chris Nurse
13Trevor Jones
14Billy Mead6
15Mark Jones5
16Rhod Davis8
Match Report By
Gary Ekins